Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
You can’t lump young offenders, murderers, potheads, moms and aboriginals together, says a second year criminology student.
That’s why Karine Arsenault says the federal government’s new tough-on-crime agenda should be cut into sections, because passing it in bulk makes no sense.
The nine-part-bill, which creates longer minimum sentences and cracks down on drug possession, young offenders and pardons, will end up causing more harm in the long run.
There are new dynamics for mental illness, addiction has recently been classified as a mental illness, said Arsenault.
“Yet this new bill is cracking down on drug use. It makes no sense.”
The crime rate is going down. Studies show a need to step out of traditional incarceration, said Arsenault.
“We know behavior modification techniques are more effective, these studies have been done, and this bill goes against all that.”
They already don’t have enough people for jobs, like parole and probation officers, delivery programs and people working jails. It used to be a four-year university program to fill one of these positions, but they are hurting so badly for people to work in the field it has been changed to a two-year course that goes through the summer, she said.
“If you start packing the institutions, the ratio just went up considerably.”
Correction means correcting. Tough on this and that means fear tactic, she said.
“It’s only a small percentage that get caught once, it’s the same people who keep going back to prison and they are already desensitized and this bill is not going to better them.”
When a criminal gets out of an institution they are immediately eligible for welfare, it’s a pass go and collect $200 dynamic, sending someone to jail makes them lose their job, she said.
“House arrest forces someone to deal with living in a community and allows them to keep their job. Instead of giving them a tough guy status in jail, they sit home and feel like a loser.”
What you want to do is make it so people don’t go to jail in the first place, said Arsenault.
“You’re not going to join a gang at home or at work.”
Our problems in Canada are not murders, it’s the revolving door crowd, and this bill will not affect them, said Arsenault.
“It’s not even a step back, it’s a step off. But it’s going to pass, they don’t have the seats to oppose Harper and his conservatives.”
John Picketts, the director of community and correctional services, said this is the second wave of legislation. The first bill – C-2 – passed in 2008 and increased the penalty for impaired driving and restricted house arrest.
“That was the first round and made a significant impact on P.E.I. we saw our adult bed days go up by 8,250, which was an increase of 30 per cent.”
What’s before parliament now is over 70 pages of legislation focusing on variety of things like more restrictions on having pardons removed and amendments to the youth criminal justice act, said Picketts.
“They’ll significantly increase the number of youth in custody.”
They don’t know if there will be any amendments to the bill, all they can do is make projections based on what’s before the house, said Picketts.
“We are trying to analyze the bill and make projections on the impact. We are looking at all the offences that went before courts in the past 12 months and see how it would change if the bill passes.”
Clearly the more people they have jailed, the higher the costs for things such as clothing, food and staff, said Picketts.
“It’s a 24-hour operation, 365 days a year.”
Anyone interested in viewing the bill – C-10 – can go to the Parliament of Canada site, http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublication.
Filed under: Uncategorized