Pubdate: Wed, 09 Feb 2011
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2011 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Dick Harrington


One of Harper's central campaign platforms in the next federal 
election will be his so-called "tough on crime" agenda.

Harper will point to his plan to spend billions of your tax dollars 
to build new prisons.

The hope is that by putting more people away for longer periods of 
times the crime rate will fall.

This unbelievably simplistic agenda is ridiculous to the extreme.

If a "tough on crime" agenda works, then why is it that every 
right-wing state in the U.S. has come to realize the folly of this approach?

As NDP MPs Don Davies and Pat Martin recently pointed out in 
parliament, American conservative politicians are now calling for 
rehabilitation and investments in community services.

Even former Republican U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich wrote a piece 
in the Washington Post suggesting U.S. prison policies are too 
expensive and don't lead to effective rehabilitation of criminals.

Many Americans are advocating initiatives such as drug-courts, mental 
illness treatments, and keeping the prisons only for dangerous 
offenders by putting low-risk offenders into community supervision.

It has been pointed out in various media sources that in Texas such 
initiatives have saved the state $2 billion in prison costs and 
reduced the crime rate to record low levels.

So, as you see Harper pushing this antiquated crime agenda, please 
remember that even in very conservative U.S. states, they have come 
to realize the folly of their past ways and are looking for 
initiatives that really work.

Don't you think that it is time that we did the same in Canada?

Dick Harrington

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