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.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sentencing Act to cost billions -- stupid Conservatives!

These are some comments from the CBC site which I enjoyed:

Have a look in the USA how tough on crime worked. Most states in the US are close to needing a bailout because of the tough on crime laws. The US government is planning on letting out thousands of inmates because tough on crime did nothing, it didn't reduce crime, but it bankrupt the country. The US has the toughest crime laws & the highest crime rate. That's all Harper's tough on crime will do is bankrupt our country & increase crime. We need a new government.

Is there no failed American example the Conservatives don't want to emulate?

What part of crime in Canada is going down - and has been for over a dozen years don't the Conservatives understand? Really - it's not that hard to grasp!

This would all be great but the entire approach is wrong. We are focused on "punishing" them, not rehabilitation. Even when they call them "rehabilitation", there is none.

They are probably allowed to watch UFC and indulge in bestial conversations and listen to degenerated music. Can't you see, even if you don't want to, that this inspires more animal like behavior?

As funny as it sounds, they should be learning, painting, sculpting, all rap music etc should be banned, they should not be allowed to talk about vile things, only nice things. This is how prison becomes worthwhile to society.

To just punish them, and let them get worse, well, we will become like America. Of course, this is how it will go, because our leaders are not chosen based on who they actually are. It has more to do with companies and votes that were almost bought and paid for...

no rationale person with any education/training on the issue is going to say that crimerates are increasing. They are going down year after year, and have been for a number of decades. And it is not just Canada experiencing this phenonmen - this trend is documented across the Western world, including the U.S, Sociologists will say that the murder rate is the best guage, as it is not susceptible to variances in reporting. And the murder rate in Canada is at its lowest rate in almost 40 years.

Here's what you do. Legalize pot and offer amnesty to any in convicted of possession in the past. That mean releasing some of the prison population and reducing the amount of criminal going into prison. On top of that they can tax pot and use that to fund the increased cost of the penal system. Then change this law and it will all balance out. Problem solved!

I'd much rather see pot smokers free and rapist in jail. That's just me though. I'm sure others who would prefer the opposite will give me the thumbs down.

If putting and keeping people in jail made things safer, the U.S. would be the safest country in the western world, as they have more people in jail than anyone. Anyone heard an American pudit crow about how safe their country is? Also, without the benefit of awarding reduced time for keeping people locked up in overcrowded remand centres, look for Charter challenges to let people OUT because their conditions are indecent.

Imagine how quickly this bill -- and the resultant privatization of our penal system -- would have proceeded if this Conservative government had an unassailable majority in the House.

A liberal position on this issue would dictate that there are more effective and cost saving ways to deal with incarceration in this country. In general it is more harmful than good to keep people in prison for a long time

This law is a conservative position. This position dictates that a criminal act be punished. it is of no consequence the monetary cost and effects on the convict. The person who has broken the law must suffer. Rehabilitation is not really neccessary.

Depending on your values you would be swayed by one version or the other. Right now in this country there are more people who are for the conservative position. Since we live in a democracy, majority wins.

Crime rate has been falling - why fix it if it ain't broke?? Opposition must kill this bill!!!

How much of this additional expense can be tied to the drug trade and related offenses? If Harper wasn't so closed-minded re: pot, most of our prisons would open up and leave sufficient room for those who actually commit crimes.

Once the price tag reaches sufficient levels, perhaps Canadians will wake up to the trouble with our prohibition laws.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein

Well we sure as heck know what the outcome of this style of justice system was in the U.S. We will get the same here. Get ready for real criminals Canada. Something our system has kept us from having to deal with until now. Get ready to see a surge in crime in this country. Disagree all you want but it i coming, and I will say I told you so.

Typical narrow minded conservatives.
So Called Tories - Always Reactive Never Proactive. Lots of money to keep people in jail but no money for programs to keep people from getting into trouble. The So Called Tories - the party with no vision.

Human beings should be given a second chance if they made a mistake and are repentant and rehabilitated.

This new law is just playing politics. I guess they want to look MACHO and tough on criminals to get votes from non thinking Canadians.

Who REALLY are the worst criminals on this planet?

A human being who commits a crime today in this unforgiving "scared" society is a marked man FOREVER. These people can look forward to unemployment, poverty and harassment FOREVER. What an unnecessary expense and a waste of human productivity.

Every pardon should be looked at INDIVIDUALLY to see if it has merit. The only intelligent way to go. Can't expect that from these narrow minded "dumb vote" pursuing politicians.

“The "soft on crime" and "soft on terror" Liberals and NDP don't understand this.”

No, what they DO understand is that it doesn’t work. It will cost billions and there will be no difference in crime. In fact crime might actually increase. It's not about being soft on crime or mollycoddling criminals or letting them off easy or blaming society or any of that other drivel; its about spending money on things that work. You’d think that conservatives woud be in favour of that.

“Jail is a good place to keep criminals. We should build more of them. Come to Winnipeg and you'll soon see why”

And when they come out they are even more likely to commit a crime again. And anyway think about it. Winnipeg and Edmonton have a much higher crime rate than say Ottawa or Quebec City. Yet they have EXACTLY the same justice system. So its obviously not the justice system that is resulting in higher crime in Winnipeg and Edmonton – to the extent that you can lay it at the feet of any government it has to be the provincial one.
Are we trying to emulate the USA? The United States has less than 5% of the world's population and 23.4% of the world's prison population. It's not really helped them crime-wise (understatement).

More stupidity from the Harperites. A shocking waste of money. Another shocking waste of money. Another in a long list of shockingly stupid and expensive ideas. Harper is drunk on power and his following have IQs in the range of room temperature. In Celcius. I can't wait for an election.
Harpo's "get tough on crime/drugs" program is a carbon copy of the american approach, which sounds very good in a speech but is hugely expensive and notoriously ineffective. Harpo wants to get tough on crime while the actual crime rate has been going down over the last few years. So, why fix something if it's not broken?

