National Newswatch

VICTORIAVILLE, Que. - The federal government will introduce legislation aimed at preventing repeat offenders from being released after serving two-thirds of their sentence.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday the proposed change will be tabled "very soon."

He made the announcement in Victoriaville, Que., following through on a commitment made by the Conservatives in the 2013 throne speech.

"I can't say it more clearly," Harper said. "Justice is not only for the accused, it's also for the victim."

Under the current law, offenders serving a fixed-term federal sentence can serve the last one-third of their sentence in the community under supervision and subject to conditions.

But proposed amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act would seriously restrict statutory release for repeat federal offenders who have previously received a prison sentence of five years or more which include a serious violent component.

Harper says it's unacceptable that Canadians fall prey to violent offenders, who have benefited from early release after repeatedly committing violent crimes.

Harper was standing before a group of people in attendance who he said had their lives shattered by criminals and were "innocent victims of terrible events that resulted in wounds that will never heal."

"I would like to assure you that, from now on, victims will be treated with great respect, compassion, and the justice to which they are entitled," Harper told them.

The prime minister took part in a roundtable discussion Thursday that studied a number of other potential amendments to the Criminal Code.

The Canadian Press
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