1. From The Hill Times:

    If passed, many provisions included in Bill C-10, the Safe Streets and Communities Act, will be implemented by the provinces and territories. Further eligibility restrictions for conditional sentences, new mandatory minimum sentences for drug-related offences under two years in length, and changes to how we respond to youth in conflict with the law are just some of things the current federal government will take credit for without having to foot much of the bill. 

    When asked about their penal downloading in recent weeks, Conservative MPs and ministers have stated that the provinces and territories are on their side and willing to pay their part. Such sweeping statements are arguably based on a calculation that, even in cases where provincial-territorial governments do not share a similar penchant for ignoring evidence on penal policy matters and would rather not divert scarce tax dollars in times of economic uncertainty towards imprisonment, they will remain silent for fear of being labelled ‘soft on crime’.  The ostrich, however, can only bury its head for so long before deciding it has had enough and decides to draw a line in the sand instead.

     

     Canada  politics  Conservatives  crime  bills  C-10 

  2. In the twenty-seven nations of the European Union, whose combined population exceeds ours by nearly two hundred million, the total prison population for all crimes combined is around six hundred thousand. In the US, we’ve got almost that number of people – five hundred thousand to be precise — in prison for drug related crimes alone. And many of these crimes involve no violence whatsoever. That’s a lot of people. And it costs a lot of money. The states spent almost fifty billion dollars on incarceration in 2007. That’s up from ten billion in 1987 – adjusting for inflation, that’s an increase of a hundred twenty-seven percent.
    — 

    Philosophy Talk (via azspot)

    This is even worse when you realize that much of that growth in prisons has been for minor drug offenses, linked to mandatory minimum sentences, and to parole violations for minor drug offenses. We have treated prisons like the military: as a state function we fund no matter what, and no matter how much expansion they require. And it’s coming home to its budget roost.

    (via politicalprof)

    (via politicalprof)

     

     prisons  crime  drugs 

  3. From Erika Sasson, The Globe and Mail:

    If the Harper government wants to incarcerate street dealers, then it should be forthright and say so. But the government is mobilizing our legitimate fear of organized crime as a Trojan horse against minor drug offenders, the most disorganized of criminals. This is an unnecessary manipulation of public sentiment that punishes the people who have the least impact on the strength of the drug trade.

    The legislation is also problematic because courts need flexibility to be effective. In Toronto, for example, many street-level offenders are battling mental illness, as well as drug addiction and poverty. While the new legislation makes an exception for “successful” completion of drug treatment court, that doesn’t begin to cover the gamut of people who end up in the system simply because there’s nowhere else for them to go.

    The courts currently use alternative sanctions to address these issues. Prosecutors and judges often work with mental health workers and defence lawyers to devise creative solutions: Conditional sentences with treatment, community service, lengthy probation and job training are just some examples of those combined efforts. These solutions can balance the needs of the community with those of the offender, thereby furthering the goal of restorative justice. The impending legislation, however, will make it impossible to pursue restorative measures.

     

     S-10  crime  politics  Canada 

  4. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives:

    The Harper government’s tough on crime agenda will likely increase the incidence of crime and the deficit, says a new report released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

    The report, by CCPA Research Associate Paula Mallea, analyses the financial and human costs of the tough on crime agenda and concludes it is wrong-headed, expensive, and counter-productive.

    "There is no crime epidemic, despite what the Harper government says" Mallea says. "According to Statistics Canada, crime rates have been trending down for over twenty years. This includes the violent crime rate."

    The report explains that tough measures do not produce public safe­ty. Longer sentences, harsher prison conditions and the incarceration of more Canadians will return the system to a time when prisons were extremely violent, and when the end result was more rather than less crime.

    In addition, the government’s crime legislation will cost taxpayers billions. A single piece of legislation costed out by the Parliamentary Budget Officer was estimated at upwards of $5 billion. This will more than double the budget for Corrections in Canada over five years. The additional dozens of proposed laws will have similar extraordinary cumulative effects on the budget.

    "Tough on Crime is actually Lazy on Crime. It is certainly Tough on Taxpayers. A better ap­proach is to be Thoughtful on Crime or Smart on Crime," says Mallea.

    Report: The Fear Factor - Stephen Harper’s “Tough on Crime” Agenda

     

     Stephen Harper  Canada  crime  taxes  prisons 

  5. From the Economic and Social Research Council:

    New research from the Institute for Criminal Policy Research at King’s College, London, examines whether the police and the youth justice system treat young people from different ethnic groups in different ways.

    Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Commission for Racial Equality and the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the research shows that black and mixed-race youths are over-represented in the youth justice system. This over-representation starts at the point of entry into the system, and is largely preserved as young suspects and defendants pass through it.

    […]

    The research found that once young people had entered the youth justice system the patterns of over- and under-representation remained. However, there was also evidence of possible discrimination against ethnic minorities at some points in the system. For example:

    • Mixed race suspects were more likely to be sent to court than given a police disposal.

    • Black and mixed race defendants were more likely to be remanded in custody prior to their hearing date. 

    • Black defendants had a higher chance of being acquitted than white ones, suggesting that different standards of evidence may be applied to cases involving different groups of defendants. 

    • Mixed race teenagers were more likely than others to be given a (more serious) community sentence than a (less onerous) first tier penalty or referral order.

    These differences in the treatment of different ethnic groups could not be accounted for by the severity of the crimes or the defendant’s criminal history, indicating possible discrimination. However, taking into account the nature of the offence and the offender’s criminal history, the study did not find any evidence that different ethnic groups faced different risks of getting custodial sentences.

     

     youth  crime  statistics  uk 

  6. wtftory:

    From The Globe & Mail:

    Although the official crime rate is going down, a senior Harper government minister says there is reason to disbelieve the statistics and spend billions of dollars on new prisons: an “alarming” increase in unreported crime.

    Stockwell Day’s argument is based on a Statistics Canada survey, conducted like a large poll, which showed a slight rise in unreported crimes – though the increase was in property crimes and petty theft, not violent crimes. And the survey was conducted in 2004 – an ironic twist given that Mr. Day made his case only minutes after he maintained that the long-form census is not very reliable because it can be as much as five years out of date.

    Mr. Day, the Treasury Board president, is not the first tough-on-crime Conservative politician to disbelieve the official statistics on reported crimes. Senator Pierre-Hughes Boisvenu said last month that “someone, somewhere, is manipulating the numbers.” The latest Statscan figures, released last month, show the number of crimes reported to police dropped 3 per cent last year, and was 17 per cent lower than in 1999.

     

     Canada  politics  Conservatives  Stockwell Day  prisons  crime 

  7. Grand Theft American - The Economist

AMERICA’s car thieves show clear preferences in the vehicles they steal.  Size, speed and luxury are all important factors when it comes to  selecting a target. But the country’s car thieves are, at least,  patriotic. If America’s carmaking giants have struggled in recent years  to build vehicles that match the public taste, they are keeping car  thieves happy. Only two of the top ten stolen cars in America (measured  in terms of cash paid out by insurers) come from a foreign manufacturer.

    Grand Theft American - The Economist

    AMERICA’s car thieves show clear preferences in the vehicles they steal. Size, speed and luxury are all important factors when it comes to selecting a target. But the country’s car thieves are, at least, patriotic. If America’s carmaking giants have struggled in recent years to build vehicles that match the public taste, they are keeping car thieves happy. Only two of the top ten stolen cars in America (measured in terms of cash paid out by insurers) come from a foreign manufacturer.

     

     crime  cars  crime (US) 

  8. From CTV News:

    Police are looking for four suspects after Torontonians were squirted with feces and robbed after they withdrew money from downtown bank machines.

    Police allege that in four separate incidents since May 21, the suspects watched their victim withdraw money and followed them to their workplace.

    In each instance, the suspects surrounded their victim in an elevator. One suspect poured feces on the victim, a second alerted the victim and then helped rob him or her while helping to clean his or her clothing.

    via Rishi

     

     Toronto  crime  theft  shit 

  9. bridgettelizabeth:

    IT SOUNDS like a crazy comic book plot: Spider-man foils a robbery as Jedi knights block the would-be thief’s escape and the Flash watches on.

    This was just what happened on Saturday morning when a business owner dressed as Spider-man stopped a man from stealing a comic book worth $160.

    Adelaide Comic Centre’s Michael Baulderstone, 45, noticed a man “behaving suspiciously” at the back of his store.

    Upon closer examination, he saw that the man had put a valuable book in his backpack.

    “We had about 40 people dressed up as their favourite superheroes to celebrate International Free Comic Day, so he didn’t have much of a choice but to hand the X-Men Omnibus back after a little bit of a scuffle,” he said.

