Pubdate: Wed, 08 Oct 2008
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Times Colonist
Author: Elizabeth Woods


Stephen Harper seems to regard young offenders with particular
loathing, judging by the penalties he wishes to inflict upon them.

Harper's claim that it is necessary to "drive home the seriousness of
very violent crimes" before rehabilitation can take place ignores the
fact that punishment, instead of helping to focus the miscreant's
attention on the pain they've caused others, encourages them to focus
on their own pain, and feel victimized.

Instead of vindictive, expensive penalties applied after the fact, we
need to focus, first, on prevention, through alleviating poverty,
helping parents to parent better and early support and treatment for
those who suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome or other mental
conditions; and second, on a restorative justice approach in which
offenders take responsibility for their actions and make restitution
to their victims and communities.

Harper is completely ineffective regarding crime. He perpetuates the
biggest source of criminal activity -- the war on drugs -- while
pretending to fight it by inflicting lengthy prison sentences.

Harper would waste our tax dollars on police, courts, and prisons,
rather than on prevention, education and treatment.

Elizabeth Woods

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