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.