Prime Time Crime


(Prime Time Crime May  2, 2008)


Murderers among us


   By Sandra Martins-Toner

Two violent offenders have walked right out of minimum-security institutions in British Columbia within a two week span. Convicted murderer Ralph Morris, and dangerous offender Blane MacDougal were being housed in these institutions, and the public wants to know why? What are the Criminal Justice System and Correctional Services Canada going to do to ensure the safety of Canadian Citizens? What is our Government going to do ensure that this does not happen again?

Stockwell Day has now stated that “current risk-assessment policies, related to the security classification of offenders, will be reviewed in order to ensure the public safety is fully protected.” There is a saying that applies quite nicely to Mr. Day’s comment, and that is “too little too late!” This should not have happened, nor should these violent offenders have been housed in such a facility. I think that those who made the conscious decision to place these criminals into these institutions should be held accountable for any victims who might happen to fall prey to these offenders.

We continue to see a pattern of this sort of judicial blunder, and it is the victims/families that pay the price in the end. We are doled the life sentences for the crime they have committed on our loved ones, not the perpetrator. Why on earth would anyone with a reasonable amount of education place such high risk offenders in a minimum-security institution? Canadians want to know, we have a right to ask, why it is the Government, and our Criminal Justice System continually fails us? Those of us who have already lost a child or a loved one to these prolific offenders want to know why you release these people out on bail, allow them the “right” to statutory release (parole) and place them into facilities that do not reflect their criminal behaviour?

For too long now we have placed so much effort into rehabilitation and trying to facilitate all the needs of the criminals. We need to start looking at how we can help the victims/families. I think a great start would be to build more prisons to house these monsters. I for one would feel much safer knowing they were locked away in a facility they couldn’t walk out of. Why is there such hesitation to place anyone behind bars for an appropriate amount of time? While the U.S. has been busy building “Super Max” prisons to house its violent and serial offenders, Canada has been busy been knocking down our maximum security pens to build condos.

Residents of the areas where these two offenders escaped should be worried for their safety. Law abiding citizens must now turn their homes into fortresses in order to ensure their personal safety, all this because our Government refuses to put serious offenders away in serious prisons.  Regardless of the voluntary return of one escapee to the minimum-security institution, it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

Sandra Martins-Toner is the founder and executive Director of F.A.C.T. and can be contacted at


Prime Time Crime

Contributing 2008