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.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Liberals are not soft on crime, they are smart about crime. Conservatives are tough or stupid about crime

OTTAWA -- Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said implementing more of his government's crime bills with stiffer punishments for offenders will help address the gang crime in Winnipeg likely behind this week's shootings.
"I have spent most of my life in Winnipeg and I'm very much aware of what the crime issue is," said Toews.

What Manitoba politicians said:

'I believe we are all at the provincial and city level seized of the need to provide a greater sense of real security for people in the area and that means having more police present in the neighbourhood. We'd be very pleased to see additional resources and our money is on the table to do that'
-- Premier Greg Selinger

'There's a short-term challenge that needs to be met through suppression, which mean more police officers on the street and more rigorous approach to prosecutions, but over the long run it's quite clear that there are too many kids in circumstances where they are getting caught up in this sort of activity'
-- Conservative Leader Hugh McFadyen

'I think there are many other cities that have had the experience that if you can allow the police officers to be out of their car and actually speak with residents they can find out pretty quickly who's really creating trouble in a community, who may be the followers and who really needs to be observed.Right now, of course, police are talking to residents. I don't want that to happen just after an incident. We want that happening ongoing'
-- Attorney General Andrew Swan
He blamed the Liberals and NDP for "dragging their feet" on the Conservative crime agenda. He specifically pointed to amendments made to a bill he introduced as justice minister in 2006 that eliminated house arrest as an option for people convicted of serious and violent crimes.
He said the Liberals and NDP "gutted" the bill by removing certain property crimes from the list of offences ineligible for house arrest.
"They gutted the bill in respect of house arrests and ensured that people who stole cars repeatedly were back out on the street and supposedly in their homes. I was very concerned that Liberals and New Democrats gutted that legislation."
Manitoba NDP MP Pat Martin, whose riding encompasses much of Winnipeg's inner city, said Toews is a "dinosaur" when it comes to the social conditions that cause crime.
"None of their bills on punishment would address the social crisis playing out in the inner city because they're coming at the problem from the wrong end," said Martin. "Locking up a generation of young aboriginal kids is not going to solve the inner city crime."
Both Martin and Liberal MP Anita Neville said the rampant poverty in the inner city is turning neighbourhoods into powder kegs.
Martin said an epidemic of gang violence is the "predictable consequence of long-term poverty and unemployment."
"People tell me they won't sleep on the outside rooms of their homes in the summer because of the gun violence," said Martin. "If you don't address some of these social conditions, they are going to boil over."

You are wrong Toews. More tough on crime bills will not solve the gang crime problem. Prisons are the schools of crime and gangs and drugs are prevalent. They do not rehabilitate or reform a criminal's thinking and behaviour, in fact, they result in more hardened and criminally involved individuals. Longer terms of imprisonment has been proven to increase the rate of re-offending and is only a quick fix, not a long term solution. If you are TRULY invested in preventing and reducing crime, you would be addressing the root causes and contributing factors to crime. Crime has been decreasing for the last 25 years so there is no reason to get tougher on criminals and the Conservatives have no research or statistics about the effectiveness of their tough on crime policies. Why? Because they cause more harm than good. Just look at the United States! Tough on crime has been an expensive failure and has only made crime worse and has resulted in increased crime rates. The same will happen here in Canada if we continue on this path of destruction. It is a recipe for disaster! 

Locking up more aboriginals and those socially marginalized individuals, will not solve the problems of inner cities and reserves. These people need help, culturally appropriate programming and approaches based on restorative and rehabilitative justice. Deterrence through tougher sentences does not work because criminals are not rational and do not consider the consequences of their actions before they commit a crime. They do not consider the threat or possibility of punishment. Most criminals are impulsive. 

Also, the longer a prison sentence is, the less likely that individual will be able to successfully reintegrate into society as they become dependent and institutionalized, where they have no responsibility skills, independence skills, life skills, stress management, dealing with life challenges, no rehabilitation, or decision making skills. They become unable to function on the outside world and become more likely to resort to crime. 

No comments:

Post a Comment