Friday, May 18, 2012

The Triumph Of The Sociopaths

Jeffrey Simpson writes that the Harper government should rename the Correctional Service of Canada. He suggests that it now be called Punishment Canada:

Just when you think this government’s criminal justice policies, which have been almost universally denounced by experts in the field, can’t get worse, they do.

So it was recently when Public Safety Minister Vic Toews rolled out more mean-spirited, politically motivated and predictably counterproductive policies to make life harder for those in prison.

The result, about which he apparently could not care less, will be more tension and resentment in prison, a tougher job for the Correctional Service and for the men and women in uniform inside prisons whom the Conservatives are supposed to admire so much.

A significant portion of the meagre salaries prisoners earn for doing printing, the laundry and construction will now be clawed back as payment for room and board. This will save the government $10 million.

The new policy will lead to more crime, not less:

You don’t have to be a bleeding-heart liberal, or as the Conservatives like to say, someone who enjoys hugging thugs, to be concerned about where this kind of approach leads. When the emphasis moves away from corrections toward more and harsher punishment of both the physical and psychological variety, recidivism rates will increase and real correction will become more difficult. That will likely mean more crime over the long haul in a country that, apart from the United States (which is in a league by itself), has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world.

Everything the Harper government does is about revenge -- revenge on their political opponents, revenge on environmentalists, revenge on the prison population. These Conservatives are sociopaths.


kirbycairo said...

I think a society can be judged on the way it treats its most vulnerable and those for whom it has taken responsibility. This latter category includes those accused and convicted of a crime.

It is wildly ironic that when Harper was in opposition he expended a great deal of energy condemning China, and now he emulating a great deal of Chinese policy on issues like like crime, internet surveillance, etc. Funny enough he is also selling Canada to wealthy Chinese business people.

Owen Gray said...

Bob Rae has it right. The Harper government is dedicated to "organized hypocrisy," Kirby.

And it is absolutely shameless.

Beijing York said...

Not to mention that he needs those crime rates to rise in order to create a market for those new "privatized" prisons. First it was the Prison Farms, followed by a program to help ex-cons reintegrate into society and now this:-(

Owen Gray said...

It's all part of Harper's world view, Bejiing. Unless someone or something turns a profit, it's worthless.

In the final analysis, he's a small, shriveled human being.

Anonymous said...

Harper's government is preoccupied with punishment as a fix for a lot of problems, even unemployment.
I heard today it may intend that anyone using Employment Insurance more than once will be required to accept jobs which pay less than the job he or she originally may have lost. There's an appeal here to the misanthropes among us who believe anyone on Employment Insurance is a leech living freely off the sweat of others. This lazy group, which would include seasonal workers, needs a stern lesson, the Conservatives seem to be threatening, and they're just the ones to deliver it.
The political appeal is to the baser side of our nature. It's pretty tough to build a healthy country on that kind of foundation.

e.a.f. said...

Clawing back the money to pay room & board, they have got to be kidding. Are these clowns for real. Prisoners didn't ask to go to prison so why the hell should they pay for being there. So how are the inmates going to purchase the items they do at the little tuck shop they have in prisons? How will they purchase a card to send to a friend or family member?

These guys are crazier than shit house rats. Clawing back the money is plain stupid, just as it is plain stupid to close coast guard stations on the wet/west coast.

For the little the prisoners are paid, they may decide to not work which will cost the neo cons a lot more if they have to contract out the work. Of course they would most likey give the contracts to their friends who would charge the government a bundle & pay the workers wages which are so low that would be criminal.

Owen Gray said...

It's always interesting to see how those who haven't been there like to preach to those who have.

The truth is that part of doing well has to do with pure dumb luck -- being born in the right place at the right time.

None of the Harper cabinet has had to rely primarily on seasonal work. And none of them have been forced by government to take a job.

Yet these folks have the answer for everyone.

Owen Gray said...

The Harperites plan to increase the prison population but they will not build new prisons. In fact, they've shut down prison farms and they intend to shut down the Kingston Pen.

It might be a good idea to have Vic Toews spend the next six months as a prison guard.

It might change his perspective -- if he survived.

Anonymous said...

He's not done with them yet; forget rehabilitation, health care, addictions treatment - they are quietly disappearing from the federal correctional landscape. Closing prisons might make national news, but what about cuts to administrative, research, oversight functions? They are all happening now, along with a demoralized staff.

Owen Gray said...

No, he's not done yet. And the result will be a prison system that is even more of a jungle.

This is an angry government which is out to wreck havoc -- and vengeance.