Courts are overwhelmed by the number of people in custody. Often, bail is only granted when excessive conditions are met. This delays hearings unnecessarily. And, often, the conditions have nothing to do with ensuring someone’s appearance in court or protecting the public.
The longer someone spends in custody waiting for a bail hearing or trial, the more likely it is they will plead guilty just to get out of jail – even if they’re innocent.
Prisoners’ Justice Day has been observed every year on August 10 since 1975 to call attention to human rights and justice for prisoners. There are many ways that you can participate in prisoners’ justice on August 10 and throughout the year.
I was 17 when I started with LAO as a co-op student— my high school counsellor told me I could get four credits for a semester.
I’d always known I wanted to do something in the legal field, but I didn’t give it much more thought than that. Then, that May, just before I graduated from high school, I was offered a position at LAO as support staff. I decided to wait a year before college and see what LAO had to offer.
Pictured above: members of the LAO LAW team. I ask Amy Shoemaker, the director of Legal Aid Ontario’s research department, LAO LAW, to explain what it is her department does. “We provide research support to lawyers who are acting on behalf of legal aid clients, whether they’re duty counsel or private bar lawyers.” “Is that […]
On February 25, 2016, Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) CEO David Field spoke to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. His contribution was part of a national discussion, hosted by the Senate, on delays in Canada’s criminal justice system. Here is a summary of David’s recommendations (Part 2 of 2)
On February 25, 2016, Legal Aid Ontario’s (LAO) CEO David Field spoke to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. His contribution was part of a national discussion, hosted by the Senate, on delays in Canada’s criminal justice system. Here is a summary of David’s views about the problem (Part 1 of 2)
Ever since its inception in November 1996, Restorative Justice Week allows Canadians involved in a crime or conflict to learn more about restorative justice. This approach to justice focuses on providing everyone involved in a crime or conflict an active role in repairing the harm caused and moving towards healing and a sense of closure. […]
Oct. 2 of this year will be the second annual Wrongful Conviction Day, which honours the wrongly convicted and raises awareness about what leads to wrongful convictions. John Artis was charged alongside Rubin Hurricane Carter in 1966 with the murder of three white men in Patterson, New Jersey. n 1981, after spending 15 years in prison, Mr. Artis was released. Charges were dismissed in 1985 after the pair was successfully granted a Writ of Habeas Corpus which was upheld by the United States Supreme Court.
In consultations with justice partners and LAO’s advisory committees, Legal Aid Ontario heard again and again about the need to expand criminal certificates beyond the “loss of liberty” test — largely because the impact of criminal conviction is much greater now than in recent years. Nye Thomas is LAO’s Director General, Policy and Strategic Research. Nye has been leading LAO’s financial eligibility project.
In my last blog, I said that Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) had met with hundreds of stakeholders to help us make informed decisions about expanding legal aid eligibility. We recently announced the road LAO plans to take, and I am pleased to say that it is a comprehensive, multi-year plan to significantly enhance access to justice for low-income Ontarians.Nye Thomas is LAO’s Director General, Policy and Strategic Research. Nye has been leading LAO’s financial eligibility project.