Pubdate: Wed, 11 Jan 2006
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 Times Colonist
Author: Elizabeth Woods
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


If Stephen Harper is a fiscal conservative, why does he advocate the 
most expensive, least effective response to crime -- longer prison 
sentences? Longer sentences and less parole will swell prison 
populations, requiring more buildings, and more guards -- increasing 
the present cost of $50,000-plus a year per prisoner.

If we invested our taxes instead in alleviating child poverty by 
supporting the purchasing power of low-income parents; on affordable 
housing; on improving young people's ability to find useful work 
doing something that engages the best in them; on the prevention and 
treatment of fetal alcohol syndrome; on restorative justice and other 
measures, we would address the basic causes of most crime.

Above all, if we took the profit out of illicit drugs by legalizing 
and regulating them, we would eliminate the incentive for gang wars 
over territory. Coupled with the aforementioned investments in young 
people and their families, effective alternatives to crime could be 
provided -- but Harper would rather waste millions of tax dollars 
building more prisons than invest in constructive actions.

Elizabeth Woods,

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