BA (Crim), 1980
SFU OUTSTANDING ALUMNI AWARD RECIPIENT (PUBLIC SERVICE), 2013
Mr. Howard Sapers is respected as a principled, insightful, and passionate voice on criminal justice issues. As Correctional Investigator appointed by the Canadian government, he serves as the federal ombudsman for offenders in Canada.
His work supports the rights and fair treatment of those under the care of Canada’s correctional system. He has an extensive background in corrections, rehabilitation of offenders, and crime-prevention and brings multiple perspectives from his prior roles with the National Parole Board, the John Howard Society of Alberta, and the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. He has demonstrated a fearless commitment to address longstanding and complex problems in the correctional system, including the special needs of the mentally ill in prison, Canada’s over-represented population of incarcerated Aboriginal persons, and preventable deaths of inmates in custody. He displays the consistent courage, often in the face of adversity, to do and say what is right.
His frank and focused annual reports to parliament have raised public awareness of the plight of the marginalized in the criminal justice system and have encouraged much needed debate on areas often left in the shadows. Prompted by his recommendations, Canada has now developed a mental health strategy to help support and treat the growing and disproportionate number of offenders in prison with mental illness.
He is often called upon to comment on government policies and spending priorities, underlining the need for more investment in rehabilitation and reintegration programs for offenders and better standards of care in prisons to lower the incidences of violence and self-injury.
Submitted by: John Grant