Letters | December 4, 2014
The Stony Mountain Institution outside of Winnipeg.
Falling Crime, Filling Prisons, editorial, Dec. 3.
Excluding the provincial system, there are currently over 15,000 federal offenders in custody, of which, approximately 650 are female. The Correctional Service of Canada manages more than 50 facilities, employs more than 20,000 people — up from 14,500 in 2005-06 — and has an annual budget of $3 billion — up from $1.6 billion in 2005-06. The cost of keeping a male inmate in prison rose from $88,067 per year in 2006, to $109,699 in 2009. The cost of keeping a female inmate in prison exceeds a whopping $180,000 a year.
It is widely recognized that rehabilitation is not a priority in the federal
system. Far too many offenders spend their time in prison without accessing the
programs they need. The result, according to a reliable source, is on-going
violence and despair on the inside and an increased risk of individuals
re-offending when released. Denunciation and imprisonment satisfy society’s
desire to punish offenders and reinforce shared values by deterring crime.
However, there is little evidence to support the general deterrence argument —
that is, that the more severe the punishment, the greater the deterrent effect.
Research simply does not support that proposition.
Emile Therien, board member, John Howard Society of Canada, Ottawa chapter, Ottawa.
It is great that homicide rates are dropping, and the criminologists and the sociologists have some interesting theories to explain the trend. But could it be that our medical services are also becoming more successful at saving lives? In combat situations, there have been vast improvements in survival rates, due to the use of helicopters to rapidly evacuate the wounded and improvements in equipment and procedures available in field hospitals.
In a civilian context, the speed at which an assault victim is evacuated has
been improved by the use of cell phones and 911 systems, as well as the rapid
response of EMS teams (I have had three personal experiences with Calgary EMS
this year). So maybe a greater percentage of the homicide attempts these days
are being thwarted by excellent emergency medical responses, driving down the
actual homicide numbers.
Gerry Ennis, Calgary.
Auditor, Ombud Fight Over Roles, Dec. 3.
Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin is a lawyer. Auditor-General Bonnie Lysyk is a chartered accountant. Obviously, they have different professional backgrounds, experience and expertise. Neither can competently fulfill the other’s role. Thus, they should be focused on righting wrongs in government by exercising mutual co-operation with mutual respect and by avoiding turf war in their separate, but complimentary, pursuits.
God knows Canadians suffer enough from the incompetence of many elected
politicians with sketchy resumes and questionable motives for seeking office.
Surely two, well-educated, well-compensated professionals can respect their
separate, if similar, obligations to taxpayers and do the right thing …
Warren Adamson, Mississauga, Ont.
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens CentreIF the conservatives truly believed in economic management they would not throw the highest numbers in jail without taking some advice from those with experience in the criminal justice system.