Pubdate: Sat, 10 Dec 2005
Source: Lethbridge Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2005 The Lethbridge Herald
Author: Richard Gaff



The Conservative Party has put forth as one of their platforms, all
drug traffickers to serve a mandatory sentence of two years.

How do the Conservatives intend to pay the costs of this proposal?
Statscan statistics for the year 2003, state, 6,944 persons were
charged with trafficking of drugs, 527 of these were given conditional
discharge or paid restitution; 2,520 were sentenced to prison (it
doesn't say for how long). This leaves 3,897 that would be required to
serve a sentence of two years. The country doesn't have the jail space.

Let's play with a few numbers to come up with what this could cost all
of us. Four new prisons to house 3,897 persons, at about $50 million
apiece equals $200 million (very low figure). The cost per year per
prisoner is about $75,000; this comes to $292 million per year. These
figures are not true costs as I was unable to come up with the actual
figures from Statscan. Does anyone see this is a very high cost
platform? This works out to about $24 dollars for every man, woman and
child for the first two years.

The United States' example of throwing all drug cases in jail has been
a failure. Do we wish to follow their example? I know I don't. Yes, by
all means throw the growers, if they can be caught, and the meth lab
producers in jail for the minimum of two years, but, should all
pushers get two years? Second offenders should get jail time.

So, Rick, what fund would you rob to pay the high price to implement
this platform? Perhaps you could answer this in this newspaper.

Richard Gaff

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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake