Harper the Draconian

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December 20thl 21010


Before building a string of  ‘Harper Hotels’ to feed the incarceration industry, ‘offending’ what I think of as the innate inclination of Canadians towards benevolence, how about re-evaluating pay for unskilled work with the objective of providing dignity and a reasonable standard of living to those doing it, so that we don’t end up, instead, generating larger police forces, building more jails, and paying through the nose to deal with the crime that we know flows from poverty. God knows we’ve been grossly overpaying everyone from executives to athletes for decades.

Still on the subject of jails, is it just on TV and in novels that prisoners exist in a jungle society rife with rape and violence? If that’s what really occurs in jails, then where are the lawyers to sue government for failing in its duty of custody? As far as I know we punish ‘criminals’ by relieving them of their freedom. I’m not aware of any judge sentencing anyone to a term of rape, physical abuse, threat and terror.

If that is the reality of jail life, what’s the message to those we imprison?  That all of the above, when they are the victims, are sanctioned by the society that has jailed them. If so, how can we possibly expect those who come out of prison to have any inclination to reorient to a society that subjected them to that? How can we think that these folks, once ‘freed,’ will not find their identities in outlaw societies outside of jail?

I know there are people, in jail and out, who have moved well beyond being ‘victims,’ and are full-fledged predators. While we might despair of benignly countering their commitment to violence, we might want to consider making a more intelligent effort to counter the swelling of their numbers with newcomers.

Failure  is what jails represent, and not just of the folks in them, but of the society as a whole and of reason itself.   Stephen Harper and his government is all for promulgating more of it, indifferent to the huge cost, socially, economically and in terms of human suffering.

We need to stop making the stimulants people gravitate to illegal. It just makes providing them so profitable that people slaughter one another for the opportunity to do so.

If government wants to bolster the construction industry, let’s build to house the poor, the mentally ill and the substance-addicted with a view to easing their isolation and pain and their practical need to break the law. Think of the money it can save, if not the despair it can ameliorate.

Any province, region or municipality taking it on risks generating an inmigration of needy folks from elsewhere in the country and being overwhelmed by the cost. This is something Ottawa needs to fund, and evenhandedly, across the land.

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