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, June 23, 2010

Billions to be spent on keeping more criminals imprisoned for longer periods-- a huge mistake!

I see our old buddy Craig Jones — the executive director of the John Howard Society — is one of the “experts” on the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s so-called independent peer review panel for its study on how ending 2-for-1 credit for criminals is going to cost taxpayers billions more per year.
Jones an independent source on a study about sentencing? That’s a belly-laugh.
This guy runs around telling anyone who will listen that jail “doesn’t work” and how handing out custodial sentences is generally a bad thing. And he’s going to provide independent expert advice on how eliminating 2-for-1 credit may impact the federal government’s finances?
In any event, this study is largely useless because it doesn’t even contain basic data from provincial and federal corrections departments to even begin to make future cost estimates on how changes to pre-trial credits will impact government budgets.
Here’s the full report:

Since when does imprisoning more people for longer periods of time, increase public safety? Can somebody find me a research report which states this, because I have yet to find one! The Conservative government is basing their policies on zero evidence, but on emotional reaction as opposed to using logic, reason and common sense. They are pandering to the uneducated voters. The Conservatives are not truly interested in reducing crime. If they were, they wouldn't be wasting it on longer prison sentences. Longer prison sentences have been proven to not prevent, reduce or deter crime. All they accomplish is warehousing offenders and transforming them into better criminals. If the government was invested in crime prevention, they should be spending more money on education, reducing poverty, unemployment, addictions and mental health treatment/services, etc. We need to address the root causes of crime and prison fails at that. 

The Conservative tough on crime approach is a mindless, senseless plan that defies logic, reason and research. Harper is completely ignoring the educated criminologists whose career is researching what policies are effective and their research has shown that getting tough on crime is ineffective. Longer sentences have been proven to increase chances of re-offending and decrease chances of successful reintegration. Tell me how that increases public safety! Plus, crime rates have been dropping for years. Why do we need to get tough? We need a government that knows how to do research and who develops its policies based on evidence not emotion. Getting tough on crime has been an expensive failure in the US, so what makes us believe it will magically work here in Canada? We are heading down a road back to draconian methods of justice which will result in less safe societies. Lengthy sentences only accomplish the illusion of safety, nothing more.

Brittany, what’s it like to live your life in a bubble (or classroom)?
You’re 19 years old and attend the U of W. How much do you think your opinion matters, considering you obviously have no life experience and believe everything a sociology professor teaches is gospel.
Your opinion is simply a regurgitation of people like Craig Jones and is nothing but anti-Conservative rhetoric perpetuated by those in Opposition parties."

I understand your short term logic, but try thinking long term for a minute. Research shows that imprisoning people for longer periods, actually increases their chances of re-offending as they are exposed to the negative prison environment and subculture for longer periods and decreases their chances of successfully reintegrating into society as productive and law abiding citizens. To me, that does not say increased public safety. The majority of inmates WILL be released from prison back into our communities. It has also been shown that longer sentences are no more effective and accomplish no more than shorter sentences. Plus, why the need to “get tough”, when crimes rates have been decreasing for many years? The Conservatives are only catering to the individuals who seek revenge and I am not one of those people. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Trust me, I likely know more about crime and justice issues than you do. It is my major in university.

Do you believe the sentencing principles of deterrence and denunciation are important aspects of sentencing that should be preserved in the Criminal Code of Canada? If so, why?"

If you really stood up for what you believed in you would be waiting outside of stony welcoming the ex-cons with open arms into your home to show them how to be productive members of society.
One day if your unlucky you will be a victim of a horrible crime and when the criminal is sentenced to a slap on the wrist you tune will change….
Wake up and accept reality…. If a person chooses to act like an animal then they should be locked up like one till they are either dead or willing to live within the rules of society…
Personally I think we should take the same approach as we would a rabbid dog….put em down…."

Zach, I am allowed to hold an opinion. It does not matter that I am young. And I have had “life experience.” 

