“Our Government is proud to be on the right side of this issue — the side of law-abiding citizens, the
side of victims who want justice, and the side that understands the cost of a safe and secure society is
an investment worth making,” - Vic Toews, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety in 2010
If you disagree,
You must be on the wrong side of the issue
You bust be against law abiding citizens
Must LOVE criminals
Don't believe victims get justice
Clearly have no understanding about how to secure the safety of our citizens
Multiple announcements (all 5 regions: 3 months)
“…investing” *$348 million construction only+
“… safe and secure…” *1376 new beds; $162 million/year to maintain beds+
“…expansion of federal prisons” (emphasis added)
More money spent to create more beds
o Population increase (2016-17)
o Shift from provincial institutions?
“…better provide for the protection, safety and security”
“…cost of a safe and secure society is an investment worth making…”
Other choices for investment? (construction costs and operating)
“…proud to be on the right side of this issue”
What is the “other side”?
Are there only two sides, and are they mutually exclusive?
“… helps ensure that criminals serve sentences that better reflect the severity of their crimes.”
Sentencing and correctional decisions
Sentence 2 years or more = Federal Institution
Sentence 2 years less a day = Provincial Institution
90-95% of all custodial sentences = Less than 6 months (short)
Why Study Canada’s Criminal Justice System
Understanding the nature of the system
Great deal of power o
Has ability to transcend the rights we have been told to have
o Taken out of the hands of the citizens and put in the state of officials
What is the state appropriate and proper role of punishment
o How much should we punish?
“Everyone knows” about crime and the criminal justice system
o and a sense of how it operates
o how it should be done better
Everyone's beliefs about crimes is often based on their own intuition
What you think is right
What you feel is right
o What your parents told you was right
o Doesn’t mean it is true
Why are certain groups over-represented in prisons in Canada?
If sentences for a particular offence were made more harsh, would the incidence of that crime
o What may deter you, may not deter other people
o Percentage of people caught and sent to jail incredibly small
Parts of the system (often) cannot be considered in isolation
Importance of ‘criminal justice policy’ politically
What is the “Crime Agenda” all about? Parliamentary Activity 2006-2011
Crime vs. punishment?
Impact on crime?
Impact on (actual) punishment
Addressing fixable problems?
What are they meant to do?
How do you characterize the ‘crime agenda’?
Solution: Provide you with the data.
Five Parliamentary sessions across two Parliaments - 39 and 40
Definition of a ‘crime bill’ (inherently problematic)