Canadians in American jails and the prisoner lottery

Jul 6, 2016 By Matthew Friedberg

It’s unfortunate that hundreds of Canadians are incarcerated in American prisons and have such a low chance of being transferred back to Canada to serve out their time closer to home, Toronto criminal lawyer Matthew Friedberg says. "It's regrettable in part because the U.S. has a much higher incarceration rate than we do here in Canada," he tells

"It would be more humane to allow them to serve their sentences closest to where they have families and community ties." Friedberg comments on the issue as the Liberal government promises to do more to help those Canadians who are imprisoned abroad. For now, though, it appears that the odds of being transferred from an American prison to Canada to serve out a sentence is akin to winning the lottery, says the Canadian Press.

Data obtained by the wire service from a number of sources — including Global Affairs Canada, Correctional Service of Canada, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and U.S. Department of Justice — reveals that the vast majority of Canadian prisoners serving time south of the border haven’t been permitted to be transferred to Canada, says the article.

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