Unsurprisingly, the people who will be affected by this the most are poor people trying to get an education. Kill the grant program that helps many low-income students attend college without taking on tens of thousands in debt. Kill the small schools which serve thousands of low-income students. Then blame these same people for not pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, getting college educations, and being able to compete in a job market where increasingly, jobs that are available to people without a college education are sent overseas or are given to undocumented persons who can be exploited to work at much lower wages. Way to create a permanent underclass!
The “hanging’s too good for them” brigade should read an eye-opening piece from last Friday’s Washington Post, co-written by Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, and Pat Nolan, former Republican leader of the California State Assembly. They pointed out that the U.S. currently spends US$68-billion on corrections — 300% more than 25 years ago — and the prison population is growing at 13 times faster than the general population.
“Our prisons might be worth the current cost if the recidivism rate were not so high but, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, half of the prisoners released this year are expected to be back in prison within three years. If your prison policies are failing half the time, and we know there are more humane, effective alternatives, it is time to fundamentally rethink how we treat and rehabilitate our prisoners,” they concluded.
Even Mr. Toews wouldn’t accuse Texas of being soft on crime, yet the Lone Star State has instituted reforms that have strengthened its probation system, reduced its prison population and freed up money to be redirected into community treatment for the mentally ill and low-level drug addicts. Since the reforms were launched in 2004, the crime rate has dropped 10% to its lowest level since 1973.
The Conservative tough on crime drive may be good politics but it’s tough on taxpayers and bad policy.
At a time when every department in government is experiencing budget cuts, Canada should not be embarking on an expensive prison-building program. Rather it should be following U.S. states like South Carolina, which is reserving costly prison spaces for violent criminals and dealing with lower level offenders in more imaginative ways.