Pubdate: Sun, 11 Oct 2009
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 The Toronto Star
Author: Emile Therien


Re: Tory Blasts Senators For `Gutting' Crime Bill, Oct. 8

The Harper government's proposed crime legislation, including
mandatory sentences for some drug offences, is ideologically and
politically driven, not evidenced-based, and smacks of everything that
is wrong with our criminal justice system. A classic case of crime as
politics. This legislation, if it ever sees the light of day, will
prey on the socially, culturally and economically disadvantaged,
especially aboriginals and the mentally ill.

For the record, excluding the provincial system, there are
approximately 13,000 federal offenders in custody and about 8,000 in
the community on some form of conditional release.

Correctional Services of Canada manages more than 50 facilities,
employs more than 16,000 people, and has an annual budget exceeding $2
billion. And this government wants to blindly and wilfully add to this
disinvestment in society and to these dismal statistics.

Tougher sentences, however defined, and more and bigger jails simply
do not prevent crime. A case in point: California's prisons are so
overcrowded that it has had to turn thousands of criminals loose. It
now spends about 2  1/2 times as much per prison inmate as it does per
student in its renowned University of California system. Do we want to
emulate this in Canada?

Emile Therien

- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr