We’re going to charge them a little more to save taxpayers money? Why don’t we just quit paying them in first place?!? Why bother with a money trade and more paper work?
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has announced he is taking his tough-on-crime campaign a step further by making prison inmates pay more for room and board behind bars.
According to reports, prisoners currently pay up to $25 a week for room and board – depending on how much they earn through various prison programs. Forthcoming changes will see higher earning prisoners forking out 30 per cent of their income after next year. In the end says Toews, the measure will save taxpayers a cool $10 million a year.
The idea has some people up in arms.
“The whole notion of rehabilitation has been thrown out the window by these reactionaries,” says interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae. He maintains that eventually people will leave prison, and it’s better if they leave prepared. He also says “bizarre” measures will discourage inmates from taking those steps. “What is the likelihood that people are actually going to then want to take courses or do work or engage in useful activity? It’s going to encourage people to leave without anything, without any means, without any capacity to provide for themselves as they get out of prison.”
Others say ultimately, the move will “put more criminals back on the street” and prompt an increase in repeat offences.
What about the concept of teaching them trades while they’re behind bars and NOT paying them? If they’re ready and prepared to get out when their time is up then help to set them up with jobs. If they don’t get out with a pile of money on hand, well that’s just too darn bad. These people are supposed to be in prison (and they are put there for a reason), not taxpayer funded work experience programs with a cash bonus at the end.
How many people are there “on the outside” who have to scrape by and can scarcely afford to put a proper meal on the table? And we’re worried about the criminal who’s behind bars? Something is wrong with this picture. If we can save $10 million by upping the rent, imagine what we would save if we didn’t pay them at all.
If this is Canada’s idea of getting “tough on crime” we’ve got a long road to travel and a dim light at the end of the tunnel.