Canada: Quit trying to punish people – it doesn’t work

elvis

Interesting. Once convicted of crimes, should the punishment be replaced by eliminating the principle of deterrence from the Criminal Code and replacing it with redemption?


The Indigenization of Canada’s prison population is nothing short of a national travesty, says Ivan Zinger, the correctional investigator of Canada. Last month, Zinger issued a report indicating Indigenous people are being imprisoned at a historic rate despite there being an overall decline in inmate populations...


In provincial jails, Indigenous offenders make up 75 per cent of the population. The government of Saskatchewan said this number has been consistent for the past five years. “No government of any stripe has managed to reverse the trend of Indigenous over-representation in Canadian jails and prisons,” Zinger said. The correctional investigator said a “bold and urgent action is required to address one of Canada’s most persistent and pressing human rights issue” as efforts to curb over-representation is not working.


In the mid-90s, Gladue factors were put into place to reduce the misrepresentation of Indigenous people in the prison system. “What we’ve seen then is the numbers have doubled, tripled and for women quadrupled,” said Senator Kim Pate, a former Saskatchewan lawyer and former head of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies. “So the reality is they’re not being taken into the way they should be, and too often — particularly in Saskatchewan — it’s lip service.”


Harold Johnson, an Indigenous lawyer, who served as a Crown prosecutor in Saskatchewan for 10 years said there needs to be an overhaul of the criminal justice system. “We’re relying on an idea that doesn’t work,” Harold said. “Many recognize what we’re doing is worse, but no one can imagine doing anything different.” In his book Peace and Good Order, Harold recommends eliminating the principle of deterrence from the Criminal Code and replacing it with redemption. “Let people earn their way back into society. Quit trying to punish people – it doesn’t work,” Harold said.


https://globalnews.ca/news/6512737/indigenous-incarceration-rates-saskatchewan-federally-provincially/


SaveComment15Like
Comments (15)
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
catkinZ8a

Don't trust the pig farmers.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
elvis

I don't know what you mean, catkin. But it sure doesn't sound on topic.

3 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,others)(8a)

The article is about eliminating *deterrence* as factor in sentencing, not eliminating the concept of “punishment” for crimes.

It is true that humans aren’t very good at learning from the mistakes of others. We tend to think that we will be smarter or get away with it or we’ll deal with it if it happens.

I’m pretty tough in regards to sentencing actually, I think sentences should be a lot tougher in Canada but I *don’t* expect that tough sentences will deter anyone especially when we are talking about petty crimes (simple drug possession, jaywalking, shoplifting) or the worst of the worst crimes (murder, rape). So if the only reason for someone to get the harshest sentence is to deter others, I would be happy to see that reason thrown out.

1 Like Save     Thanked by elvis
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Cookie8

elvis, I am guessing 'pig' is derogatory for police - farming individuals for jail? Really though, I have no idea.

Years ago (wow, as in 25 ), I did some criminology courses and one of my papers was on First Nations and the justice system. The statistics were crazy. The system isn't working - I am all for steering in a new direction. I also believe there are many other issues that must be addressed (gangs, substance abuse, poverty, racism). The history is so tragic that I just have no idea what can be done. We don't even have a profit prison system so I could only imagine how much higher the rate would be if we did.

2 Likes Save     Thanked by elvis
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,others)(8a)

Cookie, Robert Picton

1 Like Save     Thanked by elvis
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tryingtounderstand

A key piece of the article is looking a preventative ways, which would help curtail the over representation in the criminal justice system.

There’s a lot we should be doing beforehand that would benefit those who are in prison and are in our communities,” Pate said. “Those who are struggling because they’re poor because they have mental health issues because they don’t have jobs – all of the things we know we need to work on.”

3 Likes Save     Thanked by elvis
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Cookie8

miss lindsey, thanks. I guess I also totally had no idea what the comment meant. Robert Picton "makes a lot more sense".

