Monday, August 05, 2013

A Human Rights Issue

Nothing illustrates the essential malevolence of the Harper government more than its transformation of Canadian prisons. Even though crime is at its lowest level in forty years, Mr. Harper's army is dedicated to getting its pound of flesh from the people who live on the margins. Phil Gibson writes:

The atmosphere in Canadian prisons is becoming explosive, as the proportion of visible minorities, mixed with gangs, racists and violent offenders in the general population, sets new records.

“Aboriginal people and women are entering federal penitentiaries in greater numbers than ever before. Twenty-one per cent of the inmate population is of Aboriginal descent and nine per cent of inmates are Black Canadians. Incarceration rates for these two groups far exceed their representation rates in Canadian society at large,” reads the latest annual report of Correctional Investigator Howard Sapers.

“In the last five years, the number of federally incarcerated women has increased by almost 40 per cent while the number of Aboriginal women has increased by over 80 per cent in the last decade. In fact, if not for these sub-groups, the offender population growth rate would have flatlined some time ago,” Sapers reported in June, 2012.

The Harperites say they are building new facilities. However,

the trouble is, new accommodation is being built as cookie-cutter additions and renovations to existing prisons, according to old specifications. The ninety-six bed wings are being grafted onto deteriorating institutions with no provision for mental health care, aboriginal cultural needs or elder care.

What is lost in the hype, says Ivan Zinger -- executive director of Sapers staff -- is the realization "that [as] our criminal justice system increasingly captures disadvantaged segments of the Canadian population, the gradual hardening of conditions of confinement has become a human rights issue.”

And, when it comes to human rights, the Harper government doesn't even acknowledge that they exist.


Lorne said...

Once more, Owen, you show how the ideology of the Harper-led Conservatives allows for only a blinkered and skewed view of all issues. And of course now that Harper has made manadatory minimum sentences for growing as few as six pot plants, he can justifiy the need for exapnding prison facilities. While the rest of the world fless from the kind of incarceration rate that the U.S. has, Dear Leader seems to be vying to tie it.

Owen Gray said...

Back when Jim Flaherty was suggesting that the solution to homelessness was to sweep those without shelter off the streets and "house" them in prison, I suggested that Flaherty spend some time in a cell to get the proper perspective.

Harper should do them same, Lorne. But, of course, those who walk in God's grace need no such perspective.

gingersnap said...

Canada has become, rotten to the core with corruption. Especially since, Harper's so called majority.

Canada is a Dictatorship and Flaherty is one of Harper's henchmen. Harper is of, his Northern Foundation of 1989. As far as Harper's prisons, he knows he will need them later on. Harper is extremely paranoid, as most Dictators are. He is very afraid there will be a rebellion, against him as to, what happening in so many Eastern countries.

Canadian do not want American Police operating in Canada, exempt from Canadian laws. Canadians do not want Communist China, setting up shop, on our Canadian soil either.

Harper is loathed and, he knows it. Even other countries despise Harper.

Owen Gray said...

Harper is quite aware that he has enemies, gingersnap. And he is working as fast as he can to neutralize them.