Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tough on crime? Try tough on provinces.

From CBC:
The federal government's rules regarding mandatory minimum sentences will cut into the bottom line of the provinces, some critics warn.....

Mandatory minimums will lead to longer sentences behind bars and require additional prison space. But NDP justice critic Joe Comartin says there are also additional prosecution costs to mandatory minimum sentences.

"People are not going to plead guilty," he said. "We're not going to have plea bargaining arrangements because the prosecutor basically has nothing to offer the accused person in terms of a reduced sentence. So we end up with many more trials."

Provinces pick up most of the tab for trials, including the bills for security, stenographers, court time, some judges and provincial prosecutors.

Federal authorities prosecute most drug crimes in Canada. And with the drug bill before the Senate, the Conservative government has already set aside $33.5 million over five years to support the prosecutors who work for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada.

But provincial attorneys general say that, so far, they're not getting any additional funds from the federal government to cover the costs of additional trials.

I personally think the Conservative heart is in the right place on this (even though their head isn't), but even when they do things people like, they somehow screw it up for others. This is the federal government's initiative and responsibility, yet they're making the provinces pay more for it? Doesn't make any sense. At least do the right thing and offset the costs, especially if you're doing so for your own federal prosecutors.

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