1 Like Save     Thanked by elvis
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ubro(2a)

Part of the problem is the disparity between the number of indigenous incarcerated compared to the rest of the population. I believe, there is some racist quality to this.

We used to have, in our local federal penitentiary, a Farm. It provided all the vegetables, meat, dairy etc. for the prison itself. It was worked by prisoners that were deemed 'no threat', and on their way out. This system was dismantled by the conservative govt. and now all the food is trucked in from big industry. The Farm was beneficial in so many ways, and IMO, although it might not lead to jobs when the prisoners are released, it taught both responsibility and caring.

There are ways of punishment and accountability that are better than just the 'big stick'. Some, of course will never be rehabilitated, but those that can be, should be.

4 Likes Save     Thanked by elvis
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
elvis

The individual culture of any particular group Natives is striking, at least in my area. The local Menominee to my east has made great progress in striking down abuse and improving high school graduation rates, for example. Crime is low.

The local Ojibwe to my west (Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa) has built wonderful public facilities since opening their casino years ago, but crime is a big problem, mostly due to AODA. They're workin' on it, but last figures I saw, 68% of my county's felonies charged were allegedly committed by folks from that res (8% of the county population).

The local Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa doesn't have any outstanding crime issues.

All 3 bands I mention ^^^ have good schools, great medical facilities, tons of counseling services. The one with the big AODA issue (mostly drugs these days) has a large component of folks moving in from Chicago, so we're wondering if new problems are being "imported". Just what they don't need.

So I can identify with those OP stats.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
margaritadina

Sorry for the off topic. I just realized that I never met an Native American person in a real life in all these years that I am living here....

Save     Thanked by elvis
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
elvis

Marg, the term nowadays in the States is Native American, just so you're up to date! In Canada, I'm not sure what they prefer. Native American would still work, I would think. Same continent.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ubro(2a)

We are trying to work on a horrible statistic of teen suicides on reserves. We are trying to work on the despicable treatment of missing and murdered indigenous women, and the legacy of the sixties scoop.

Much to our shame have a long way to go.


ETA I think most of us use the word Indigenous, I could be wrong

3 Likes Save     Thanked by elvis
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,others)(8a)

Indigenous or First Nations in Canada :)

3 Likes Save     Thanked by elvis
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
margaritadina

''

elvis

Marg,
the term nowadays in the States is Native American, just so you're up
to date! In Canada, I'm not sure what they prefer. Native American
would still work, I would think. Same continent.
''

Corrected my post, thank you for pointing it out, elvis.

'' ubro(2a) We
are trying to work on a horrible statistic of teen suicides on
reserves. We are trying to work on the despicable treatment of missing
and murdered indigenous women''

I watched couple of documentaries about life on reserves in the US and the life in Russian Far North (both American and Russian natives are people of the same origin). Devastation, no future, huge alcohol problems. Same problems on both sides.

One thing that I learned was mind blowing - during the WWII Russian ''northern nationalities'' were excluded from fighting on the front - they have no concept of shooting a human. From the very young age they are sniper level shooters but even pointing a gun at a person is beyond them. This is something unreal in today's world.

Save     Thanked by elvis
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
elvis

Yes, ubro, the Highway of Tears is a terrible situation.

Save    
Browse Gardening and Landscaping Stories on Houzz See all Stories
Fun Houzz 10 Things People Really Don’t Want in Their Homes
No love lost over fluorescent lights? No shocker there. But some of these other hated items may surprise you
Full Story
Decorating Guides 10 Chandeliers for People Who Don't Like Chandeliers
Get all the chandelier benefits without channeling Liberace, thanks to wood, paper, wire — and even a surprising old-fashioned staple
Full Story
Decorating 101 Chasing Perfection? It Doesn’t Exist, These Designers Say
Popular U.K. interior designers and bloggers reveal things about their homes that will make you feel better about yours
Full Story