City council is supporting Kelowna-Lake Country MP Tracy Gray’s efforts to provide more access to mental health and addiction treatment for prisoners in federal institutions.
Gray explained her private member’s bill, named the “end the revolving door act,” to council at its Jan. 16 meeting.
Bill C-283 creates a framework for government to be able to designate all or part of a federal correction facility as an “addiction treatment facility,” Gray noted in her presentation.
The bill would amend the criminal code to support a two-stream sentencing process. If convicted individuals meet certain parameters at the time of sentencing, a judge could offer the choice to be sentenced to take part in a mental health assessment and in addictions treatment while they serve their term.
Council is writing a letter in support of Gray’s bill to the federal government.
“We hear of situations where somebody has been to prison and they come back out and they have been a repeat offender,” said Kelowna Mayor Tom Dyas.
“So it seems like there is a gap there, and that there isn’t something trying to catch them at that door.”
Gray’s presentation to council also included a statistic from a 2015 study by Correctional Services Canada that showed, at admission to federal custody, 70 per cent of men and 77 per cent of women offenders suffered from a substance use issue.
Second reading of Bill C-283 is in progress in the House of Commons.