Pubdate: Fri, 14 Oct 2011
Source: Nelson Star (CN BC)
Copyright: 2011 Black Press
Author: Keith Newberry


The Conservative omnibus Safe Streets and Communities Act makes no
sense if the aim is to reduce burgeoning crime, since the same
strategies were tried and seen to fail in the US, and the Canadian
crime rate is going down anyway. Furthermore, it is proven that
increased funding of education reduces street crime -- how many street
gang members have university degrees? Harsh sentences actually serve
to harden inmates into career criminals and break up families so
children don't get proper attention, thus increasing the crime rate
over time.

I would suggest that the Conservative enthusiasm for longer sentences,
mandatory prison terms, and prison sentences for more crimes has
nothing to do with reducing crime.

The US has an economically important incarceration industry that
corporate interests want duplicated in Canada. Patiently, step by
step, the Conservatives have been creating the conditions for this --
billions of dollars to build more prisons, and "tough on crime"
legislation to ensure a huge increase in the Canadian prison
population. In the US, private prison corporations have their own
trade fairs to attract businesses that use sweat shops abroad. Gone
are the days of sewing mail bags, now inmates have been hired at very
low cost to do dangerous jobs, like cleaning up the toxic BP oil
spill, highly technical tasks like assembling missiles, and all points
in between.

Private prisons are interested in making a profit. That means they cut
corners on everything else, including rehabilitation (bad for
business: they want returning convicts) medical care, and the pay of
their staff. In other words, this is state-corporate business at its
ugliest -- trafficking in human misery. Of course the taxpayer will be
paying the private prisons, the transfer of money from the taxpayer to
corporations being the goal of all serious Liberal and Conservative

Also, the Conservatives are an authoritarian sect which wants
Canadians running on fear, anger and patriotism. They spend our money
on propaganda to make us self-righteously angry at criminals, see them
as less than human and therefore deserving of any violations of their
dignity or well-being the prisons care to carry out. The term
"criminal" is increasingly broadened to include legitimate dissent to
frighten people away from exercising their constitutional rights.
Witness the police state tactics at the G20 meeting in Toronto which
were used on innocent protesters and even passers by.

As the government increasingly uses the international bankster-created
deficit to justify "austerity" measures imposed upon the rest of us,
they expect popular resistance at some stage. That's another
contingency the prisons are waiting for.

So, despite the hype and lip service, the Conservative omnibus crime
bill won't, and isn't meant to, reduce crime. That is either
irrelevant or counterproductive to the real goals. It's about upping
intimidation against poor people generally, and setting up a lucrative
prison-industrial complex at taxpayer expense. In meeting these hidden
agendas it unfortunately makes a lot of sense.

Keith Newberry

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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.