Con-Crime Drift Gets Flak From Texas Reformers


Conservatives from Texas are criticizing the crime-fighting strategy of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, reports CBC. “You will spend billions and billions and billions on locking people up,” says Judge John Creuzot of the Dallas County Court. “And there will come a point in time where the public says, ‘Enough!’ And you’ll wind up letting them out.” Rep. Jerry Madden, a conservative Republican who heads the Texas House Committee on Corrections, says, “It’s a very expensive thing to build new prisons and, if you build ’em, I guarantee you they will come. They’ll be filled, OK? Because people will send them there. But, if you don’t build ’em, they will come up with very creative things to do that keep the community safe and yet still do the incarceration necessary.”

Federal spending on corrections in Canada has gone up from $1.6 billion in 2005-06, when Harper’s Conservatives took power, to $2.98 billion in 2010-11. That’s an increase of 86 per cent. Soon, it will double. The Harper government has increased prison sentences by scrapping the two-for-one credit for time served waiting for trial. The pending Bill C-10 would add new and longer sentences for drug offences, increase mandatory minimums, and cut the use of conditional sentences such as house arrest. In each case, Texas is doing the opposite.

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