Tom: I do not believe that deterrence and denunciation are important sentencing principles. The most important sentencing principle should always be the possibility of rehabilitation and reintegration. Deterrence has been shown in research to be ineffective, as most criminals are not rational, cost-benefit analysis actors/thinkers, but instead, impulsive in their actions. Most criminals do not consider the consequences of their actions before committing a crime or the possibility of imprisonment. Deterrence is a principle which is adopted from the classical school of criminology. It was a philosophical theory, but was never studied. It is problematic that a modern and civilized society such as ours, would readily adopt an untested and philosophical idea as a sentencing principle. The same goes for denunciation. Rehabilitation should be the most important sentencing principle in my opinion. The punishment should not fit the crime, it should fit the offender and their circumstances. I believe that prison needs to be relied upon less and that Judges need to always consider the least restrictive sentences, such as community alternatives. We should always consider the possibility of rehabilitation in the community before imprisonment. 

dairyduckers: What a mature suggestion! Such a lame and overused comeback by the right-wing supporters! Try coming up with something new please. I plan on volunteering with the John Howard Society and then I will have the opportunity to help offenders in their reintegration into society through assistance and support. My beliefs and values will not change. Wake up, not everybody consciously chooses to commit a crime. Often, societal circumstances play a large role in criminal behaviour, along with psychological factors. The majority of criminals are not rational in their decisions. So I assume you believe in the philosophy “an eye for an eye?” Well, that philosophy came from the dark ages! Today, we live in a modern day and civilized society, which has long abandoned that vengeful and primitive idea. Two wrongs don’t make a right. An eye for eye makes the world go blind.

I cannot fathom how vengeful and barbaric you are! If you want our justice system to return to the dark ages, please move to Iraq or somewhere else where human rights do not exist. See how you like it there! Capital punishment is cruel, barbaric, inhumane and completely immoral. I am wondering if you have any compassion or sympathy for the marginalized individuals in our society, because it does not appear that you do! Do you value the human life? How does the government killing a murderer, demonstrate to society that killing is wrong? When the government executes somebody, it is cold blooded and pre-meditated murder. If you are opposed to murder, then you should also be opposed to capital punishment. It is the same thing. Plus, civilized societies should not be willing to take the risk of executing innocent individuals. 

Here were some other comments from the Winnipeg Sun website:
“Since when does imprisoning more people for longer periods of time, increase public safety?”
You seem like a nice, well educated young lady. Riddle me this. If Johnny spends 12 months in jail, how many crimes will he commit? If Johnny spends 24 months in jail, will he commit MORE crime or LESS crime?
See? Magically longer jail sentences result in less opportunities for Johnny to rob me and rape you. This makes sense doesn’t it? Or did they not teach math and common sense in your schooling?
- toatbhi

Everyday I read about REPEAT offenders being released after lenient sentences and mandatory probation after serving only 2/3 of thier sentence. I’d much rather have my tax dollars go to ensure my safety at home and on the streets, than to a new stadium or human rights museum or a “spirited energy” rebranding. Build more jails, but have them self-sustaining. I mean, have the “clients” that are housed there, work for the priviledge of staying there. If they refuse, off to the DOGHOUSE. A place likened to a third-world prison block. An entire compound where prisoners fight for the right to survive. (I’m sure alot of thier victims would agree that this is justice). Age would be irrelevent as alot of these young punks like to invade the homes of seniors, take the lives of hardworking cab drivers, fire random bullets into the homes of people they don’t even know, gang raping, gang killing, and list goes on. I recall a time when people who went to jail were embarassed and didn’t want to go back. Nowadays, people wear it like a friggen merit badge. Time to go back to the old ways that worked, instead of being PLAYED by a bunch of tall-forheaded social engineers, judges, and politicians that feel so sorry for the inconvenience of the laws of society.
Rantfully Jeff.

Criminals should be placed in boot camps. live in tents year round. if schooling is needed , let get an education out in the bush where they can get there high school education, and learn what life’s about. where orange coveralls, be chained together, and work on road gangs. Repairing our northern roads. If our judges, and layers don’t like it, then they should be behind bars while criminals enjoy running amok through our society. I have a lot of praise for our policemen who risk their lives every day so our so called clowns. I mean judges just slap the wrist of a thug and tells he’ll see him again in three months.

Costs are being made an issue? Here’s the solution – start up a program called “Keep-A-Thug”, similar to the many Feed the Children personal donation plans – and we’d quickly discover that the public is perfectly willing to fund their own protection – if necessary. It’s shameful that it’s come to this – most would reasonably assume that we’re paying dearly already for such “services” from our government leaders/protectors. The facades are starting to blow over and I’m beginning to wonder just what the H*!! I do get in return for more than half of my wages.

tom says that the PBO “study is largely useless because it doesn’t even contain basic data from provincial and federal corrections departments to even begin to make future cost estimates on how changes to pre-trial credits will impact government budgets.”
i see a simple solution: give us the basic data from the provincial and federal corrections departments.
is there a reason, tom, that you’re not demanding this?

