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University of Toronto St. George
Woodsworth College Courses
William Watson

WEEK 10: March 12, 2012 Current Issues in Canadian Corrections 2008 World Incarceration Rates (per 100,000) 2008 World Incarceration Rates (per 100,000) Approximately 9.8 million people are currently incarcerated throughout the globe. Over half are incarcerated in three countries: The United States (2.5 million prisoners); China (2.4 million prisoners) and Russia (900,000 prisoners). United States incarceration rate=730 per 00,000. 60% of all nations have rates below 150/100,000. Many of the lowest rates of imprisonment are found in small countries. India and Nigeria are two exceptions to this trend. Prison populations grew in many parts of the world during the 1990s. →Canada is the lowest on the graph, the U.S., Russia, and Rwanda are at the top (U.S. is 7 times greater than the Canadian rate) →lower rates than Canada: Greece, Italy, France, Germany, Philippines, Nigeria is the least *Canada is in the middle in terms of incarceration rates over the world) IInternational Trends  In Europe, incarceration rates grew by over 20 during the 1990s. Incarceration rates grew by over 40 percent in half of all European countries.  Although the trend is towards prison growth, there have been decreases in the prison population in almost 1/3 of countries where movements have been monitored  The most notable decrease was 22% in Rwanda  In addition, there was a 28% decrease in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines over 3 years and 9 months. Current Situation in the U.S. • Over 2 million people locked up in the United States; the increase started in the mid 70s and has kept growing ever since; it has not always had this, the history began in the 1970s • Bill C-10→the incarceration rates that Canada has had in the past might change because of this new bill •Almost 4 times as many people serving in New York compared to all of those incarcerated inAustralia Explanations for U.S. Explanations for U.S. Prison Growth A) Political Influences B) Bifurcation C) Felon Disenfranchisement D) Public Opinion E) Budget and Resources F) The Media – Fear of Crime G) Special Interest and Advocacy Groups H) Economic Motives I) Radicalized Fears A) Political Influences →crime is a political issue; prove to those voting that you are tough on crime B) Bifurcation →a process that has been observed in Canada and many other countries, not taken place in the U.S. →2 distinct sentencing trends: countries like Canada have lengthened sentences for serious crimes, crimes sentences have been reduced for minor crimes and drug crimes, the U.S. has toughened the penalties for all crimes C) Felon Disenfranchisement →states have introduced legislation that will permanently exclude those convicted of an indictable offence from voting; by enacting this law took 7% of the male black population off the voting list D) Public Opinion →related to politics; how do you measure it? E) Budget and Resources →the U.S. is a wealthy nation, had the budget to build these resources F) The Media – Fear of Crime→tough on crime advocates G) Special Interest and Advocacy Groups H) Economic Motives →how much money is needed to construct prisons; creates jobs; the government will give money to a community based on their needs (a mega jail→the inmates count towards your population) greater amount of transfer payments from the government, have reduced sentences: locked up unemployed people would be released I) Radicalized Fears→race-base fear of crime; fear of minorities WWorldwide Felon Disenfranchisement -In Finland and New Zealand felons are restricted the vote for several years after release from prison but only if they were convicted of voting fraud or corruption -France and Germany permit disenfranchisement but only on special occasions by special order -In the U.S. only Vermont and Maine allow incarcerated felons to vote, all other states have some sort of felon disenfranchisement law -Many countries allow inmates to vote while in prison: Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Israel, Peru, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Zimbabwe Media Influences -Focus on homicide and other serious crimes -The media is prone to use high-profile cases and exaggerates their prevalence in society -This can influence both public opinion and politics The Death Penalty and Corporal Punishment -An estimated 3,000 prisoners from 56 countries were put to death in 2009. There are currently over 17,000 prisoners under a death sentence. -Other forms of corporal punishment include caning, whipping and bodily mutilation. -Use of the death penalty and corporal punishment is unrelated to level of development or “civilization.” -Strongly related to economic inequality  huge gap between rich and poor=more likely to engage in corporal punishment -Strongly related to regional culture and religion. →e.g. Texas and Fundamentalist Christianity “an eye for an eye” -China executes more people than any other nation, followed by countries in the Middle-East. -The number of executions in the United States is declining, but rates vary from state-to-state. Number of State Executions, 2009 Problems with International Comparisons -Differences in counting procedures, definitions, and methods of recording crime  e.g. China; people think the stats are closer to 5000 executions instead of 2000 in 2009 -The way prison population is measured, i.e., rate does not equal flow or duration -Variable policies and criminal justice procedures -Subjective nature of punitive sentencing ISSUE: DEPORTATION - An increasing number of western nations are deporting non-citizens convicted of criminal offences. -A modern form of “transportation” or “banishment.” -Puts extra pressure on the criminal justice systems of developing nations. -Cruel and unusual punishment? Creates additional hardships for offenders who immigrated as children. -Collateral damage for families. What is “Rehabilitation” -“To return to one’s original state.” -Treatment -To Cure -- the “correct” in “corrections.” -The idea that an offender is fundamentally flawed or broken. -The idea that flaws can be “corrected” with appropriate treatment Public Support for Rehabilitation (2007 Toronto Survey) →91% of individuals thought prisons should provide treatment; 83% thought there should be longer sentences; 77% supported more money for treatment for rehabilitation in prison The Rehabilitation Debate -Early visions of rehabilitation dominated by the clergy and the idea of moral/spiritual reform. -Development of sociology, psychology and criminology contributed to the secularization of the rehab movement. -Late 40s to late 60s – the height of the rehab movement. -Rehabilitation through education, employment and psychological programming. The Rehabilitation Debate -“Nothing Works” (Robert Martinson 1974). f
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