Pubdate: Fri, 1 Jan 2010
Source: Penticton Western (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Penticton Western
Author: Geoff Burton


Recently, an editorial predicted that Prime Minister Harper's
mandatory minimum sentencing would "Unfairly tilt the scales of
justice", concluding that Bill C-15 would overcrowd the prisons. Such
is the case in the US of A where justice has been tilted for years.
Whenever California votes to decriminalize marijuana, the Prison
Worker's Union rises up like hellhounds in heat, because they enjoy
the status quo. Huge public cost equals somebody's huge wage.

There are good laws to balance property damage. And while there may be
fraudulent dope dealing, clearly, mandatory minimums will mean more
money for faceless government entities and more suffering for families
who have harmed no one. This bill is not for the rule of law, but against it.

It will probably get worse, too. America's industrial-prison complex,
unfortunately, is headed north. Lobbyists and social engineers are at
work on it even now. Expect a media blitz that depicts massive
overcrowding, where drug-crazed inmate violence and disorder abound.
Meanwhile, we'll hear vehement protest because dangerous criminals
live a life of Riley, watching TV and lazing around till their next
free meal. Studies will be commissioned, and people will write letters
to the editor about unbearable cost.

A very grave Harper can then argue that the burden on the taxpayer
could be relieved most effectively through the privatization of the
whole prison system, that by floating the crisis on the stock market,
every time we bust a pothead, market profitability will lift all
boats. Shareholders will agree. We'll be short of nothing but more and
more bills and acts and statues to which mandatory sentencing can be
applied, cruelly and greedily, all in the name of justice.

Lord knows we have seen it before. Define the problem, orchestrate the
reaction, and the solution will be as obvious as a big, black prison
built behind Munson Mountain, say, where local employment
possibilities could make up for the loss of Excel, Peerless-Page and
Canwood combined. Just think of the stock options. Prisoners, at a
dollar a day, could be manufacturing runners cheaper than China. It
sounds so reasonable.

The only thing standing in its way is common decency. So

Geoff Burton

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