The justice system is one of the most crucial concepts that serve as the basis for the functioning of any society. The inevitability of punishment and the measures aimed at the promotion of law help to limit the harmful activity of various individuals for them not to undermine the core principles of the existence of a community. However, the given pattern also gives rise to a number of concerns resulting from its imperfect character. Wrongful conviction is one of the major questions related to the functioning of the justice system.
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The facts evidence that the number of wrongfully imprisoned people grows every year, and it proves the existence of crucial systemic errors and drawbacks (McLellan, 2013). As regards Canada, the situation remains complicated as there are numerous acknowledged cases of the miscarriage of justice.
Investigating the issue, it is possible to admit the idea that the real number of wrongful convictions grow widely (McLellan, 2013) as the determination of the precise percentage is complicated by several factors. First, it is the level of public attention devoted to the issue.
A person has a chance of the second trial only in case the society follows the case and insists on the reconsideration of the sentence. Unfortunately, the majority of imprisoned do not have the possibility to attain justice, and their claims remain unnoticed. In this regard, the real scale of the challenge might be even more significant (McLellan, 2013). Yet, there are also the most well-known cases of wrongful convictions that prove the systemic character of the problem (Canada’s wrongful convictions, 2009) and improve the comprehending of the impact it has on a person.
A wrongfully convinced person suffers from a number of psychological factors. Literature provides numerous facts evidencing the deleterious effect of long-term imprisonment and the way it impacts criminals (Campbell & Denov, 2015). There are several stressors, such as the relationship difficulties, mental deterioration, loneliness, prison environment, etc. (Campbell & Denov, 2015)
The given factors could be taken as the aspects of punishment aimed at the creation of the stressful environment, and prisoners realize their fairness. However, the impact of imprisonment on a wrongfully convicted person is much more significant and differs from the same one experienced by other prisoners. The effect of the above-mentioned stressors is strengthened by the recognition of the injustice of the sentence and the erroneous character of imprisonment. It results in the appearance of apathy, despair, and suicidal inclinations. Additionally, the prison environment is extremely violent and implies cooperation and belonging as the practices used to survive (Campbell & Denov, 2015).
Wrongfully convicted persons evidence that it is extremely difficult to recognize the necessity of the cooperation with one of the groups and accept the violent rules. Furthermore, a person might also suffer from the long-term effects of imprisonment, such as the loss of family, social status, and increased level of aggression. The combination of these effects promotes the great pernicious effect on the personality of a prisoner and might result in significant shifts in the behavioral pattern. For this reason, coping strategy becomes one of the crucial concerns related to the question as a wrongfully convicted person could lose the possibility to become a member of society.
Furthermore, in case a wrongful conviction is discovered, a person has several possibilities to rectify the miscarriage of justice and attain a reconsideration of the sentence. In accordance with the existing laws, section 696.1 of the Criminal code states that everyone has the right to apply for a review of the circumstances of their conviction (Campbell & Denov, 2015). The Criminal Conviction Review Group of the Department of Justice Canada is responsible for these cases and guarantees the fair and precise investigation of the question.
Besides, one should remember that there should be significant reasons for the initiation of the reconsideration of the case and credible evidence proving the feasibility of a persons claims. If the court accepts the new facts and reconsiders the sentence, a wrongfully convicted individual should be provided with the financial compensation. The quantum of compensation and the needed criteria are determined by the set of federal-provincial guidelines adopted by the Canadian government in 1988 (Campbell & Denov, 2015).
Nevertheless, the above-motioned compensation is not able to mitigate the negative effects of a wrongful conviction as a persons family, and social status might be destroyed, and the health deteriorated. This fact introduces the necessity of the implementation of some measures aimed at preventing future miscarriages of justice. Report on the Prevention of Miscarriages of Justice (2005) revolves around the issue and tends to provide recommendations to improve the situation (Campbell & Denov, 2015).
To summarize, Canada obviously suffers from multitudinous cases of wrongful conviction. Moreover, the scale of the challenge is so significant that the Canadian government introduces numerous federal acts to monitor the situation and promote the decrease in the number of cases of this sort. Yet, the problem remains one of the crucial concerns of the modern justice system as it impacts a person significantly, promoting great psychological pressure and resulting in the deterioration of the quality of life.
Campbell, K., & Denov, M. (2015). Miscarriages of Justice: The Impact of Wrongful Imprisonment. JustResearch Edition, 13, n. pag. Web.
Canada’s wrongful convictions. (2009). CBC News. Web.
McLellan, M. (2013). The Real Number of Wrongful Convictions and Presumptive Innocence. Web.