Welcome to my Crime and Justice blog! I am a 19 year old criminal justice student at the University of Winnipeg. I advocate for prisoners' rights, human rights, equality and criminal justice/prison system reforms.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Are the Conservatives truly this stupid to think that expanding prisons will solve anything? I guess so..

The Manitoba government will spend $20 million to expand the capacity of two existing provincial jails, officials announced on Wednesday.
A former women's unit at The Pas Correctional Centre will be rebuilt to add 40 new beds in a dorm-style layout, and 64 beds will be added to Milner Ridge Correctional Centre, Justice Minister Andrew Swan and Infrastructure Minister Steve Ashton said in a joint statement.
Construction in The Pas will begin in the next month, bringing the "ideal" capacity of the jail to 122 inmates. While no firm date for completion of the Milner Ridge expansion was given, the jail would ideally house 364 inmates after the upgrades.
The ministers said they hope to have the construction completed by next spring.
Overcrowding in Manitoba jails has been a problem in recent years, with several high-profile incidents being linked to overfull facilities.
Last fall, union leaders representing provincial correctional officers blamed overcrowding for a small-scale riot at the Brandon Correctional Centre.
The Oct. 4 riot involved about 27 inmates and lasted about four hours. The entire jail was locked down while its emergency response unit and negotiating team worked to bring things under control.
The province blamed the overcrowding on the legal system, saying that 70 per cent of about 2,000 inmates in jail at the time were there on remand awaiting trial or to plead guilty.
Construction of 80 new beds at the Brandon jail is underway, the province said on Wednesday.
The new beds in The Pas will house low to low-medium security prisoners, while those at Milner Ridge will be reserved for medium-security inmates.
The new construction marks the second upgrade of capacity at Milner Ridge since spring 2009, when 150 beds were added to the jail.

Province expanding prisons
WINNIPEG — The province is expanding its capacity to handle inmates at The Pas and Milner Ridge near Lac du Bonnet.
A former women's unit at The Pas Correctional Centre will be rebuilt to add 40 new minimum- to low-medium security bed spaces in a dorm-style layout.
Construction will begin within the next month, and the project is expected to be completed late this year. It will cost an estimated $3 million. The dorm will have an "ideal capacity" of 122 beds, the province said.
As well, an additional 64 medium-security beds will be added to Milner Ridge Correctional Centre, bringing total ideal capacity to 364 inmates. The expansion will cost $17 million.
This follows a 150-bed expansion at Milner Ridge that was completed last year.

Are the Conservatives truly this stupid to think that expanding prisons are really going to solve any problems? Because they aren't.

I have a better solution. The courts needs to stop over-relying on incarceration as a sentence and start implementing community based sanctions, treatment, and restorative justice initiatives instead. This money could be better spent on addictions treatments, and enhancing community programs. In order to reduce crime, we need to uncover the root causes, not simply house criminals in prisons. Prison has been proven to not reduce or deter crime. In order to do these things, we need to address the underlying factors contributing to criminal behaviour with treatment and counseling, such as poverty, negative peer influences, neglect and abuse, substance abuse, poor parenting, etc. Poor use of money and stupid idea Conservatives.

Crime rates are directly related to poverty and poverty related problems, so this is what we need to focus on, not punishment. The tough on crime policies on justice, simply do NOT work. They only cause more problems including re-offending and overcrowding. If this style worked, the US should be the safest country in the world. They have the highest incarceration rates and are FAR from being safe. 

We need to focus more of time and effort on crime prevention programs and helping people to overcome poverty and unemployment and addictions, especially youth. We need more community centres, recreational facilities and leisure activities for youth as recreation and youth is directly linked to less crime. 

If we invested more money in these programs, as opposed to prison expansion, we would not see such a high need for prisons. Besides, prison sentences are applied unfairly, as there are a disproportionate amount of Aboriginals in prisons. It doesn't mean they commit more crimes, it means that we sentence them harsher than Whites. Aboriginals are more successful in healing programs, sentencing circles, etc. than prisons. 

Building more prisons is a huge waste of money.

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