Catherine Latimer

Catherine Latimer spent many years as a legal policy analyst for the federal government, both at the Privy Council Office and later as the Director General of Youth Justice Policy at the Department of Justice.

In 2011, she became the Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Canada, a charity committed to just, effective, and humane responses to crime. Ms. Latimer has a law degree from Queen’s University and a M.Phil. from the University of Cambridge.

She is also a part-time professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa. Her interests are in criminal justice, youth justice, corrections laws, human rights, justice systems programs and policies, and policy and law reform.

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Catherine Latimer est la Directrice générale de la Société John Howard.

Une biographie complète sera bientôt disponible.

Posts & Activities by Catherine Latimer


  • Government action to curb solitary confinement long overdue

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    Making a prisoner spend four years isolated in a plexiglass cell under the constant glare of artificial light is a form of custody that shocks Canadian sensibilities. It is difficult to believe that such cruel treatment was imposed on Adam Capay in a Thunder Bay detention centre – but it was.

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  • Time to move beyond "tough on crime" rhetoric

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    Not since Governor Michael Dukakis’ 1988 presidential bid was derailed by attack ads about the dangerous inmate Willie Horton being released into the community has any well-briefed politician dared not to be “tough on crime.”  

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  • The decline of evidence-based law making

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    The old adage holds that law is like sausages, you don’t want to see them being made. The problem is, in making our federal criminal and correctional law, seeing how things are put together is of decisive importance. 

    The Department of Justice has responsibility for ensuring federal compliance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Bill of Rights, and for developing policies and legal reforms in key areas such as criminal justice. Unfortunately, it does this work behind closed doors, so the general public doesn’t get to see what is going on.

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