Monday, July 5, 2010
Conservatives' irrational crime laws make no sense and cost billions of dollars!
In these days of public sector restraint, there is one realm of waste that is often neglected -the planned and pointless expenditure of billions of tax dollars on new provincial and federal prisons, the consequence of a series of Conservative crime bills.
Never mind that Canada already is a global leader in rates of incarceration, far ahead of almost all of the nation states of Western Europe -and, perhaps paradoxically, Canada typically has higher rates of crime.
The more interesting and relevant finding from recent research is that rates of imprisonment and rates of crime are not related in any systematic way, from one nation state to the next.
What is significant, however, is the relationship between confidence in the political and justice systems of a country and rates of imprisonment. Polls consistently demonstrate that nation states with the lowest rates of imprisonment also have citizens who have the highest levels of confidence in their political systems and their justice systems.
As one contemplates the lack of science in virtually every crime bill dutifully trotted out in Parliament by the Harper Conservatives, one is tempted to either laugh or cry.
It's easy to dismiss them as ideologically driven fools (and there is certainly a wealth of evidence in support of such a proposition), but I think we have a deeper problem -a fundamental lack of belief in the tenets of science.
Consider the recent legislative initiative regarding mandatory minimum sentences for any person who grows more than six marijuana plants.
Does it make sense to spend billions of our tax dollars putting the producers of a relatively benign mind-active drug in jail, at the same time that the executives of tobacco and alcohol companies are regarded as contributing corporate citizens?
Completely agree with this article. Imprisoning more people for longer periods will not reduce or prevent crime. In fact, it could increase crime rates as levels of violence within prisons will increase due to overcrowding, there will be less opportunities for rehabilitation and many offenders will be released with little assistance, support or guidance. Prisons are often the schools of crime and can have negative effects on non-violent, drug, property, addicted and mentally ill offenders. If the government is truly interested in reducing crime, they need to spend money on social programming which addresses the root causes and contributing factors to crime and on more prevention programs for at-risk youths, and reducing poverty, addictions and mental illnesses.