Right Hon. C. J. DOHERTY (Minister of Justice) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 201, to amend the Penitentiaries Act. He said:
The principal clauses of the Bill and the principal purpose sought to be attained by it are to make provision to enable the carrying on, on a larger scale, of industrial work in penitentiaries. There are other provisions of a less important nature, and I might, perhaps, just mention them before I take up the most important ones. There are quite a number of provisions repealing sections of the existing Act because, in view of legislation in regard to classification under the Civil Service Act, they serve practically no purpose. There is a provision extending the definition of a penitentiary so as to make it include a hospital in which a convict may be detained. There is provision made for enabling the minister to constitute an advisory board composed of officials to advise with him concerning the administration of penitentiaries. There is a provision making more clear the definition of the duties of a warden. There is a provision dealing with fines that may be imposed by the warden, and with his power of suspension. There is a disposition with regard to uniforms to be supplied to officers and purchases which it is permissible fo rthem to make of articles manufactured in the penitentiaries. Then there are other provisions which are dealt with because,
as a matter of fact, by the effect of subsequent legislation and the practice of carrying on penitentiaries, they have become practically obsolete. They were provisions which looked to treating each penitentiary as a separate orgarrization by itself under the executive control of the warden, giving him control of purchases and so forth. The effect of subsequent legislation has been that these sections have fallen into disuse, and they are simply repealed.
There is a provision with regard to visitors, making more clear the present provision. I do not think it substantially modifies the present provision. There is a provision to enact that when a man is sentenced to a penitentiary, he shall be sentenced to such penitentiary as the minister shall from time to time designate. Under the present section, the court is required to sentence him to the penitentiary of the province, but there is power in the minister to transfer him to any other penitentiary. As we have recently done away with one of the penitentiaries, a provision assuming that there is a penitentiary in each province becomes inapplicable, and, in fact, it was not strictly applicable even in the past. There is a provision requiring that the judge or judicial officer who pronounces sentence shall prepare a schedule giving information and details elicited from the convict himself as to his past and so forth. This, it is considered, will be useful information to those taking charge of the convict. There is a provision enabling the minister, who now has to sign every order for transfer from one penitentiary to another, to authorize an officer to do that instead. There are provisions, which, I think, may be described as making more clear and more effective the present provisions with regard to the manner of dealing with insane convicts. I do not think there is any substantial modification. Likewise, there is a provision as to dealing with convicts suffering from infectious or contagious diseases, which provision also makes more clear existing legislation. There is a provision dealing with the detention of female convicts, making it possible, which will seem to be very desirable, if it be found practicable, to provide an absolutely separate institution for them. There are provisions making more clear the existing disposition as regards the remission of part time of sentences for good conduct on the part of the convicts. There is also a provision requiring that the convicts shall be furnished with a copy of
the regulations so that they may know what laws they are living under.
Then we come to the provisions to which I have referred. In substance, it is enacted that the different departments of Government shall, where that is practically possible, procure from the penitentiaries such things as they require and which can be produced in the penitentiary. There are dispositions following on that, providing for the details as to how the penitentiaries shall be compensated for the goods so furnished. It is not intended that there shall be an actual payment of money from one department to the other, but there are ^different provisions establishing a method of determining what sum of money as a whole should be allotted to the penitentiaries administration as compensation for the work so done. Then there are provisions for the allotment as between the convicts out of this money of what may be found available in the way of remuneration for their labour, after taking into consideration the cost of maintenance of the penitentiaries, and so forth.
There is a provision making more severe the penalties to which officers are subjected for the offence of trafficking with convicts, and regulating the question of the burden of proof when an officer is charged with being in possession of or dealing with articles with which he is forbidden to deal under the law or the regulations of the penitentiary.
There is a section providing for and adding to what is required presently to be given to a convict upon his discharge from the penitentiary, principally in the way of clothing, and to some extent in the way of an allowance of money. That covers the dispositions of the Bill.