    “I’ve had a look at the security footage and it shows Spider-Man running down the corridor of the shop, grabbing this guy, hauling him off.

    “Everyone in the store thought it was a play, that it was street theatre of some sort. It wasn’t until I said `Call the police’ that people started to realise.” International Free Comic Day is held around the world on the first Saturday of May.

    In Adelaide, two businesses, the Adelaide Comic Centre and Pulp Fiction Comics, encouraged customers to dress as comic heroes and handed out free comics to mark the occasion.

    “One of the funniest things about the incident was that I called for people to stand near the door and it just so happened we had people dressed as Jedi knights there blocking the exit, the Flash was there at some point too,” Mr Baulderstone said.

    “It was a bit serious at the time, but now we’re looking back laughing at what greeted police when they arrived.”

    David Humphrey, a member of the Rebel Legion, a group of Star Wars fans, said: “It was quite funny to think that our Spider-man actually did catch himself a bad guy.”
     

     crime  heroes  superheroes  comics 

  10. afghanibanani:

    Child poverty in the US is double the average of the 30 OECD countries.

    (9 Myths)

    Related: …we looked at life expectancy, mental illness, teen birthrates, violence, the percent of populations in prison, and drug use [in relation to income (in)equality; Richard Wilkinson - GOOD]

    Income Inequality, Regression, and Understanding the Residual

     

     income  inequality  poverty  health  crime 

  11. For many mothers, however, incarceration for a drug-related crime results in the termination of parental rights. Under the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, states initiate the termination of parental rights proceedings if a child has been placed in foster care for 15 of the last 22 months. According to a study released by the U.S. General Accounting Office, the median prison sentence for women is 60 months, meaning the majority of mothers in prison lose their parental rights. Many of these broken families are a direct result of the war on drugs, as almost three quarters of the women incarcerated in federal prisons are incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses. Even after a mother is released from prison, she faces reentry challenges such as bans on access to food stamps, public housing, and student aid for individuals with drug convictions. These restrictions inhibit her ability to reintegrate into society, and maintain a stable and nurturing environment for her children.
    — 

    The Drug War: A War on Women and Their Families | Drugs | AlterNet (via greaterthanlapsed)

    Not to mention how difficult it can be to find work, and in some states/cities you can’t even rent an apartment with a criminal record.

    (via savagemike)

     

     drugs  crime  US  prison  women  mothers 

  12. The federal Justice Department pays to help publicize leading criminal justice research that frequently discredits the Conservative government’s “tough-on-crime” agenda.

    And while the goal of the government-funded project is to “focus … on research that is policy relevant,” and provide a “general education” to those interested in criminal justice policy, the Harper government doesn’t appear to be listening.

    The most recent issue of “Criminological Highlights” published last month by the University of Toronto’s Centre of Criminology, with federal assistance, blows gaping holes in several of Justice Minister Rob Nicholson’s most cherished anti-crime measures.

    […]

    The Department of Justice has been funding “Criminological Digest” since 1997, although Prime Minister Stephen Harper has explicitly and publicly stated that his government does not accept peer-reviewed research on criminal matters.

    In a 2008 speech, Harper flatly denounced research-based justice policies, accusing the pedlars of such policies of trying to “pacify Canadians with statistics.”

    […]

    More recently, Harper’s former chief of staff Ian Brodie told a McGill University forum last spring that informed criticism of the government’s justice agenda is a political gift: “It helped us tremendously to be attacked by this coalition of university types.”

    The academics, however, are not attacking Conservatives. They are deconstructing public policy.

    Canoe.ca [emphasis added]

     

     Canada  law  justice  crime  Stephen Harper  Conservatives  Tories 

  13. cheneymabel:

caraobrien:

I posted this a few months ago, but I think it’s worth revisiting.
From the Amnesty International blog, in its entirety:
 The FBI’s annual crime report – Crime in the United States, 2008  – which was released Monday reveals that, like death sentences and executions, murder rates in the U.S. declined slightly in 2008.  This has been the trend for a number of years, as has been the fact that homicide rates vary from state to state, with the states of the Deep South generally having the highest murder rates. 
As usual, states without capital punishment generally had lower homicide rates than the states that execute.  In fact, all but one of the 14 states with no death penalty in 2008 had murder rates below the national rate of 5.4 per 100,000.  The lone exception, Michigan, had a homicide rate of 5.4, equal to the national rate. 
Homicide rates in the U.S. are of course still way too high.  That 1 in every 20,000 Americans was murdered last year is nothing to be proud of, but by now it should be clear to all that, as the consensus of criminologists agree, the death penalty has nothing to do with solving this problem. 

