The bill aimed to throw more people in jail for minor, non-violent crimes. Because then they’ll come out of jail happy, well-adjusted citizens who aren’t scary predators at all right? Right?!
We already know from the mass incarceration disaster in the United States that this is a terrible way to address crime. But Harper ignores decades of research that shows crime is reduced through fighting poverty, supplying proper services for the mentally ill, rehabilitating prisoners and keeping youth out of the adult justice system.
Instead he’s cut rehabilitation programs and even closed Canada’s prison farms (he didn’t want inmates learning dangerous skills like how to pitchfork hay and murder weeds). The Harper government also introduced mandatory minimum sentences to take those annoying judges and their pesky “judgment” out of the equation. These are widely believed to be ineffective and the American Bar Association called them “the antithesis of rational sentencing policy.”
The Correctional Investigator of Canada, Howard Sapers (a.k.a. Chief Ass Pain) said he found it “shocking” that half of federal inmates have been in solitary confinement at least once during their sentences, a practice that many consider torture. He also pointed out that visible minorities in prison have spiked in recent years and close to a quarter of all inmates are aboriginal even though they’re only 4% of Canada’s population. The government has tried to ignore Mr. Spears but they seem to be getting so tired of his inconvenient facts that now they’re replacing him.
Recently the Conservatives introduced a Life Means Life Act that can eliminate a prisoner’s chance of parole no matter how small of a risk they pose, which many think is a breach of human rights (also worth considering: if someone has no possibility of parole, won’t they be way more likely to kill prison guards?!) Harper seems to think that the most important part of a justice system is revenge, but when you commit a crime you don’t suddenly stop being a human. The judge says “You are found guilty” not “You are now The Devil!”
And one more thing. It costs about $117,000 a year to keep someone in jail in Canada. There’s apparently no bulk discount on “justice.”