Monday, November 27, 2006

Minimum Wage for Inmates?

The Correctional Investigator of Canada, Howard Sapers, has tabled a report calling for a wage increase for inmates of Canadian prisons to minimum wage (from $6.70 in New Brunswick to a high of $8.50 in Nunavut) from the current $6.90 a day. This is the same ex-Liberal MLA who back in October stated that:

"The experience of Canadian aboriginal peoples and the justice system has been described as Canada's national disgrace. Alarmingly, this huge over-representation has grown in recent years."

In his report, he mentions that the number of aboriginals in prison climbed 22% between 1996 and 2004, while the general population dropped 12%. Aboriginals now account for 18.5% of federal inmates, but only 2.7% of the Canadian population. He called on the federal government to adopt more culturally sensitive programs and practices, including increasing the number serving time in minimum security prisons instead of maximum- or medium-security facilities.

In typical knee-jerk liberal fashion he totally overlooks the severity of the crimes committed that seemed to have warranted a medium to maximum facility. Beverley Jacobs, the president of the Native Women's Association of Canada, blamed aboriginal over-representation on poverty, poor education, unemployment, dismal living conditions, alcoholism and violence in aboriginal communities. Okay, but that still doesn't mean a lighter sentence for committing a crime.

Now Sapers wants to increase the inmates' pay because many "inmates have to pay out of their own pocket for additional treats [beyond the three meals a day and free medical and education] such as cigarettes, booze, and chocolate"! Oh, poor babies. Next they will be expected to stay in a small cell-like room with bars on the windows.

The Prisoners' Rights Committee (PRC) supported his statements ('natch). This is the organization that spewed out of the early 1970s Ligues des droits et libert├ęs in Quebec and got inmates the right to vote. Isn't that special.

Frankly, prisoners should do extremely hard time, with hard labour and little, to no, "leisure" time. Less emphasis should be placed on rehabilitation and preparing them for release back into society, and more scaring the shit out of them. They should be so frightened of prison life, so beaten down, that they would be too afraid to commit another crime.

If a major portion of the prison population come from backgrounds of abject poverty, then what, under the current system, is the real deterrent? Why not commit a crime that nets you better food and accommodations than you currently enjoy? Hell, if they raise inmates' salaries to minimum wage even better. This would mean a substantial increase in a living standard, and at a much quicker rate than they would normally experience in the outside world.

This is the kind of liberal, left-leaning sensibilities that swiftly gets a country into fiscal problems.