Tom alleges that Craig Jones says “jail “doesn’t work” and how handing out custodial sentences is generally a bad thing.”
Were you going to refute these points or do you think they are laughable because they are self-evident?
Is it your opinion that we should not be concerned with how much C-25 will cost?
Does it not make sense to have skeptics on the review panel?
BTW, Are you going to unmoderate my comments on prohibition causing violence? If not, can you explain why?

Perhaps these folks with all the answers would ask us “common folk” about what we think might work, rather than forever taking the “top down” approach! Train these buggers while they are locked up, teach them something so that they may have a workable trade when they are released….welfare doesn’t work for single men either, yet there are so many who sit on their asses collecting it! Have education or training manadatory or stay in your cell all day and be useless….we tax payers feed their asses, we work our assess off to earn our own living…..it shouldn’t be a holiday-headingly stay! Have the recycling plant run through the prison system, pay em a dollar a day, just get them doing something other than sitting on their butts doing nothing but time. How many children grow up without their other parent, the child suffers too in the long term. We need a review of our incarceration system and how it’s NOT working for anyone! building more jails isn’t going to fix this mess either!

As Sheldon wrote – prison should be a place of punishment, not coddling, where the food and benefits outweigh those of many seniors who worked and paid taxes for many years. I, for one, am sick and tired of Joneses whining about how those ‘poor, misunderstood’ creeps shouldn’t be behind bars.

For as long as I can remember, it’s bothered me that prisoners in Canada end up becoming financial liabilities instead of assets who should be forced to contribute to the society they’ve damaged or exploited.
From their first day in incarceration, prisoners should be put to work in nickel mines, farm fields and construction projects. If we require more prison space, let the prisoners provide the labour to build these prisons.

Ok…..enough of the hug-a-thugs!!!! If you commit a crime, you voluntarily give up your rights as a law abiding citizen. My safety come first, not your twisted social-engineered mindset that crime is OK. WTF!!! Now that that’s out of the way, lets look at the “cost”. Three squares daily, cable TV, weights and recreation equipment, free university or trades school……shall I go on? Coupled with the joke we call our legal (not justice) system, is it any wonder that criminals are running the show? Why reform…crime pays and then you’ll get a pardon with no effort needed on your part….what a complete joke! But we must also be compasionate for the rapists, pedophiles and murderers right? NOT!
Aside from my rants, any true cost must also be leveled against any gains. Like safer communities, employment (people must build and maintain these facilities) and education – our youth see our lax ways and know crime does actually pay in the end. Actually enforcing our laws and making criminals responsible for their actions will foster a greater respect from our youth and in turn decrease prison populations. Also removing criminal charges for “sin” consumptions would be benificial as normally law abiding people will not be criminalized for using these recreational indulgences and keep those prison spots open for those that need the room. There is always a yin to the yang, don’t preach just one side to us. We aren’t as stupid as you think we are JHS!!!
Just my opinion. I pay taxes, lots of taxes!

Nothing – including cost – trumps public safety, despite what social-engineers tell us. I’ve even heard a dumber argument against reform than costs – from the leader of an African-Canadian Association out of Toronto who made the statement that public safety should take a back-seat to immigration laws and justice redress – advocating for addressing the imbalance of certain ethnics in prison versus just putting criminals in jail. Strange how the public didn’t hear much about that one – yet we hear from free speech opponents of a private TV news station that hasn’t even aired yet. Has this country gone mad

I value my life and the lives of my family…the problem is the people commiting the crimes do not….I know my life holds no more value than a single ciggarette…that is reality.
Just ask Audry Cooper who was killed because she didnt have a spare ciggarette for the punks who wanted one…
Or the guy who lost an eye to a screwdriver AFTER handing over his wallet a few years ago.
As for choices…everyone has choices….not everyone had a rosy childhood growing up yet they have CHOSEN to not rape, murder, steal and use that as an excuse for thier BARBARIC behaviour.
Honestly I think the only way you will understand is if something happens to you personally…until then you will keep spouting your liberal hug-a-thug crap that makes 99.9999% of the population sick.

Not all crime is a choice. In fact, most criminals are not rational, cost-benefit analysis actors/thinkers. The majority are impulsive in their actions. Also, provocation, intoxication and other situational circumstances also play a role in criminal behaviour. Mental illnesses, addictions, poor upbringing, unemployment, poverty, provocation, etc. are not excuses, they are legitimate reasons and contributing factors to criminal behaviour. My beliefs will not change. I am not a "hug a thug" or whatever you right wingers call us. I am somebody who wants to help marginalized individuals in society. I want to assist and support offenders in their rehabilitation and reintegration into society, as that is in society's best interests, and it increases public safety as the root causes of crime are being addressed. 

