Better way to fight crime – opinion/letters
January 27, 2011.   By Nancy Carswell, The Starphoenix

Our Conservative government has committed to more policing and more prison cells in its promise to get tough on crime.

This is great publicity but poor public policy. Promising to get tough on crime gives the illusion that Canadians will be safer. It ignores the fact that you can only get tough on crime after a crime has been committed and people have been hurt.

Tougher sentences and more jail cells most likely will prove counterproductive. Many prisoners will get tougher and smarter as they spend more time in prisons where criminality is accepted and professionals offer further lessons in crime.

Statistics Canada data show a downward trend in the crime rate, including crimes committed with guns, over the past two decades. So what have we done right over the past two decades? That’s what we need to discover and use as a guide.

Crime breeding environments exist where there is social injustice, particularly poverty. By getting tough on social injustice we can change environments where crime is accepted.

We can see small positive changes have been happening over the last 20 years. More social justice is a better route to less crime and a safer Canada than more policing and more prison cells.

Nancy Carswell, Shellbrook

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