Pubdate: Wed, 09 May 2001
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2001, The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Elizabeth Woods


Victoria -- In addition to arousing moral repugnance, the privatizing
of prison operations means that taxes will now be supporting a company
with a vested interest in more criminals and worse crime (American
Company To Manage Superjail -- May 7). To grow its business in
approved capitalist fashion, Management & Training Corp. must have an
ever-increasing supply of convicts. It would be to the company's (but
not the public's) advantage to encourage an expansion of the war on
drugs, bigger police budgets, and laws which provide more and longer
prison sentences, all to enhance shareholder value.

We have only to look to the United States to see the relentless growth
of the prison industry under privatization, along with a steady loss
of confidence in public safety. A better way to reduce prison costs
would be to end the war on drugs and release many of those presently
incarcerated (subjecting them to restorative justice procedures
instead). With the millions of dollars thus saved, step up funding for
the prevention and treatment of fetal alcohol syndrome and the care of
the mentally ill, increase support for community economic development,
and ensure everyone has access to high-quality education at all levels.

Elizabeth Woods
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