Harper government budget cuts affect convicted murderers

What do CBC employees, food inspectors, and convicted murderers have in common?

They're all victims of the Harper government's budget cuts.

According to the Globe and Mail, the government has axed funding for LifeLine, a Correctional Service Canada program aimed at helping people with life sentences — or "lifers" — successfully re-integrate into society once they've been paroled.

"Lifeline pays about 28 successfully-paroled lifers a starting salary of about $38,000, to mentor other lifers who are still incarcerated or who have been recently released on parole," notes the article.

On its website, CSC actually boasts that the program is targeted at killers but not necessarily serial killers.

"Lifers have committed the ultimate offence against society, but the vast majority are not calculating, experienced criminals. While serial killers and assassins exist, they are not the typical lifer. Most murder victims are usually a relative or close acquaintance. Most frequently, lifers' crimes are triggered by circumstance, substance abuse, emotional trauma, or a combination of these. They are among the most likely to succeed on parole," one section notes.

"The Mission of LifeLine is to provide...an opportunity to motivate inmates and to marshal resources to achieve successful, supervised, gradual reintegration into the community."

Facts about Lifeline:

- The program was created after Canada officially removed capital punishment from the Criminal Code in 1976

- In Canada, offenders serving a life sentence for murder may be considered for parole after serving 15 years of their sentences. Offenders serving life sentences for first-degree murder can be eligible for full parole after 25 years.

- About 4300 offenders are serving life sentences. Of this number, one-third are under parole supervision in the community for the rest of their lives, while the remaining two-thirds are serving their sentence in an institution.

- In 2010-11, Lifeline provided support to 2,280 lifers.

- The total annual cost of the program is estimated to be about $2 million.