Fund education, not prison-building

TheStar.com – Opinion/Letters – Re: Provinces must ante up for prisons, Toews says, Oct. 7
Published On Fri Oct 08 2010.   Randy Gostlin

How can the Conservatives justify increasing the prison population at a cost of $2 billion to $10 billion during a period of decline in crime? Their suggestion that it addresses unreported crime seems about as credible as Maxime Bernier’s claim that he received a thousand complaints a day regarding the long-form census. These supposed servants of the people seem prepared to say anything in support of their various schemes.

Would it not be more logical to spend $10 billion on education and social programs designed to draw marginalized Canadians into the mainstream of societal benefits before they turn to crime? Instead of punishing people, why not guide them into productive and socially beneficial lives? It wouldn’t put money in the pockets of the prison builders but it would almost certainly reduce crime — and it’s already going down.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews likes to suggest putting more people in jail longer will make the streets safer but if that’s true, why is there so much violent crime in the U.S.? They imprison more of their population than any other country on earth.

Does it make sense to spend billions caging people when the same money could be invested in making them productive members of society?

Randy Gostlin, Oshawa

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