Tories ignore taxpayer-funded crime research
By BRUCE CHEADLE, The Canadian Press
"The most recent issue of “Criminological Highlights” published last month by the University of Toronto’s Centre of Criminology, with federal assistance, blows gaping holes in several of Justice Minister Rob Nicholson’s most cherished anti-crime measures."
In the cross-hairs is mandatory minimum sentencing, loved dearly by all the Harperites who think they are the old testament god raining pain and punishment on the sinners and miscreants...unless it's one of their own, of course.
Rahim Jaffer, former MP for Edmonton Centre and married to present sitting MP Helena Guergis, was apprehended last year for speeding and driving dangerously, driving while intoxicated and possession of cocaine. Under Stevie's Tough-on-Crime laws, he would have been inside for about fifteen years. Instead, he got a dangerous driving rap, a $500 fine, and a walk - no criminal record.
"Mandatory penalties, says the research digest, “undermine the legitimacy of the prosecution process by fostering circumventions that are wilful and subterranean. They undermine . . . equality before the law when they cause comparably culpable offenders to be treated radically differently.”
In simpler language, people who can afford good lawyers cop backroom plea bargains to avoid harsh mandatory sentences, while the average Joe is hit hard."
The studies have shown that MM sentences do not deter crime, but the Tories just don't believe it. After all, what you "believe" is more important.
"What is certain is that mandatory minimum penalties increase prison populations at huge cost to taxpayers, which is why many U.S. states, New Zealand and Britain all are attempting to unwind such sentencing rules after many years of costly experience."
So, while the economy is tanking and people need help, the Tories want to expand prison building all over the country. One in Kingston, Ontario, had a farm attached to it that produced milk, eggs and other foodstuffs for the population, processed meat for the local livestock operations, and gave inmates experience in working in a business - orders, billing, shipping etc. Now the Harperites want to close the farm so that they can - ta, DAH! - build more prison space to house the expanding prison population.
Is this the new job creation program - lock up more people and then hire a bunch of out of work people to guard them? Is this sustainable? I don't think so.
So - why are they doing this? I think this guy might have the answer.
“The great appeal of mandatory minimum sentences is that they give politicians the appearance of doing something, of being seen to be doing something,” Craig Jones, the executive director of the John Howard Society of Canada, said in a recent interview.
“You must never underestimate the need for politicians to be seen to be doing something — even if, in some cases, it’s the wrong thing.”
But Harper gets his inspiration from the movies, not research.
“Your personal experiences and impressions are wrong, they say; crime is really not a problem. These apologists remind me of the scene from the Wizard of Oz when the wizard says, ‘Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”’
Harper's mephistophelean former chief of staff Ian Brodie said
"that informed criticism of the government’s justice agenda is a political gift: 'It helped us tremendously to be attacked by this coalition of university types.'"
I wonder if these guys would like someone with the least or no qualifications to operate on them, fix their car, wire their house or fly their plane. When it comes to government policy, they are basing their decisions on hot air and revenge. They aim not at the lowest common denominator but the lowest IQ that can sustain life.