MONTREAL— Liberal Public Safety critic Francis Scarpaleggia made the following statement today on the Conservative government’s prison agenda:
“Public Safety Minister Toews’ proclamation that their US-style prison agenda has not cost taxpayers as much as originally anticipated and that inmate populations have not increased to the degree predicted is both misleading and premature. With Bill C-10, the omnibus crime bill, only a few months old, the impact of their mandatory minimum sentencing laws has yet to be felt.
The reality is that under the Harper Conservatives, prison budgets have ballooned, double-bunking and inmate violence has increased, and vital rehabilitation and reintegration programming has been axed. Furthermore, this government is adding 2500 new beds and expanding 34 existing correctional facilities to accommodate the influx of new inmates that will be created by their wrong-headed agenda.
At a time when Canada’s crime rate is in sharp decline, this government is spending untold billions on a failed prison agenda that has been discredited by even the most right-wing Republicans in the United States, and is downloading significant costs to the provinces. It is time that the Harper Conservatives stop ignoring the evidence, abandon its backward plan, and invest in criminal justice policies that will actually make our streets and communities safer.”