Pubdate: Fri, 29 Mar 2002
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Reg Doan


Re: Your series on crime and punishment.

Compliments to journalist Dan Gardner for crafting such a thoroughly 
interesting series. It should become mandatory reading for any politician 
voting on crime policies.

Most taxpayers may have been only vaguely aware that our Ontario 
Conservative government has started to close 31 jails and replace them by 
spending millions of dollars building American-style super jails that will 
then be contracted out to private operators.

Such plans are doomed to failure, as anyone reading the series will 
understand. There is no convincing evidence that tougher policies lead to a 
reduction in crime. In fact, the series offers evidence to the contrary.

It is also disconcerting to learn that some of the statistics the Ontario 
government has been using to support its claims now appear to be fictitious.

I owe a personal thanks to Mr. Gardner. Reading his series has confirmed 
some conclusions I had formed by the time I retired from 28 years as a 
correctional officer and jail superintendent. That is: Instead of harsher 
treatment and longer sentences, there are far more effective and economical 
ways to rehabilitate criminals. All of those ways have been incorporated 
into Finland's very successful justice system, as outlined in the third 
part of the series on March 18.

Reg Doan,

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