Crime rates are going down? That’s funny. All that’s changed is in the way they count crime. They started handing out “conditional” sentences like candy several years ago and then, miraculously, “crime” goes down. TheY just don’t include conditional sentences in their new accounting scheme. Any body with a brain would know that crime has NEVER BEEN WORSE. We don’t put people in jail for anything anymore, including when they kill people with stolen cars. Not even repeat, dangerous offenders. Even with that, the jails are still over-full. Interesting. Then we have a girl come along and tell us we don’t understand the situation? We understand perfectly well miss. Liberalized justice lacks any proper deterrance or results. Time has proven that. Now step aside because the rest of us, the majority, are here to save you from yourself. All prisoners should be made to work and learn in prison. My guess is that you’d rather John Howards type to study things for a few more decades with full funding from me the taxpayer. I hereby withdraw my financial support for any more of this type of nonsense. Pass that along to the JHS so they can make the appropriate cutbacks right now.

Do you not see the relevance between recidivism and crime rates? Most crimes are now going unrecorded due to the YCJA, lack of people wanting to even file a report due to the injustice they are recieving. People in high risk neighborhoods are afraid of being the next victim of a high risk offender. How much is the life of an innocent victim in your eyes when compared to the life of a killer?
Go up to Tim Mclean’s mother and tell her, her son’s life isn’t worth as much as Vince Li’s rehabilitation! I’d love to see it! In fact why don’t you save the taxpayers some money and have Sidney Teerhuis-Moar stay with you and get rehabilitated! I bet you’d be the one getting “rehabilitated” pretty damn quick!!!
You really have to face the fact that some people don’t want to be rehabilitated and will con you out of your life. They will smile to your face while stabbing you in the back. These sub-humans need to be separated for the good of society. They are sub-human as they don’t empathise with thier victims. If they did, they wouldn’t commit the crime. The only time they are sorry is when they are caught. (because they know it will reduce thier sentence, not from anything else)
It would be nice to one day be able to jail you and the likes of you that keep releasing KNOWN high risk offenders for CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE CAUSING DEATH, because you KNOW SO MUCH MORE than the rest of us. It’s the same as throwing a loaded gun in the middle of a park and expecting noone to get hurt. Just because you didn’t pull the trigger doesn’t make you innocent!!!

@ Brittany,
If crime has been on the decline as you suggest, why is the prison population increasing? It definitely isn’t due to less crime. I can pull stats refuting your stats. I believe what I see, not stats. (87% of stats are made up 30% of the time). Anybody can skew figures to suit thier own purposes. But, when you deal in personal facts that you can only see from life experience, then you can logically argue a point.
30 years ago, people on my street were able to leave thier doors unlocked and not worry about theives, home invasions, armed robberies and the like. Today, almost everyone has a security system, big dogs (with warnings), and have thier doors locked when they are home. We are now prisoners in our own homes because we let inmates run wild!!! This is the world you created because you believe the rights of the criminal should trump the rights of the victim. I fear what the future holds in the next 30 years if you have your way.

I am not completely sure about denunciation because I have read any research regarding denunciation, which is why I say it should not be completely removed.

Fair enough, Brittany. And I trust as you continue your studies in criminal justice you will come across this very important sentencing principle which is cited daily in Canadian court rooms. It is the most cited principle when courts express the need to hand down “fit” sentences.
Denunciation is often confused with “revenge.” It in fact has nothing to do with revenge. It is the court’s expression of disapproval of an offensive on behalf of society. As you continue your studies, you will learn that denunciation is a cornerstone in sentencing when courts seek to ensure offenders receive “fit” sentences for their crimes and in order to ensure the administration of justice is not brought into disrepute.
It is weighed against other important sentencing principles such as rehabilitation and reintegration.
But it is a very important sentencing principle.

