Canadian Lawyer

August 2023

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 10 of 51 9 members of the Conservative Party have adopted. "My own views about criminal justice policies and politics really began to unravel in the years after I left Ottawa," he says. "The political piece that I think Indictment does is it very thoroughly debunked the tough-on-crime agenda… The reactive approach that we have to criminal justice policy reform in Canada does so much harm and is ultimately ineffective." Perrin quickly points out that this ineffective approach is not isolated to a single political party. "You even see elements of it in the federal Liberal government in the recent bail measures – you see it with the provincial NDP government talking about involuntary treatments in British Columbia." Of the professionals in the justice system he interviewed, Perrin says many recognized the dysfunction but felt unwilling or unable to speak out. And many others meant well but didn't recognize the effects of their actions. "If I were a judge and read this book, I'd be mad," he says. Although most judges think they are doing good and try to interpret the Criminal Code in a manner that is consistent with the Charter, Perrin says when you aggregate these decisions across a person's lifetime, they are often doing substantial harm. "Judges and lawyers, in particular, will be incredibly well served by a greater understanding of trauma and the role that it plays in every interaction they have in the criminal justice system." Perrin also openly discusses his Christian faith and how it drives his approach. "Being a person who's following Jesus, the people he spent his time helping were the outcasts of society. [Jesus] talks about people who are imprisoned and sick and poor." With his Conservative political experience and Christian faith, Perrin can speak directly to those communities about how the tough- on-crime approach that is gaining popularity may not achieve their objectives. "This debate has become so polarized, and I really hope that Indictment will spark a national conversation on new and better ways to address harm in our society… The justice system is transmitting a tremendous amount of trauma. And if we could just step back and look at ways that we can transform that trauma and harm, we will get better outcomes."

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