More about the death penalty and deterrence.

    cheneymabel:

    caraobrien:

    I posted this a few months ago, but I think it’s worth revisiting.

    From the Amnesty International blog, in its entirety:

    The FBI’s annual crime report – Crime in the United States, 2008 – which was released Monday reveals that, like death sentences and executions, murder rates in the U.S. declined slightly in 2008. This has been the trend for a number of years, as has been the fact that homicide rates vary from state to state, with the states of the Deep South generally having the highest murder rates.

    As usual, states without capital punishment generally had lower homicide rates than the states that execute. In fact, all but one of the 14 states with no death penalty in 2008 had murder rates below the national rate of 5.4 per 100,000. The lone exception, Michigan, had a homicide rate of 5.4, equal to the national rate.

    Homicide rates in the U.S. are of course still way too high. That 1 in every 20,000 Americans was murdered last year is nothing to be proud of, but by now it should be clear to all that, as the consensus of criminologists agree, the death penalty has nothing to do with solving this problem.

    More about the death penalty and deterrence.

     

     crime  punishment  death penalty  statistics 

  14. abcsoupdot:

    “The drug war has been brutal — complete with SWAT teams, tanks, bazookas, grenade launchers, and sweeps of entire neighborhoods — but those who live in white communities have little clue to the devastation wrought. This war has been waged almost exclusively in poor communities of color, even though studies consistently show that people of all colors use and sell illegal drugs at remarkably similar rates. In fact, some studies indicate that white youth are significantly more likely to engage in illegal drug dealing than black youth. Any notion that drug use among African Americans is more severe or dangerous is belied by the data. White youth, for example, have about three times the number of drug-related visits to the emergency room as their African American counterparts.”

    How the War on Drugs Gave Birth to a Permanent American Undercaste - RaceTalk (via tiredofbeingignored) (via clingtomymouth)

    Let’s stop for a second here - don’t white people in America outnumber black people 7-to-1? Shouldn’t then American white youth have 7 times the number of drug-related visits to the emergency as their African American counterparts - if population susceptibility is to be the same? This article doesn’t state whether it 3x as many visits per capita, or 3x as many visits overall.

    If it is indeed 3x as many visits overall, then black youth are still making more drug-related hospital visits per capita, since they are 1/7th the white population, but equal 1/3rd the rate of white admissions.

    And this my friends is another botched case of statistical reporting without raw figures and ham journalism.

    [emphasis added for effect. I’m lacking sensationalist headlines today]

    How so? The article was not saying one group is better or worst because they do more drugs. They are making the argument that the drug war disproportionately affects one group and that legislation presented to curb one problem in reality actually further perpetuates the problem. And enforcement is selective.

    Let us use your numbers and logic.

    # of whites : # of blacks = 7:1

    Assuming hospital rates are total and not per capita

    drug-related hospital visits - white : black = 3:1

    therefore expected ratio of arrested for drug-related offences - white:black = 7/3 : 1

    And yet the actual ratio in some states - white:black+brown+other=1:5 to 1:10

    You really need a refresher in statistics if you think this doesn’t reflect some inherent bias (intentional or otherwise) on behalf of those responsible for arresting and prosecuting these offenders.

    That article also says, “There are more African Americans under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.”

    In 1850 America’s population was only 23 million people. It’s over TEN TIMES that. Correspondingly, no shit there are now more black people in correctional facilities. There are also now more gay people, more of latinic origin, and more of everything.

    I just don’t see what point you’re trying to make. That this statistic is irrelevant? Fair enough. Of course that doesn’t really take away from any of the other arguments. It’s part of a broader narrative, excerpted from the book. You essentially found one sentence in this article that is irrelevant. Alright. How exactly does it weaken her other arguments?

     

     drugs  laws  crime  public policy  US 

  15. goodreasonnews:

    agnostic-atheist:

    Apparently Freedom of Speech is not so free in the UK.  Man convicted for hurting another persons feelings.

     

     religion  censorship  UK  comics  cartoons  crime