Yet another beautiful example of those who refuse to let facts interfere with their ideologies. Construction and prison jobs are literally bankrupting the United States and doing absolutely NOTHING to reduce crime. On the other hand, Canada's so-called 'hug-a-thug' policies have seen crime rates dropping steadily for decades. And yet the Con crowd, who supposedly are so damn fiscally responsible and concerned about law and order, want us to emulate a nation with a violent crime rate ten times that of Canada and an ineffective justice system that is bleeding the country dry.

It is simply laughable that you folks claim the moral and fiscal high ground when you keep calling for us to spend money on things that DO NOT WORK. It must be great to base all your policies on moral outrage rather than simple proven fact. So much easier to call people names like 'lefty' and 'lib' than to spend five minutes researching a topic to see WHY the 'lefties' and 'libs' push for programs that actually WORK, even if they are not as much fun as good old useless vengeance laws.

Retribution is an easy thing to sell to a society that doesn't know any better. The Conservative way: slander the "leftists" as uncontrollable spenders, and then shift all the spending away from social programs that help prevent and alleviate the problems that the Conservatives create by spending *even more* than the "leftists" on state-sanctioned retribution and oppression ("tough on crime" policies, incarceration, exorbitant military spending, systematic maintenance of high poverty levels, etc.). In short, spend more than the "leftists" on band-aid policy initiatives to fix problems that are created by taking funding away from the social programs that prevent those problems in the first place. It's been this way in North America for generations: Conservatives/Republicans make a mess, the Liberals/Democrats clean it up. Canada and the U.S. just aren't in sync at the moment.

The crime rate has been falling in this country since the mid 1990s and yet we have a Prime Minister whose highest priorities include being "tough on crime". The priorities were also supposed to include being tough on spending but Harper is on track to being another big spender like Mulroney.

It is ironic that the Conservatives always preach fiscal reponsibility and always end up being the biggest spenders.

I'm not sure where the assumption comes from - that there's a segment of the population dissatisfied with the justice system and the only solution is to increase the length of sentences and number of inmates. That's seems like 19th century thinking, and doesn't fit with the available data.

Besides, if we're going to call them a 'Conservative' party one would think the overall spending would decrease, not be increased with policing, incarceration and foreign wars.

Canada may be nowhere near the US in terms of incarceration, but we're ahead of most European nations that have lower crime rates. The US has also shown that there's no correlation between increased incarceration and lower crime rates.

So the Con response is "We want to live in a safer society".

Why the $#@^ would you try to accomplish that by emulating one of the least safe societies on the planet?

And next, the fascist Harper regime will re-introduce capital punishment as a cost saving measure.

Buidling more prisons is not the answer, I have volunteered in a fedral prison for over 10 years and until the government puts resources in place in the community to help against such issues as poverty and drug/alcohol addictions, then you will continue to need to address crime. Believe or not the majority of people can be rehaibilitated, more emphasis needs to be on restorative justice programs in the community as well. A federal warden once said to me the one thing that kept her at her job was the number of people that went out the door far exceeded the numbers of people that returned. Why don't the government listen to its own experts and its own studies? The US are finally realizing their system or more prisons didn't work and they are working at rehabilitation, now our government is about to begin to start a program that has been proven over and over again to not work.

The Cons have Simple solutions for most things that end up costing us billions. But it is the simple minded electorite that votes for quick fix solutions.

All policy changes what ever they may be have to be throughly and impartially costed out before being put to the public.

Scam. What Canadians want is to keep dangerous inmates in prison and away from the public. This legislation makes no distinction between inmates who are a danger to society and those who could be released immediately and never re-offend. (The latter group is most of the prison population at any given time, according to the government's own research.)

Why would the Harper Conservatives be so eager to throw away billions on a plan that doesn't accomplish what Canadians want? The so-called Truth in Sentencing Act is step one in the scheme to turn the Canadian correctional system into a privatized nightmare, similar to the United States. The U.S. incarcerates more of its own citizens than any nation on Earth. A good part of the reason is that prisons have been turned into a for-profit industry there; virtually a "Prison-Industrial Complex."

Billions are drained from the public coffers into private corporations, such as Corrections Corporation of America. Political commentator Bill Maher states: "Prisons used to be a non-profit business... The CCA and similar corporations actually lobby Congress for stiffer sentencing laws so they can lock more people up and make more money. That's why America has the world's largest prison population -- because actually rehabilitating people would have a negative impact on the bottom line."

Let Mr. Toews and Mr. Harper know that what you want is public safety, not an ever-expanding privatized horror like the United States. If the U.S. prison system prevented or discouraged crime, it would be getting smaller every year, not growing like an aggressive tumor.

Umm, with declining crime rates, and raising poverty rates, will someone please explain why our government is even CONSIDERING spending billions of dollars on a non-problem?? Uhg, I can't wait for election time...

People continue to flout the same rehetoric over and over again, probably because they do not have ANY, not even a basic understanding, of our Criminal Justice System. Please, for example, explain how "criminals have more rights than victims"? I have been asking this question for years, and have never gotten any type of informed answer, but I would wager 10-15% of these posts make mention of that.

PLEASE, I beg you people, educate yourself on our Criminal Justice System, you may be surprised. Go to your local court house and sit in on a trial, or grab a copy of the YCJA or CCC and read up. Go to Stats Canada and look at crime rates. Seriously, it would be so much more productive debating with everyone if they actually presented facts and valid points instead of stereotypes, blanket statements and simply wrong information (ie offender DO work in facilities despite popular belief).

And finally, QUIT DEMANDING A REINSTATEMENT OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. It will never happen because the vast majority of Canadians are not vengeful, pitchfork weilding animals. Please, go to counselling to get help for your desire to kill others (not to mention these "others" are often SEVERLY mentally ill), it's sick...

Harper and his get tough on Crime Policies do not include a get tough on Politicians Crime that get caught with either their hand in the cookie jar (Brian Mulroney) or criminal convictions (Rahim jaffer and the ex Atorney general of Ontario for drunk driving and manslaughter)

I wonder why? Are they going to build a Health Spa for these guys when they inevitably get caught doing something? I think it is professional courtesy because Harper is eveything but clear and transparent and his time will come.

