I have decided to rebrand the Conservatives’ “tough on crime” platform “wrong on crime,” or, maybe even better, “dumb on crime.”
This week, it is the Alberta brand of wrong-headed right-wing thinking that piques my ire.
The government announced it was cutting the program that allows non-violent convicts to serve short (up to 90 days)prison sentences on an intermittent basis.
To say this is short-sighted is an understatement. It is an assault on the entire philosophy of Canadian justice.
Intermittent sentences evolved because we recognize the root cause of crime is usually desperation. Sometimes, though, for reasons of renunciation and deterence, some incarceration is necessary even for minor offences.
If the person has a job and has to serve his whole sentence at a stretch, he is likely to lose that job. In fact, while he is inside, he may lose everything.
When a person loses everything, what do they become? Desperate. And the cycle of crime will be unbroken, by and by, Lord, by and by.
The worst of it is, they’re doing it to save a lousy $942,000 without considering for a minute how much it might cost society in the long-term.
And, of course, Jonathan Denis, Alberta’s justice minister, dismissed criticism showing his true wrong- on-crime colours by saying: “My message is if you don’t like the changes to this particular area don’t break the law and it won’t affect you.”
Of course, that is precisely the kind of ignorant, compassionless and short-sighted comment one would expect from someone who is “proud to be a conservative.”
They don’t need evidence and they don’t feel the need to be consistent either, apparently. The very same budget seeks to save $1.8 million by doing away with electronic monitoring of high-risk offenders.
What? Excuse me? Hello? Is there anybody home?
The hypocrisy and illogic is truly dizzying.
On the one hand, we have offenders who pose little or no risk to society, but to hell with them and the potential consequences.
On the other hand, we have offenders who pose an immediate and real risk to society, but we’re not going to worry about that either in order to save a few bucks. And I do mean a very few.
The cost savings on these two measures is approximately 0.007 per cent of the Alberta government’s budget. That’s just seven tenths of one per cent.
It doesn’t make sense unless you’re governing by ideology alone.
Yep, I think I’m going to have to go with “dumb on crime.”