This week on Legally Speaking with Michael Mulligan:Who is in jail and why? In Canada, the responsibility for jailing adults is divided between the federal and provincial governments. The federal government is responsible for penitentiaries, where people serve sentences longer than two years. The pr
Publish Date: Nov 04, 2021
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This week on Legally Speaking with Michael Mulligan:Who is in jail and why? In Canada, the responsibility for jailing adults is divided between the federal and provincial governments. The federal government is responsible for penitentiaries, where people serve sentences longer than two years. The provinces are responsible for jails for people serving shorter sentences and for people who are in jail waiting for their trial. In British Columbia, 63% of people in provincial jails are waiting for their trial. 36% of people are serving sentences and 1% have been detained by the Canadian Border Services Agency. There has been a long-term trend increasing the percentage of people in jail waiting for trial. 69% of the people in provincial jails have either a mental health or substance use disorder. 42% have both a mental health and substance use disorder. In British Columbia, 35% of people in provincial jails are indigenous. Indigenous people make up 5-6% of the population in British Columbia. The cost of keeping someone in a provincial jail is $259 per day. This is less than the $318 per day cost to keep someone in a federal penitentiary where more rehabilitation programs are available. The cost of detaining someone in a provincial jail to wait for their trial is $7,770 per month. As discussed on the show, this $7,770 per month cost provides an important reference point when assessing the cost of mental health and addictions services that can reduce the number of people committing offences and ending up in jail. Also on the show, a BC Supreme Court decision to recognize an order from a court in Pakistan and return a 12-year-old boy despite objections from the child’s mother who alleged the order was made in accordance with Sharia law rather than in accordance with the best interest of the child. The governing provisions of the BC Family Law Act are found in Part 4, Division 7 of the Act: Extraprovincial Matters Respecting Parenting Arrangements. Judges are directed not to make findings of fact on disputed evidence or to decide the merits of the case beyond what is necessary to determine the issues of territorial jurisdiction.The idea of these provisions is to avoid parents bringing children to BC from other jurisdictions to re-argue custody decisions. The mother in the case alleged that the court in Pakistan was applying Sharia law which directs that fathers should be given custody of male children, aged seven or more. In rejecting the mother’s claims that the order from the court in Pakistan shouldn’t be followed, the BC Supreme Court judge deciding the case considered the fact that the court in Pakistan had not given custody to the father when the child turned seven. There was conflicting expert evidence concerning how courts in Pakistan integrate Sharia law with the best interests of the child.Follow this link for a transcript of the show and links to the cases discussed.