Or perhaps Harper has created this solely for his own personal gain? These costs to Canadians are outragous when you consider that harper wants to incarcerate canadians that get caught growing Marijuana-this is just outright stupid- marijuana growers are not a deteriment to society-legalizie marijuana and get the existing people in jail for these crimes released and bingo-you free up 100's of cells for those criminals that actually should be locked up-rapists, murders, pedophiles etc.

Harper wants Corrections Canada Privatized and I am sure he will be in on the IPO's as an inside trader if he gets everything his way-pass new laws to make more people go to jail and own shares in the companies that own them!

This is Harpers clear and apparent agenda.

Instead of building prisons, let's invest the $1 billion directly into programs that the best data we have show to be the most effective at reducing the type of crime that puts people in prison. If we can help turn people away from substance abuse/ criminal behaviour/ gangs whatever that leads to crime through early intervention/ housing/ health/ education/ family support then if the social scientists are right in the longer term we will not need the additional prisons. In the short term we will have crowded jails.

The goal should be to reduce the number of people committing crimes by giving the high risk people support; with a justice system that is fair but tough on those who do.

The logic driving these decisions is reactionary and based on isolated incidents. Someone will bring up some case where some criminal only got X years, and demand that the justice system be fixed. Much like Karla's pardon. What is neglected is the overall effect of changing laws to deal with the few exceptions - the Cons would make it impossible for everyone to get pardons, so even the 'rehabilitated' will have a much harder time reintegrating into society.

Tough on crime Indeed! (Tougher on my taxes, more likely!)

I know the angry Right will jump ALL over this, but I'd rather see the extra billions being plowed into social services than more prison space. I have yet to see any compelling evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, that supports the notion that harsher penalties reduces crime in any way.

But there's plenty of evidence (even if it's just anecdotal) that a high proportion of crimes are committed by people from a disadvantaged background.

Vengeance might be satisfying, but I don't believe it keeps your kids safe.

Feel free to add (right hand) thumbs down with reckless abandon!

Feel free to disregard the evidence that the crime rate was going down under those foppish lefty Liberals.

Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord's Right Hand Men.

Just like the US, build more prisons, don't attack the problem. Low wages, high unemployment, poor education. It's all about the show, no substance. With this gov't the problem is going to get worse. They model themselves on the US and it hasn't worked there, but they don't care.

1. This is not changing our legal system. Its not going to increase the amount of people found guilty of crimes or how they are represented or prosecuted. All this changes is the stupid fact that people were getting credited for time served BEFORE trial. As things currently stand these people are getting credit for time served before trial at the rate of 2:1 or 3:1 which means they delay their trials as long as possible because for every day they serve their sentences will be reduced by 2 or 3 days.

BTW people that serve time before trial are either a) charged with very serious offences or b) deemed to be untrustworthy enough to be released on their own recognizance. I have no sympathy for people in either category, personally.

2. This is not going to reduce crime rates and anybody that claims it will is wrong. It is simply going to close a loophole that should never have existed in the first place.

Instead of spending all this money on prisons why don't we spend it on education. Wouldn't it be nice if every child in Canada with learning disabilities and special needs could get help. Wouldn't it be nice if families with autistic children could get help. Wouldn't it be nice if the government picked up the tab for children needing specialized surgery for children unable to get it Canada.
Wouldn't it be nice if seniors and others needing extended care would find such facilities when needed and be treated well and fed a healthy diet.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could train more Canadian doctors. Wouldn't it be nice if Canadian nurses could get full time work in Canadian hospitals.
From the above it is obvious that my wish list and the CONs is very different. But I guess if you are scared enough there is no upper limit to what you'll spend. How about it CONs, how scared are you?

The Conservatives are actively ignoring the entirety of criminology academics, lawyers, and sociologists, who are universally decrying these backwards policies. They are a drain on society, and excessive jail time often creates many more problems than it is alleged to solve.
It is simple pandering to ignorant, angry, scared people (aka the conservative base) and creating a powerful political lobby.
In the US, where incarceration is a big $ business, more people are in jail than the REST OF THE WORLD, COMBINED. We're going backwards, people.
We can build schools, or prisons. It's our choice. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what's the right answer there....

What a joke, is this working in the US? How are their crime problems?
Oh wait they have the highest rate of incarceration in the western world, it must be working. So typical, a bunch feel good solutions to much deeper problems. If we are serious about getting tough on crime, how about coraling the horses before they get out, instead of closing the barn door after they've got out, this is the absolute wrong direction to be taking.
I have a bright idea, why dont we look at the countries with the least amount of crime, and emulate the system they are using, at least it would be money well spent, all this is doing is creating a bigger human industry.

How hard is it to understand that 'lefties' don't support prevention over incarceration because they love criminals, they support it because it WORKS!?!?

So, so many posts about our 'failing justice system'. What a farce! Canada has one of the lowest violent crime rates the planet has ever seen and it continues to trend down. If that's your idea of failure, then fail away justice system, fail away. And what do these posters want us to do to fix this failed system? Emulate a country that has a violent crime rate ten times that of Canada, and has ten times the number of people per capita in jail at public expense rather than in the work force paying taxes.

Supporting prevention programs over incarceration doesn't mean I love thugs. It means I hate them so much I don't want them to become thugs in the first place. Supporting prevention over vengeance doesn't mean I don't care about victims, it means I love victims so much I'd rather they didn't become victims in the first place.

You can call me a hug-a-thug all you want, but my way puts the thugs to work as productive, tax-paying members of society before they become thugs and your way puts them in prison eating three meals a day on my dime after they've hurt someone. Who really is soft on criminals? My way spends one dollar to prevent a crime, your way spends ten dollars to punish a criminal. Who is the real fiscal conservative, lefty me or righty you?

Time for those who call themselves conservative to realize their policies result in the things they accuse liberals of, and that liberal policies result in the effects conservatives CLAIM to value. Just be honest, you don't care about economics or crime rates or victims, you just enjoy vengeance. That is the only explanation for supporting this law.

Funny how now we're imitating U.S. policy, almost down to the letter.

