Ontario Conservative Leader Tim Hudak says he wants to make labour mandatory for provincial criminals, but tough-as-saddle-leather Arizona Sheriff Joseph “Joe” Arpaio doubts Canadians will stomach a return of the ball and chain.
Though he doesn’t quite know what’s weighing us down.
“I don’t understand why you don’t — it’s legal,” he says on the line from the Maricopa Country sheriff’s office.
Hudak suggests spending $20 million to have inmates rake leaves and cut grass outside prison walls, but he says he has no plans to have the prisoners manacled.
Though on message boards and on talk radio, some Canadians have asked, “Why not chain gangs?”
Sheriff Joe figures his is the only old-time lock, chain and armed-guard-riding-shotgun outfit left in North America.
There are programs across Canada, including in Alberta, where some prisoners are allowed on community work projects outside of prison.
But the U.S. has a well-established workforce of cons, including in Maryland, where a corrections program in Hagerstown has them tending to 450 million oysters in the bay.
In Leon County, in Tallahassee, Florida, officials say their prisoners in striped uniform pave roads and do other labour around town from 7 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
In Oregon, they work on military property, and in North Carolina they grow tomatoes and cabbage on farm fields.
They do it all without chains and locks on their ankles.
But every day — especially Thursdays, when they work in a local graveyard — Sheriff Joe sends out teams of 15 convicts, all shackled together.
In 1996, he began to add female prisoners.
“I’ve even used juveniles, which I was surprised didn’t cause as much (controversy),” he points out.
Volunteers for the all-juvenile chain gangs can earn high school credits.
And next week, he’s starting a new program.
He’s going to write the offence of convicts on their backs, so the community can see what they’re guilty of.
“It’s a great idea — why don’t you do that in Canada?” he suggests.
Chain gangs save the taxpayers money and there’s nothing like working out under the blistering 43 C sun to make you rethink your criminal ways, says Sheriff Joe.
“I don’t have the money to hire Hollywood actors to play as extras to get my message out, so I use them,” he says of the cons.
He’s been the head lawman in the area since 1992, but has also been a lightning rod of controversy — and investigations into his tough ways.
But he has no doubt chain gangs are a deterrent.
His theory is that they’ve done their crime, “So why not just put them to work.”
Technically, all are volunteers, though he says few would rather spend their time locked in a cell with four or five other criminals.
If Ontario does organize prisoner work details, the lawman asks that the legal wording be accurate.
“Don’t call them a chain gang unless they’re locked together,” he says.
Though that’s what he would recommend we do.
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
If Canada was run by "Real Men" who were "Real Fathers" and really cared for
Canadian Children, we would not have a Male Sharia Law that puts innocent men in
"Debtor's Prisons", generally without a trial, or any due process. Canadian
jails are increasingly filled with men, who are not criminals but innocent
fathers who could not pay orders for support when they lost their jobs or when
the orders were based on an income that did not exist.
If we had "Real Men" in power, there would be a legal presumption of Equal Parenting, and a real authority for the Judiciary who habitually and flagrantly abuse their absolute power for extreme feminist goals.
Republican Zealots should look at Iran, how Female Sharia Law deprives women in Iran of legal rights, and how Canadian Law is effectively Male Sharia Law.
Republican Zealots should think about how populate public executions are in Iran and perhaps they should seek the same brainless idea here.
Chain Gangs are a form of public humiliation, torture, just imagine you need to go for dump and 15 other members of your gang don't need to. Just how can 16 men in a chain gang actually do work while chained together.
The idea is typical brainless conservative, "great politics" but "terrible policy".
Conservatives should use their brains and think of ways of solving social issues before they result in creating criminals and the best way around is a "Legal Presumption of Equal Parenting" to end the cycle of dysfunctional fatherless homes that results in more than 50% of Canadian children growing up without a father.