Pubdate: Tue, 24 May 2011 Source: Chilliwack Times (CN BC) Copyright: 2011 Chilliwack Times Contact: http://www.chilliwacktimes.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1357 Author: Kelly Carter CRIME BILL COSTS GO DEEPER THAN DOLLARS & SENSE Editor: Letter to the Editor in response to John Martin "Things just got a lot better," Chilliwack Times, May 17. As a resident of the "Prison Capital of Canada" I would like to address Mr. Martins's celebratory tone in regards to the promised crime bill omnibus. I would like to suggest that instead of "things just got a lot better," things are about to get a whole lot worse, Mr. Martin. Although the Bill has not been introduced yet we are fairly certain that much of the language the Conservatives have been trying and failing to pass (for very good reasons, by the way, Mr. Martin) will be included in the omnibus. The language I refer to is mandatory minimums. A proven policy failure in the United States, mandatory minimums are now being abandoned there. Why would Canada even consider such a fiscal and human tragedy? Building new prisons and filling them with people is good business for some. The contracts here in Kingston are already being awarded to large corporations outside of the area. I think it would be very interesting to know who is investing in the future of the Canadian prison industrial complex in Canada. We know the taxpayers will be paying in the long haul. Corrections Canada is estimating prison population to increase by 300 per cent in just three years. Does Mr. Martin really think this will make for safer communities? Quite the opposite will be the outcome I'm afraid. The prisons that will be built in order to house the newly "created" criminals of Canada will be a financial burden for generations to come. The costs to the taxpayers will be astronomical. Once the crime bill omnibus is passed, ground will be broken, the prisons will be built and there will be no choice but to fill them. Is this the future landscape you want for your children? Probably the most contested bill, the Organized Crime Bill will set mandatory minimum sentences of six months in prison for growing six cannabis plants. This is ludicrous. It will destroy families, give young people criminal records for the rest of their lives and potentially create ongoing criminal behaviour. The further irony of this bill is that it will in fact work to the benefit of organized crime gangs by potentially decreasing competition in the cannabis cultivation industry. Gangsters love prohibition, as their profit margins increase. The 2.5 million admitted cannabis smokers are not going to stop consuming, but their neighbourhood-friendly growers will be gone sooner than they think. Conservatives like what makes sense monetarily. Mandatory minimums are a disaster financially and for society as a whole. The Crime Bill costs will never be revealed because they will go much deeper than dollars and sense. Kelly Carter Kingston - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.