Even failed policies, like the "Tough on Crime" policy which has their prisons overflowing with people - in fact, the largest prison population in the world (over 2 million) and highest incarceration rate in the world.

And is the U.S. safer for it? Not really. Demographics have helped by reducing the numbers of 16 - 25 year olds as a percentage of the population. But I don;t think there is any public perception of safer streets in the average American's minds.

Meanwhile you have an excellent college for criminals in each and every one of those prisons, especially for the younger offenders who should not be there.

What does this say about our government? Surely not that they'd rather play to voter's fears and anxieties in exchange for votes than to have a sensible approach to law enforcement?
Harpo's "get tough on crime/drugs" program is a carbon copy of the american approach, which sounds very good in a speech but is hugely expensive and notoriously ineffective. Harpo wants to get tough on crime while the actual crime rate has been going down over the last few years. So, why fix something if it's not broken?

The arms registry was hailed as being too expensive to continue BUT this piece of legislation is ok??? I feel so sorry for all those farmers who would have to drive alllllllll the way to town to register their firearms. After all, we're only talking about saving human lives. They register their truck, their houses, their tractor, their animals, their dogs BUT never will they register their firearms.

We only need more jails because the penalty is going up.

"Fighting crime" is not done by increasing penalties - that's been known since Elizabethan times when pickpockets were hanged en masse in the public squares ... and the audience was relieved of their wallets by the pickpockets who weren't on the scaffold.

"Fighting crime" is done by increasing the certainty of getting caught ... and that's the first lesson in every Criminology 101 class in every university in every country.

There are so many studies to show that increasing the penalty has no effect at all on criminals.
But ... to a gov't, the appearance of "doing something" is more important than actually doing something. And, after all it isn't their money ... it's our money. So, if a political party stands a chance to get a point in the polls, they don't care how much the cost, nor if we get anything for the money.

And ... retribution is so much easier to sell than effective government.

We'll get more $Billion dollar bills from this government for nothing, is my guess.

They sure are on a roll insofar as billion dollar spendings are concerned.

Nice round figure.

And ... like Mulroney was, this gov't will be out of power by the time the bill has to be paid.

And ... Harper's bunch will be in opposition by then ... crowing about how the new gov't is levying such high taxes ... never mentioning, of course that the high taxes are to pay for the fiscal mismanagement of Harper and his crew.

We heard it all when Mulroney was finally ousted. We'll hear it again when Harper is gone.

It's amazing how the right-wingers just don't get it. Crime rates are falling, but the Neo-Cons continue to call for more prisons at huge public expense. These people would cut back on health care, education, anything that is in the public interest. Their little pea-brains just don't understand that social spending reduces crime.

"I am surprised at how many people would rather let criminals off easy ..."

The phrase "letting criminals 'off easy'" does not make sense, though I am sure very few will agree with me. I am not terribly familiar to life "inside" but, after half a year to a year incarcerated, the feeling of life wasted must be profound. The thought of even that short a sentence feels to me to be anything but 'easy.'

That is not to say I am in favour of shortening prison sentences willy nilly. I am in favour of creating prison culture and accountability among inmates that truly would lead to healing and positive change because of prison time. But I do not want to see sentences lengthened when nothing is accomplished by it but the illusion of safety.

The CPC and supporters of this bill either do not understand facts or choose to ignore them, plain and simple. It hasn't worked in the US and will not work here. They like to pull statements out of their a**es, but reality does not prove their theories correct.

The only thing it will allow is the privatization of prisons, which Harper has wanted all along. And of course, Ignatieff and the Libs. will go along with it, because they don't have a vision themselves.

Like everything else in the world today, common sense seems not to be a trait amongst our leaders today...
Knee jerk reactions like this are always popular with the neo-cons and right wingers of the world (not to mention fascists!) but in reality in most cases we are talking about crimes that are not that bad...most people in jail are in jail due to offenses that are no violent...there are also varying degrees of violence...murdering or attempting to murder someone should have very strict laws and things like this I can see increasing but to put someone in jail for longer than now for a drug offense or a break and enter makes no sense....

Pre-meditated murder is something we need to be willing to keep people in jail for life or very close to it....manslaughter or death due to a robbery or what have you is quite different although I can totally understand it's not to the victim or their family...it really is.

I'm completely against the Conservative 'Let's Make Crime' Bill. Canada's crime rate is in decline - it has been for decades according to StatsCan.

Excepting extraordinary circumstances, I believe jail should the exclusive domain of violent criminals - those who beat people, murder by design, break into houses, terrorize our communities, etc.

And I believe those serving jail sentences for such violent crimes should be involved in much more constructive activities in jail that somehow give back to our communities and society as a whole, and that provide wholesome decent activities for those we incarcerate. For profit activities such as farming, industry, manufacturing, etc..

Our prisons, in a country such a Canada, should be model institutions upon which others around the civilized world would base their own systems.

So, why aren't we using our heads? Part of the reason is the massive system of vested interests that currently administer our criminal justice system are looking out for number one - they'd lose their jobs if someone actually instituted a modern, intelligent, progressive prison system. In fact, some of them would probably land back inside the prison system themselves if they weren't running it.

Yes, the system needs to change. But let's NOT build more of something that is seriously broken already.
The problem isn't sentencing, it's a deeper problem which requires more thought and less cheques signed. The problem with that, is that Harper is an economist, not a criminologist or psychologist. We need real solutions that will work long term. Not just sweep it under the rug for a few years. That's what economists do, push stuff off for somebody else to worry about. We need deeper thinkers in the house, or at least consultation and study about how to make the correctional system correct, instead of recruit. Not easy to do, which is why the conservatives will never do it.

Oh good. More prisons. Billions of taxpayer money spent on more band-aid solutions. Not like it could've been used for more constructive purposes, like creating jobs or paying off national debt, right? Yeah. Let's give the cops shiny new black battle-armor, jackboots and some fancy new riot weapons, too; we also need to increase internal security and monitoring, and widen the number of offenses prosecutable as 'treason'.

