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

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dumb on crime to the bitter end

Parole has proven to be very effective as a method for re-integrating prisoners back into society as well as maintaining order within the prison system. Both giving us a measure of control over prisoners after release and providing them with a carrot while inside, a reason to behave.

As is their wont the Conservatives are incrementally eliminating parole as a tool. Having stacked the board with their cronies it has now become much harder to obtain.

Since coming to power the Conservative stacked board in 2009-10 only approved 66% of day parole applications down from 77% the year before assuming office. Similarly, full-time parole granted has also fallen incrementally in every one of the past five years, from 45% of requests in 2005-06 to 41% in 2009-10

Similarly, they have since eliminate early parole for non violent offenders, clogging our prisons with those who pose no threat to society. they have also made it possible for judges to impose stricter parole eligibility terms as we saw in the Travis Baumgartner case, who must serve 40 years before being eligible for parole.

Now comes the private members bill C- 479 ostensibly a  victims right bill. While there are some good proposals here as always with the Harper conservative there are are aspects that have nothing to do with victims rights but rather punishment.

One is the proposal to increase the amount of time an offender must wait for a new hearing after being denied parole from two years to five.

Neat trick first you deny parole on a more frequent basis then you more than double the time the offender must wait for a subsequent hearing in effect eliminating parole altogether for most offenders.

Under the Conservatives parole has become more difficult to obtain, easier to violate and the conditions of imprisonment more harsh and overcrowded.  In the end we don't end up with safer communities or prisons but ones that a far more dangerous.

Never discount the ability of Harper and his cohorts to put ideology over sound policy,the best interests of Canadians be damned.

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