The trouble with denunciation is that it is completely subjective and it can not be quantified. Yes, the intent of denunciation is, in part, to express societal disapproval of conduct. However, ask the average person what the average sentence is for the average crime and they won’t have a clue. There is no point in “sending a message” if no one is listening. There is no point in making examples of people if no one (specifically bad guys) are paying attention.
Now, you, being “the media,” could help the courts “send a message” by calling especially harsh sentences to the public’s attention, rather than focusing on exceptionally light sentences and complaining that they are the inadequate norm.
For example, if you tell college students that they binge drink more than they actually do, they will binge drink more.
It’s all about perception, and you very deliberately give your readers the false impression that convicted criminals are slapped on the wrist and hugged, thus undermining the (entirely theoretical) denunciation and deterrence you claim to be fond of.
@Brittany. I can save you some time. Tom and his fans see only benefits and no costs associated with incarceration. When challenged with facts and figures demonstrating that longer sentences are counter-productive, they accuse people of (mysteriously) caring more about the rights of criminals than their victims, and challenge you to present you peer-reviewed studies to the victim’s grieving relatives.
Of course, you and I know, as more mature adults, that what matters is the outcome of our criminal justice policies, not how they make us feel, or how much they satisfy our primitive lust of “justice.”
We understand that there are far more cost-effective and civilized ways to improve public safety and reduce crime, and that therefore lobbying to squander our finite resources on longer sentences, if not death camps, based on “common sense” rather than reality or some familiarity with the literature on the subject, is a crime in and of itself.

Yes, the sentencing principle of denunciation is subjective. Most aspects of the criminal justice system are subjective. The act of sentencing — where judges weigh the competing demands of various sentencing principles and try to mesh them with mitigating and aggravating factors of specific cases — is a highly subjective exercise carried out within very broad parameters.
Retired associate chief justice Jeffrey Oliphant probably said it best in an interview with me when he described sentencing as by far the most difficult job for judges, calling it “more of an art than a science.”
That’s the nature of law. It even begins with our Charter, which says that our rights and freedoms are subject “only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”
That overarching qualifier in the Charter is extremely subjective and it can be — and is — interpreted in many different ways.
So I’m not sure what your point about denunciation is. Yes it’s subjective, we all know that. Most aspects of law — where courts and tribunals try to give meaning to terms such as “reasonable” and “fit” — are subjective.
Matt, do you think the sentencing principle of denunciation should be eliminated from the Criminal Code of Canada?
For that matter, there is another high-level sentencing principle in the code that demands that courts ensure sentences are proportionate to the gravity of the offence. Since that principle has nothing to do with outcomes, do you think it should be removed from the criminal code, too?
On the media’s role of highlighting harsh sentences to the public, I agree with you. I think it’s the media’s job to not only highlight the weak and ineffective sentences but to also report on the fit ones.
But again, you forgot to do your homework. I do highlight fit sentences in order to provide examples to readers of when courts get it right.

Allow me to introduce you to the Hard-Ball Award handed out in my column from time to time to highlight those very sentences that I believe are fit and to congratulate the judge in question for giving denunciation the proper weight.

“We understand that there are far more cost-effective and civilized ways to improve public safety and reduce crime, and that therefore lobbying to squander our finite resources on longer sentences”
So what are these ways?
This logic was perpetuated by the Liberals and the Chretien reign and we got the awesome YCJA out of it. Look how well that has worked out.
Bottom line, criminals can’t commit crimes when they’re locked up. You’re failing to realize that there are people out there who will continue to live a life of crime, they thrive on it. All the education in the world and creating more of a welfare state won’t change that.
And again, what about the protection of victims and society as a whole?

Tom does publish his hard-ball awards when deserved, but I suspect they are so far and few between that I can see how you might have missed them.
Please explain to me and the general “immature” public how much more cost effective “catch and release, then catch again” is when compared to keeping them locked up. Tell us how valuable the life of an innocent victim is when compared to that of a repeat offender. You show too much mercy to those who would show you none. We have already seen the outcome of YOUR criminal justice policies, and that is the exact reason we demand change.
Like I said before, I would gladly pay the extra taxes for more jails since the ones we already have are overflowing.

Yes, because if people are against harsher sentences, and have a tough on crime slant they are simply uneducated and backwards thinking.
Good thing we have liberal bleeding hearts who are smarter than us all do the thinking and decision making for us. Where would we be without them?
Brittany and Matt, I would urge you to take a walk downtown or in the heart of the North End at around midnight. When you’re there, try educating the poor downtrodden gang members and criminals and really get to the root causes of crime.

You are entitled to your opinion. If you want to believe that getting tough on crime is effective, that's fine. The only problem, is that the "tough on crime" approach is not evidence-based. There is no research to show that getting tough has been effective, anywhere. What we need to do, is get smart on crime, by addressing crime's root causes and contributing factors. Prison does keep somebody from re-offending but it often fails at addressing the root causes of one's criminal behaviour. Therefore, if those issues are not addressed, they will be released with an increased chance of re-offending. Harper is ignoring the research compiled by educated criminologists who study crime trends for a living, and whose research has proven that tough on crime policies are ineffective and expensive.