By the way, to pay for all this, we're going to have to cut back on a few frills like freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, habeas corpus, etc. Nothing you'll actually miss, don't worry. The government has it all under control, and our economy has never been better. Here's a few more channels of UFC. Go back to sleep, Canada. You are free...to do as we tell you...you are free...to do as we tell you...

When you include the additional costs to the system of longer trials and more appeals as defendants strive to lower their charges and sentences due to the recent changes in minimum sentencing and time served provisions, you can probably add billions more in direct and indirect costs.

By the time Harper & Co. are done "tinkering", Canada's criminal justice system will look very much like parts of the USA. By doing so, he is merely guaranteeing that criminals remain criminals.

Some of these changes are unconstitutional, and I hope the Supreme Court justices have the moxy to declare these provisions as such when the Charter challenges occur -- and I hope those challenges occur soon.

This is such a waste of money. This will have no effect on crime rates, which have been on a downward trend over the past decade. This is all about the current government's right wing agenda to play for votes from those who believe the only way to fight crime is to increase punishment.

The present government is too limp wristed to make the really tough decisions that would drastically reduce crime. They are ideologically averse to changing the drug laws, which would probably cut most crime by half. Neither do they admit to the connection between poverty and crime. Their approach is one of reaction not one of prevention.

We do not need, nor should we want, to turn into the kind of prison state like the one to our south. There they have more people incarcerated as a percentage of total population than anywhere else in the world - over 2 million by last count. Not something we should aspire to.

Of course, many of those behind bars in the USA are also there due to wrong-headed drug laws. They also have a much higher percentage of non-whites behind bars - something that is mirrored here with the native population. There are systemic reasons for this. Reasons that won't be solved by these changes proposed by Harper et al.
Someone who has not been convicted yet is still innnocent. So just because you can't afford bail, you, the innocent person has to spend time in jail. It is also supposed to encourage the courts to move faster. Everyone posting here assumes that delays are always the fault of the defendant. They're not. Some times it it the Crown that plays the delaying game to "punish" someone with pre-trial custody when they know they are unlikely to get a conviction. And sometimes it is the courts themselves that are slow. Judges don't have to give any credit for (and really, they don't) delays caused by defendants.

Maybe instead of giving credit for pre-trial custody the government should be forced to pay innocent people for keeping them in custody before they are acquitted.

Then the guilty (those ultimately convicted) get no credit for pre-trial custody but innocent people in custody pre-acquittal get compensated.

I suspect that this method would be a greater incentive for they system to work faster by focusing on those awaiting trial who are most likely to be convicted and discouraging prosecutors from laying charges against people who they know are innnocent but are being punished for crime(s) they didn't commit.

My wife had the "pleasure' of sitting on a jury where a guy was charged with assault. It was an obvious case of self defense. The prosecutor presented virtually no evidence and didn't even make any closing arguments. And yet the case was still prosecuted, the defendant still had to sit in jail for over a year awaiting trial.

Dear Stevie and VIc,

Your decision in this area is based on TAVERN LOGIC. It is WRONG. It is indicative of a shallow understanding of crime, punishment and rehabilitation. It isn't going to work in a corrections context, and it sure as hell doesn't work in a fiscal policy context. If you listen to your Fin Department advisors, WE CAN'T AFFORD IT!

You can't casually blow off a revenue stream worth tens of billions annually that was designed to generate balanced budgets that included paying down the debt and then turn around, and with the same shallow logic, dream up more ways to throw away more BORROWED billions of dollars on programs that add nothing to the benefit of the country. In physics this a perpetual motion machine, and they don't exist.

When good ol' Brian was PM, fully 1/3 of the budget went just to paying interest on the National Debt. Debt to GDP ratio was 71%! That is basket case level! That was down to less than 30% when you guys took office on a promise of a prudent fiscal policy. More simply, we were paying 36 cents on the tax dollar when Brian left office and 15 cents on the tax dollar when you FIRST took office. Now you're promising five years of deficit spending in addition to what you've borrowed already, and you're planning to increase spending, too.

The one lesson you should have learned by now is that bribing voters with this kind of logic isn't working. Get back on track or get out of the way.

The Conservatives' "tough on crime" thing is so American/ Republican/pandering to the uneducated voter that I wish they would all just move south.

Unfortunately, our government has no interest in reducing crime. They have canceled funding for programs that successfully diverted at-risk youth from gang life and have shut down prison farms, which are well known for their effectiveness in giving prisoners a sense of purpose in life.

Their main interest appears to be revenge and do not want to look at what is effective in reducing crime or what crime's root causes are.

Check out The Economist's analysis of our great leader's Tea Party values: http://www.economist.com/node/16377327.

the Cons (the elected type) and the right-wingers they try to appease are now trotting out failed 18th century policies in a 21st century world

a few more years and we'll be looking at tactics from the dark ages

Can any of the dozens and dozens and dozens of posters who are arguing in favour of this legislation point to one - just one - actual, reputable research study that says this will make any difference in crime rates? That it will do anything other than add to my taxes in order to feed your desire for some kind of revenge?

And by the way, "gut feeling" doesn't count as a "serious study."
I mentioned earlier that Harper's main motivating factor regarding justice and penal reform has probably more to do with his intent on gradually privatizing the penal system (as is currently the case in many States south of the border) on the grounds that Ottawa could no longer afford it. Let us keep in mind that Harper's mantra is "Big Corpo & free markets".

Let's push the rationale a little further. So if the prison system eventually becomes another "big private industry", it goes without saying that it would be in the best interest of the heads of these private companies to have more prisoners with longer prison terms.

Now there's one major conflict of interest if I've ever seen one.
It's what's called rough justice.

Insane. we must rehab, not regurgitate. It is the US style of prison. lock em up and throw away the key. It doesn't work. costs too much. 90% of felons are in prison due to addiction. Lets start there shall we. Build more prisons, please. lets legalize drugs and tax it, to pay for those that can't balance. this is a revolving door. The reason so many reoffend is that they are not skilled or educated. Why don't we get creative and MAKE them get educated while inside. Teach them.

