Research at odds with Tories’ crime agenda
March 15 2010
OTTAWA–The federal Justice Department pays to help publicize leading criminal justice research that frequently discredits the Conservative government’s “tough-on-crime” agenda.
The most recent issue of Criminological Highlights, published last month, with federal assistance, by the University of Toronto’s Centre of Criminology, blows gaping holes in several of Justice Minister Rob Nicholson’s most cherished anti-crime measures.
It also provides a very timely reminder of why Canada’s ongoing move toward more mandatory minimum sentences can lead to the kind of plea bargain arrangement that’s created a storm of public outrage around former Conservative stalwart Rahim Jaffer.
Mandatory penalties, says the research digest, “undermine the legitimacy of the prosecution process by fostering circumventions that are wilful and subterranean. They undermine … equality before the law when they cause comparably culpable offenders to be treated radically differently.”
In other words, people who can afford good lawyers agree to backroom plea bargains to avoid harsh mandatory sentences, while the average Joe is hit hard.
Here are the Questions you will find being answered in the report.
You may be rather amazed at the answers you find.
This issue of Criminological Highlights addresses the
1. Does the incarceration of offenders reduce their
likelihood of offending?
2. Is it true that the first time people go to prison, they
learn from their mistakes and, as a result, are likely to
reduce their offending after release?
3. Are there any problems with mandatory minimum
penalties other than the fact that they do not reduce
4. Why do cities with large numbers of immigrants have
lower crime rates than cities with few immigrants?
5. Does living near high concentrations of public
housing increase one’s likelihood of being a victim of
6. Why is the size of Canada’s remand population
7. Why is there stability in the size of the remand
population in prisons in England & Wales?
8. Are those people involved in “organized crime”
demonstrably different from ordinary offenders?
For the entire report.