From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor's rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own. Carl Schurz

Monday, February 7, 2011

More Tough On Crime Theatre

The Harper government has made a deal with the Bloc to scrap the law that allows non-violent offenders to serve only one-sixth of their prison sentence.

I am tempted to join the chorus accusing Harper of forming a coalition with the Bloc on this so called law-and-order legislation,as tempting as that is,given Harper's rhetoric vis a vis coalitions,  I won't because the Bloc MP's were legitimately elected to parliament and have as much right to pander as any other party or MP.

Pandering is exactly what the Bloc is doing here. They are using the outrage in Quebec at the early release of Vincent Lacroix,who was paroled after serving just two years of a 13-year sentence in relation to a 115 million dollar fraud scheme in order to look tough on crime.

Should Lacroix have received such an early release,absolutely not. Sadly this in indicative of how easy the system goes on white collar criminals especially rich ones and even more especially in relation to blue collar and economically disadvantaged ones. However changing the rules for everyone will hurt the latter much more than the former who tend to get lighter sentences to begin with.

The solution here is to issue guidelines to the Parole Board on who should be eligible for parole after one-sixth of their sentence has been served,excluding those such as Lacroix convicted of serious nonviolent crimes. By eliminating this provision altogether they will be disproportionately harming the poor and those convicted of minor drug and theft crimes keeping them in jail longer than necessary while not making our streets one iota safer.

But hey after all we gotta fill up all those spiffy new prisons Harper plans on building, which won't be difficult if the so called opposition parties keep taking turns supporting Harper's piece of political theatre called tough on crime.

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