As school doors close cell doors open...Does this make ANY sense???
How does this government expect the citizens of Canada to stay out of the correctional system when they what to make everything illegal...
I think it's time that the Canadian people take Canada back from the crooked politicians!
It's time for Canada to be Canadian again & not this fairy dreamland that Harper & the REFORMED party are trying to make it.

This government isn't fixing the problem, rather they are just treating a symptom, and treating it very badly.
We have proof that mandatory sentences and imprisoning large % of the population does not equal a safer society, just anyone look to the USA.

enough of these parochial conservatives. Their desire to increase prison terms for non-violent crimes, create new crimes to criminalize more Canadians and to reduce opportunities for those who have run afoul of the Law to reintegrate, all reflect bad initiatives that have already failed miserably in the USA.

The US implements more and longer incarceration, and capital punishment
Canada implements shorter prison time, rehabilitation, no capital punishment.
Canada has a lower per capita crime rate than the US.
Which country got it right?

Harper is adding billions of structural deficit, while ignoring the expertise of criminologists who say this policy will not work.

This government is fiscally reckless and socially irresponsible. Their damage will take decades to repair.

“What we need is someone who is not biased who can look at the whole system to advise us what will make the system work to keep us safer. “

Well, we do; they are called criminologists. They spend there entire lives studying this stuff and most of them are telling us that harsher sentencing doesn’t work. Some suggest it may even lead to higher crime rates.

You are right about there being more to it though. Those same criminologists will tell you that if you really want to reduce crime even further you need to spend those billions at the root causes. Not very sexy, not popular, has the sense of giving money to the undeserved and the just unpopular, so basically not a banner that any political party is all that keen to be carrying into an election battle. So it won’t happen

Now of course you don’t have to believe the criminologists. There are those who seem to think that anyone with a university education is some kind socialist or anarchist or something (especially climate scientists and marine biologists it would seem who apparently are all part of some worldwide conspiracy to change the world order) but I think sensible people should be able to agree that a person bright enough to get his Ph.D and who thinks the topic is interesting enough to make a career out of and who spends his entire day researching it is probably going to be better placed to give us that unbiased (and most of all, informed and intelligent) advice than any politician can.

This government isn't fixing the problem, rather they are just treating a symptom, and treating it very badly.
We have proof that mandatory sentences and imprisoning large % of the population does not equal a safer society, just anyone look to the USA.

How is locking people in jails helping our society reduce crime again, compared to education, quality health care, poverty, and addictions support?

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/06/22/truth-in-reconciliation-pbo-report.html#socialcomments#ixzz0rdhfAWNR

Our tax dollars are not well spent on paying for more people to languish for longer periods in more prisons. Extending sentences doesn't make our societies one bit safer: au contraire. Let's spend our tax dollars on community services that will keep people out of prison in the first place! Down in the States they're now having to take stock of the huge mess they're in because of their mass incarceration policies over the last 30 years. Harper's trying to take us down a dead-end road, and trying to cover his tracks and hide info about his actions while he does so! Page's staff couldn't get nearly the info they needed to do their research: how maddening.

Yay spend more money on the fascist police state! Everyone support the conservatives - because they know how to waste money and tell you that somehow they are being fiscally responsible. STOP WASTING MY MONEY ON THE DESTRUCTION OF FREEDOM AND LIBERTY! What happened to small government CRAP party members? Did you forget about those promises while you were preparing your brown shirt uniforms? Us Canadians need a history lesson to understand how fascism creeps into democratic societies. Maybe then we can be a little more vigilant toward this kind of troglodyte thinking!

Toews won’t give figures, therefore a rationally constructed estimate is ‘making this up’. Vengeful Conservatives want more people in prison, so everyone has to pay vast sums to indulge their miserable ideology. If Firearms Registration was an ill-applied boondoggle, what is this, with its added horde of staff & costly structures & maintenance? I don’t want my country to pride itself on the expanding number of its prisons & inmates.

Why is it that 'ideology' over rides wisdom? Norway, is closing prisons while their crime rate goes down, due to the policy they use in dealing with criminals. The made in U.S. criminal policy doesn't work at all. Maybe a few Politicians in the Conservative government should read about ''you who are without sin, cast the first stone"

Ending prohibition would save a lot of money.

Why are we going to waste money on a american style system that the americans are backing away from because it doesn't work.

Our criminal code does need updating but we should have a Canadian solution, not a failed americans one.

Next in line privately run jails. These are the jails that take profit from locking people up. These jails have no incentive for rehabilitation, training or other skill training. To do so means that the person would not re-offend and thus less profit.

Way to go harper, lets move to the american style of prisons, where they have the largest percentage of people within the criminal justice system in the world and all for profit.

harper, just here to bring Canada closer to the usa

We need a government who knows how to do research and develops it's policies based on facts rather than principles and philosophies. Dog packs have more sophisticated planning abilities than this government.

Most of you don't know the concequences of this.

The truth is that the government has no idea whatsoever how much this will cost, how much space there is in our prisons, or how many more people will be in prisons. They don't know where they're going to put them. They say they will build new cells in existing prisons, but they don't even know which ones or how much property there is available to build on.
They never considered any of the practical implications of this law because it was only a political maneuver. It was just a hot button issue for them to grandstand on.
So all you conservative supporters out their salivating at the prospect of bringing down your heavy hand. Get ready for disappointment when the end result is prison overcrowding which leads to ridiculous early releases done in haste.
That's what the end result of mandatory minimum sentencing in the US has been.
With prison overcrowding also comes Hep B and C epidemics as well as HIV epidemics. The costs of these will also be something your taxes will be paying for.
We need a government who knows how to do research and develops it's policies based on facts rather than principles and philosophies. Dog packs have more sophisticated planning abilities than this government.

I hope that the first innocent person accused of crime and thrown into undeserved custody sues the pants off the feds for not recompensing the time lost in waiting for justice.

Crime rates have been dropping in Canada for many years. This is not only an unnessary vote pandering bondoggle, it will also ultimately make this country less of a safe place to live.
Harper is adding billions of structural deficit, while ignoring the expertise of criminologists who say this policy will not work.

