Minister of Justice David Lametti responds to a question during a news conference about training for judges Monday, Oct. 19, 2020 in Ottawa. The Trudeau government has tabled legislation to repeal mandatory-minimum penalties for certain drug offences, saying they do not deter crime and unfairly affect Indigenous and Black offenders.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Minister of Justice David Lametti responds to a question during a news conference about training for judges Monday, Oct. 19, 2020 in Ottawa. The Trudeau government has tabled legislation to repeal mandatory-minimum penalties for certain drug offences, saying they do not deter crime and unfairly affect Indigenous and Black offenders.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Liberals propose federal criminal reforms aimed at systemic racism in justice system

Justice Minister David Lametti says serious criminals deserve to be punished and kept away from communities

The Trudeau government has tabled legislation to repeal mandatory minimum penalties for certain drug offences, saying they do not deter crime and unfairly affect Indigenous and Black offenders.

The bill introduced today would also allow for greater use of conditional sentences, such as house arrest, counselling or treatment, for people who do not pose a threat to public safety.

In addition, it would require police and prosecutors to consider alternative measures for cases of simple possession of drugs, such as diversion to addiction-treatment programs.

The office of Justice Minister David Lametti says serious criminals deserve to be punished and kept away from communities.

But it says too many lower-risk and first-time offenders, including a disproportionate number of Indigenous and Black people, are being locked away due to policies that are proven not to deter crime.

The legislation is one of several measures the federal Liberals have promised to address systemic racism in the justice system.

The Canadian Press

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