Tom, given that deterrence is imaginary and denunciation is subjective, the primary goal of sentencing is, as your minions keep insisting, incapacitation
… because public safety is your greatest concern, right?. Therefore, imposing harsher sentences to denounce crimes at the expense of public safety is a bad idea.
If denunciation were the most important sentencing principle, then it would make more sense to torture criminals in the public square, yes? Rather than sentence then in a court room that no one attends and lock them in a cage that no one visits.

No, I don’t think denunciation should be removed as a sentencing principle from the criminal code, but I do think it should be a lower priority than
public safety.
If, for example, we could send a stronger message of denunciation by defunding health care, education and drug treatment and building more prisons, ultimately causing more crime, I would be opposed on public health and safety grounds.
Denunciation should be balanced with the principles that an offender should not be deprived of liberty, if less restrictive sanctions may be appropriate in the circumstances; and, all available sanctions other than imprisonment that are reasonable in the circumstances should be considered for all offenders, with particular attention to the circumstances of aboriginal offenders.

Why is it important to keep the sentencing principle of denunciation in the Criminal Code?

Some criminals, and potential criminals, albeit very few, actually care about what society approves and disapproves of. So, to the extent that criminal sanctions communicate what society disapproves of, and impart the strength of that disapproval, they have some denunciating value.

I am sure I could if I tried, but I was merely conceding what I thought you believed. I care about societal approval and disapproval, so it seems logical that other Canadians, like yourself, do as well.
That said, what really prevents me from committing crimes is the golden rule, not social values as reflected in sentencing practices.
Indeed, denunciation may be counter-productive insofar as criminals reject social values and deliberately act in ways counter to those values.
I confess that I am not aware of any evidence that denunciation deters crime, which is one reason I think denunciation should be a relatively minor consideration in sentencing. If you have evidence that denunciation deters, I’d like to see it.
Denunciation is also supposed to increase public confidence in the criminal justice system, and provide some solace to the victims of crime. I don’t dispute this either, which is why I would not entirely remove denunciation as a sentencing principle.

You said you would not eliminate denunciation from the criminal code because it has some limited benefit. You said a small minority of criminals and would-be criminals care about societal approval and disapproval, yet you have no evidence to substantiate that claim.
You have just committed the Matt Elrod cardinal sin: You have made a claim about criminal behaviour without any peer-reviewed research to back up that claim.
Instead you rely on the pedestrian gut instinct of “it seems logical” that you constantly accuse others of using.

“You said a small minority of criminals and would-be criminals care about societal approval and disapproval, yet you have no evidence to substantiate that claim.”
More specifically, I don’t have any evidence at hand, yes.
“You have made a claim about criminal behaviour without any peer-reviewed research to back up that claim.”
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The concession that denunciation may deter some crime by virtue of expressing societal disapproval is conventional wisdom. Deterrence is, after all, one of the stated intents of denunciation. Denunciation has other, less tangible redeeming values.
“Instead you rely on the pedestrian gut instinct of “it seems logical” that you constantly accuse others of using.”
In conceding what I thought to be your unsubstantiated point, not in advancing my opinion, which is that denunciation should be secondary to other considerations in sentencing, such as public safety, public expense and rehabilitation. In other words, I don’t think we should impose harsher sentences primarily to appease our thirst for justice, compensate victims,
win votes or avoid an eight ball award.

If I make an assertion in support of a proposition, and it runs contrary to conventional wisdom, say, cannabis does not cause cancer, or crime rates are going up, then it behooves me to provide some evidence to support my contention. That’s basic “netiquette.”
However, if I assert something that is widely accepted as being the scientific consensus, like drug prohibition causes crime, then I feel less obliged to do your homework for you. That doesn’t mean I won’t, just that I feel less obligated to.
If you make an assertion, like denunciation is a important sentencing principle, and I agree with you, I do not feel obligated to produce evidence to support our shared opinion, both because it sounds logical and it is conventional wisdom, but also because we seem to agree on it and neither of us needs to be convinced.
I have no reason to doubt that denunciation has redeeming value, including some deterrent effect, nor any reason to believe that you have any doubts about it.

Where I think we might differ is in how much value denunciation has. You seem to think it is really important, if not the most important objective of sentencing, worth billions per year, and I disagree. I put public safety before denunciation. 

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