This government is fiscally reckless and socially irresponsible. Their damage will take decades to repair.

Look at what long sentances has done in the US. Nothing. They throw in jail the highest proportion of thier population in the western world. What it does is harden young criminals into desperate older criminals. It's so easy to seek vengence and say lock them up, but that's the wrong way to think. Help them change if they can, lock the few who can't up for a long time.

I want the government to spend my money wisely and not follow the knee jerk reaction of the uneducated mob.

By the time the CONs as in politicians are finished with all their tough on crime bills Canada will be faced with a meaner, tougher criminal element. Youth will be sent to adult prison where they will be schooled on how to be more sophisticated and violent criminals. There are those on this board even advocating that prisoners be raped. How sick can you get. Yeah, we'll make prison so tough that criminals won't want to go to jail. They will kill their victims so no one can identify them or testify against them. I beleive that these measures will cause violent crime to skyrocket in Canada.
I'm just wondering how many people the CONs want to lock up-maybe anyone who will vote for the opposition. Aren't they still going to have all that riot equipment left after the G8/20. I wonder who they plan to use it all on. I guess the people of Canada better not protest about Harper.

It is unimaginable that the conservatives are willing to spend billions on keeping people incarcerated. as if that is going to solve any of the social problems behind the crime. how about spending that on fighting poverty, public health, anything that might actually make a difference in people's lives.
The conservatives have just committed a crime against humanity to decide to whorehouse human beings like sardines, many of whom will be absolutely innocent of any crime. The prisons at present cannot hold those projected numbers and no one is going to pay for all those extra prisons to be built.

The decision contradicts reality, if the government spent 10% of that projected increase on crime prevention etc, it would decrease crime by the same projected increase while lowering prison numbers.

The logic is flawed, increased sentences do not result in lower crime or less crime or less criminals, on the contrary.

If our justice system simply gave men equal rights under law, our criminal justice system would be dramatically unloaded overnight.

The first step will be a Legal Presumption of Equal Parenting and reform to the Extreme Feminist child support guidlines that is at present filling our jails not with deadbeat dads but dads who become unemployed or simply can't work.

One other solution is to introduce police for our judiciary to ensure that flagrant abuses of power are dealt with. That alone will reduce our prison population significantly.

The conservative approach is a mindless senseless plan that defies logic. It may be politically popular but that does not mean its in the best interests or economic interest for Canada.

The tory policy is laughable - both from the perspectives of public safety and meaningful corrections. I suspect even they don't believe the propoganda they spew, but know that appearing tough on crime will make them politically popular. At some level we all respond emotionally to crime, and we entertain ourselves with countless numbers of murders per week. In this age of information, reports of sensational crimes committed all around the world reach us quickly. We think that we live in a world in which crime compromises public safety much more than it does. In point of fact, a strong case can be made for the fact that we are in a society which is more safe now than it was 40 years ago. Nevertheless politicians of all stripes pander to public fears in an attempt to increase their electability. This in spite of the data and knowledge which postulates that the current neo con approach will be both counter productive and expensive. What price majority? We are begining to understand. It becomes ironicwhen those same pols lecture us on hypocracy without shame or the slightest inkling of self doubt. The only cosolation is - that this too shall pass. Barcus

We cannot afford Harper Tory paranoia on security and crime--especially when crime rates are plummeting.
I certainly hope the opposition jumps all over this. It will cost the taxpayers billions while not serving the public. Thirteen new prisons? What does that say for us as a country? We're not designating our time to the impoverished, we're are holding the impovished in high-rises that attract gangs, we're just into this to throw maximum sentences upon people. And we can't afford that. We can afford intervention, but not the construction of thirteen prisons. And we can't afford maximum sentences, just as the USA can't. They are turning people assigned to their prisons away at the door after serving a few minutes time. This is what Canada is in for. What an amazingly dumb Bill. But I expect no less from our current governemnt. As for time served. In a country where your trial might be set for two years after your arrest, then that should count. Our lack of legal services should not affect the taxpayer.

Agree that there are too many mindless postings of blind partisanship. Obviously, though, they coming from both “sides” (the most bizarre from the “right” being that Liberals and socialists don’t care about victims and, for some reason, LIKE criminals or something like that)

But to get to the real debate, I guess what I want to know is who the Conservatives consulted with in coming to the conclusion that Canadians would be safer and crime rates would (long term) decrease if we had longer sentencing. Have they, for example, retained a team of eminent criminologists to survey the research and come to conclusions on the issue?

You see my problem is that I strongly suspect not. I fear that this is not informed, advised policy but merely an enactment of dogma and, at best, an adoption of someone else's ill informed policy south of the border. In fact I suspect (based on discussions and readings I have had) that the consensus amongst criminologists is that, likely, it won't work. I mean I know that you can always find some criminologist somewhere to support just about any view, and you will also find those who say he or she is some kind of hero for standing up against a hostile majority view that is trying to crush dissent (usually, so the theory goes, to protect research dollars) but I think that a responsible government should take very seriously the majority view.

So seems to me that before we go spending billions of dollars on a proposed new justice policy that we better be pretty sure it will work (especially if there is risk it will backfire and INCREASE crime) and seems to me that if a majority of the people who are most likely to know the answer to that question are telling us that it won’t work that it’s probably a very bad bet.

Those for incarceration at any cost conveniently forget inmates do get out. Don't suggest life sentences mean a lifelong incarceration. You want to send someone crazy by giving them no hope? That is so 1800's.

If they are not helped, they will be worse than when they went in. More crime, more street people, more mental illness, etc. Then we will really need gated communities - except the privileged inside the gates are not immune to doing crime themselves.

Maybe you want to execute everyone who gets a jail sentence 'cause it's cheaper and 0% recidivism. How about execution for a speeding offence which kills, eh? Or drunk driving. Where will you stop?

But you've forgotten your 10 commandments - do not judge, lest you be judged' nor kill lest you be killed, etc.

Admit it, you want revenge and punishment without forgiveness. You want whipping and caning (like Malaysia and Singapore). Go live in those countries and see what you think. I have.

