Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Most Stupid People

Lately, Tasha Kheiridden has been aiming her barbs at the government she once supported. Her most recent target is Corrections Canada, which has decided that more double bunking is appropriate for Canada's inmates. There are at least two reasons why the policy is not a  good idea. The first is that double bunking is more expensive than housing one inmate in each cell:

Putting two inmates in a cell originally designed for one is a recipe for spreading disease, straining facilities, increasing stress, and making prisons more dangerous places. Over time, this money-saving measure may end up costing taxpayers more.

On the health issue, prisons should take their cues from hospital designers, who increasingly are abandoning double-occupancy rooms in favour of single ones. Why? Because in the long run it costs less, due in large part to the reduction in the spread of communicable diseases between patients.

Secondly, double bunking puts inmates in a pressure cooker, increasing the likelihood of prison violence:

Roommates without criminal records have a hard enough time getting along; why should one expect that two offenders will coexist peacefully in a 10-by-7 foot cell? According to the British National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, “an estimated 90 per cent of all prisoners have a mental health problem, including personality disorders, and /or a substance misuse problem.”

Recently, Canadian federal correctional investigator Howard Sapers attributed a rise in violence in western prisons to overcrowding. Sapers told the Calgary Herald that “crowding has that effect: it creates tension and it increases opportunities for interpersonal violence because people are in closer proximity.”

Conservative prison policy is based on the fervent conviction that what inmates need is more punishment. Such policy underscores the fact that, while the Harperites live and breathe ideology; they have very few good ideas.

 What John Stuart Mill wrote in the 19th century remains true in the 21st century: "Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative."


kirbycairo said...

Mr. Mill was, I believe, being far too kind.

Owen Gray said...

Perhaps that's because the definition of a "conservative" has changed. Kirby.

That said, after last night's marathon session in the House, where the Conservatives voted down all attempts to amend the budget -- particularly the parts of the bill which dealt with the gutting of environmental safeguards -- it remains true that these conservatives are breathtakingly stupid.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that CPC *want* to make prisons more violent and horrible. They may bemoan the cost and, to a much lesser extent, the impact on guards, but the whole "retributive justice" angle which guides them says that people deserve to get hurt and sick in prison.

My more cynical side says this is a prelude to privatization of penal institutions. "hey, look, we had to double bunk 'em. GEO says that they won't have to!"

Lorne said...

...while the Harperites live and breathe ideology; they have very few good ideas.

At the risk of indulging in an overgeneralization, Owen, I would say that your observation is equally applicable to all of the extreme right-wing, of which the Harperites are but most egregious domestic example.

Owen Gray said...

Given that they have followed the American model in so many other instances, I wouldn't be surprised if they moved to privatize prisons, Peter.

It fits the ideology -- and it's yet another example of government refusing to take any social responsibility. Remember what Maggie Thatcher said? "There's no such thing as society."

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Lorne. Mayor Ford springs immediately to mind.

e.a.f. said...

Double bunking works very well for the cons. With enough double bunking & the problems it creates sooner or later there is going to be a very large riot in one of these prisons. There will be an investigation & the result will be a demand for more prisons.

The government will wring its hands about lack of money & then engage the private prison corporations of the U.S.A. to come into Canada. These companies have been in Ottawa for some yrs now, lobbying. when stevie slime announced the closing of prisons & longer jail terms I just knew he was setting it up so private prison corporations could come into Canada.

When Alabama introduced legislation which provided for the jailing of "illegal immigrants" the number of people in jail, in Alabama soared to such an extent it violated prisoners rights. The solution, send a lot of the "regular" prisoners to Tennesse & their private prisons. Private prison corporations are a very lucrative business & is listed on the NYSE.

It was reported that one private prison corporation, in negotiation with an american state, was insisting on a 90% occupancy rate. The private prison corporations love guys like stevie slime & stevie loves them.

Private prisons pay their staff less, have a higher rate of returning prisoners, aren't unionized, it all works for stevie & his slimers

Owen Gray said...

It's pretty straightforward, e.a.f.
Mr. Harper will do almost anything to turn a profit.