I've largely stopped blogging about the insane inanity of the Harper Government. The CPC has their majority and I've largely resigned myself to sticking my fingers in my ears and shouting "LA-LA-LA I can't hear you!!!" I also plan to get very drunk the next federal election, either in celebration or in mourning. (It should be obvious by now how the election result will influence the level of merriment of my drunkenness.)
On my drive home tonight I caught the news on the radio about Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu's comments about giving murders ropes to hang themselves while in prison. That didn't bother me so much as I don't think that was a serious policy suggestion. Anger and grief speaking, I'll let it pass. No what got my dander all up was Harper's defense of his Senator: "This government is focused on making sure we protect victims in the future."
Rat shit on a cracker what an infuriating view-point. We know this "victim's rights" approach is the thin veneer that the Harper government is using to polish their shit crime and punishment agenda. What idiot Harper is deliberately forgetting is that "Victims" don't want to be protected AFTER a crime has happened, we want to avoid being "Victims" in the first place. The only "right" I am interested in as a citizen is the "right" to a safe and prosperous society for everyone. So that means I support pre-crime (heh) policies that reduce or eliminate the circumstances that encourage crime (poverty, lack of education, lack of neighborhood programs, smarter drug policies, etc. etc.)
And then the next news report just made me swear a blue streak while driving through the city, much to the consternation of the drivers in vehicles next to me. (Incidentally, I usually find the drive home very relaxing. Apparently I have to stop listening to the news if I want that to continue.) There is a private member's bill targeting EI support for convicts.
To sum up the Harper approach so far:
1) Make sure convicted criminals go to prison longer than they have been in the past
2) Do nothing to speed up the trial process so that accused criminals stay in prison longer before they are convicted.
3) Deny parole more often so that convicts stay behind bars and have no incentive to atone for their crimes and change their behaviour.
4) Take away measures that help convicts learn skills and humanize their experiences (ending of prison farms)
5) Remove any financial assistance so that released ex-con lose all dignity and any possibility of supporting themselves when released into society.
Look, I get the righteous vengeance viewpoint that drives the desire to punish wrong doers and make them pay for their crimes. As a crime reduction measure, not an effective policy. Satisfying the craven urge for eye-for-an-eye retribution, yes.
But the Harper Crime Cultists are inconsistent and hypocritical in their approach. Almost every expert on crime is very willing to point out that the HCCer approach to dealing with crime will cause an increase in crime. The harsh sentence ideology combined with the "turn society's back and deny assistance" approach will encourage people to stay in crime. If I am ever convicted of an offense, I will be so screwed. My employer already has the right to fire me from my job once I am convicted. With over-crowding my experience is likely to be hellish beyond belief (and if I am convicted of the right sort of crime, it will also be a long hellish experience). When released I will be shunned by society and my government and will be unemployable as my IT skills will no longer be current.
So what will I do? I can promise you, I will likely go on a furious crime bender and try go out with a bang. Fuck, if society wants to treat me like a criminal for the rest of my life, I will therefore be a criminal for the rest of my life. Even though I am a responsible, law abiding citizen, I can easily imagine how that scenario plays out. I will have nothing good to live for, so I might as well live for revenge.
So if the HCCers are truly about punishing criminals through sentencing, then impose life sentences for all crimes!! That's what this approach is doing anyway, it just requires that criminals serve the rest of their life sentences in society, rather than in prison. HCCers need to be honest about their ideology and follow through on it. If it happens to me, then I will take Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu up on his offer. I will have a reason to. That's what you HCCers want. Right?