I've also spent 25 years working for Correctional Service Canada planning and working on redevelopment of federal prisons. I've talked to staff and inmates. I know a lot about daily life in prisons. I know why those people are in there. It is often not because of sanctity of our justice system.

Most inmates need help coping with daily life (don't snark at me). They had no family to learn from; they got no treatment for illness and disabilities (from abusive or drunken parents) and no training in how to deal with the world. And they couldn't afford a top lawyer. Money counts more than human life, I'm afraid. And it is now becoming worse. Maybe we'll bring back public flogging or town square stocks.

When you have a US style justice system ( for profit) you need to expand the client base which is exactly what this conservative government is doing-expanding the client base.. Now they are going after pardons over the Hololka case or whatever her name is. Because the Prosecutor's screwed up and should have charged this person with first degree murder-they want to tag people for life now with a record and make it even more difficult to get a pardon for a criminal record. Soon everyone will either be in jail getting out of jail or reporting to someone in the criminal justice system. Funny they never get the big guys at the top who do the most harn do they? Banks that launder drug money for example, politicians who take positions on boards in exchange for favorable legislation, politicians who pour money into their own riding ingnoring the needs of their neighbouring ones. Letting oil companies regulate themselves as they drill for oil under the arctic ice-with no way to clean up a spill. Selling off crown lands that belong to the people for a song to some business interest to make them rich at the people's expense. We don't even have the resources to go after mortgage fraud in this country and cant' prosecute known cases. How do you like them apples. What do they do-go after the little guy that never had much of a chance in the first place they want to make sure they have no chance-after all people are fed up with all of this injustice they see all around them.

For Harper, Rob Nicholson, and Vic Toews, hard science has little to do with their mandate for crime in Canada.

Their manual is the bible - especially the nasty parts. Eye for an eye, and all that rubbish.

Next, custody will be awarded by cleaving the child in two.

The US implements more and longer incarceration, and capital punishment
Canada implements shorter prison time, rehabilitation, no capital punishment.
Canada has a lower per capita crime rate than the US.
Which country got it right?

“What we need is someone who is not biased who can look at the whole system to advise us what will make the system work to keep us safer. “

Well, we do; they are called criminologists. They spend there entire lives studying this stuff and most of them are telling us that harsher sentencing doesn’t work. Some suggest it may even lead to higher crime rates.
You are right about there being more to it though. Those same criminologists will tell you that if you really want to reduce crime even further you need to spend those billions at the root causes. Not very sexy, not popular, has the sense of giving money to the undeserved and the just unpopular, so basically not a banner that any political party is all that keen to be carrying into an election battle. So it won’t happen

Now of course you don’t have to believe the criminologists. There are those who seem to think that anyone with a university education is some kind socialist or anarchist or something (especially climate scientists and marine biologists it would seem who apparently are all part of some worldwide conspiracy to change the world order) but I think sensible people should be able to agree that a person bright enough to get his Ph.D and who thinks the topic is interesting enough to make a career out of and who spends his entire day researching it is probably going to be better placed to give us that unbiased (and most of all, informed and intelligent) advice than any politician can. 

Folks, we can talk about education but it seems as though the increase in education isn't doing much these days as our culture seems to be increasingly violent, perverted and crooked.

Let's get the foundation of healthy families back into our culture and expose the false ways of thinking that have come into our communities that seem to look like we're progressive as a culture, but have actually been destructive to a steady, solid way of life.

As kids grow up in broken families and don't get the proper nurturing and healthy, loving authoritive framework from their parents, they miss out on a healthy upbringing and we're seeing the result in our culture everyday. The real education needed should be learnt from our elders and the revival of understanding the institution of the family needs to revered and appreciated in our time for us to return to a solid helathy culture in this Nation.

Love your kids, honor your parents, serve your neighbores :)

Our tax dollars are not well spent on paying for more people to languish for longer periods in more prisons. Extending sentences doesn't make our societies one bit safer

If you understand the nature of Canada's political system then you know that this isn't so much about credit for time served as it is about garnering votes and improving the position of the party in power. The use of people who are devalued by the label 'criminal' is incidental and primarily used to appease the general populace and appeal to the base human instincts. The need to inflict punishment is a substantial source of pleasure for an inherently violent species.

I find it interesting how so many right wingers would rather spend $10 locking people up rather than spend $1 to help prevent the crimes in the first place. This is not a question of caudling criminals. It's a question of cost to society. If harsh criminal justice worked than Europe would be overun, and the US would be the safest country on the planet. This is basic economics. I don't have any particular love of the criminal element, but I would like to see my tax dollars used in an effective manner, rather than spending it on an ideological multi-billion dollar boondoggle.

This from a poster that advocates a failed US style "war on drugs" regularly. Is this a paid shill for the Harper Conservatives? You decide.

The Harper Conservative government has been caught paying people to promote their agenda on forums like these. Google "Harper government paid shills" to see for yourself.

The crime rate has been decreasing steadily in Canada for years (see Justice Canada) and this "tough on crime" crap is just that, crap. It is designed to generate fear among people who don't know any better to garner a few votes. This has been done before many times. Remember people, Stephen Harper has proven through many lies and policy flip flops that he will do and say anything for more power. Do your own research on effective crime reduction strategies then form your opinion. You will find that putting people in jail for longer periods, while serving vengeance, actually INCREASES crime in a society while also being extremely costly.

The US department of justice has the toughest sentencing regime on earth and crime is continually on the rise. The data is there for anyone who wants to look. Many states are going bankrupt because of costs. Some states are spending more on prisons than on education. It is insane and this is not the direction Canada should be following.

The above assertions are supported by government data that is readily available online for anyone who is willing to look.

Ya! Lets totally replicate the US justice and penial system just like Harper wants.
After all it's working SO well there eh?
Bet this ends up being the 'No-Longer-Progressive' Conservatives gun registry!

1 comment:

  1. Billions of money isn’t wasted for convictions. Government finds way on how to plan and save money for convictions like building prisons or reconstructing prisons.