U.S. approach to corrections doesn’t work

TheStar.com – Opinion/Letter – Re: Beefed-up corrections plan will backfire, critics warn, Aug. 8
Published On Tue Aug 10 2010.   Matthew Marosszeky

Almost $10 billion to beef up our jail system! Has the government ever read Juristat, a publication complied by Stats Canada?

Here we can see that the U.S. murder rate is three times higher than Canada’s and its robbery rate is 65 per cent higher. About the only thing we’re better at up here in the north country is stealing cars (mainly younger offenders).

Rather than waste $10 billion to keep the car thieves in jail longer, maybe it would be wiser to be proactive by ensuring more young people have opportunities to finish their high school education, supporting First Nations people to reach for a higher quality of life, ensuring more equitable distribution of wealth by raising minimum salaries and improving our health care system (more than 11 per cent of the prison population have mental health issues, not to mention those with addictions or developmental disabilities) to name but a few.

These proactive initiatives will have a far greater positive impact for our at-risk citizens than lumping them together for longer periods of time in bigger, fancier prisons.

With this move Prime Minister Stephen Harper yet again shows his true colours as he quietly takes Canada down that slippery slope to the right with his conservative, narrow outlook.

If we look at the United States, which has one of the highest crime rates in the world along with full-to-overflowing jails, incarceration for longer periods for every petty crime just isn’t working.

What’s next Mr. Harper: reinstating the death penalty?

Matthew Marosszeky, Aurora

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