Conservatives in the United States' toughest crime-fighting jurisdiction — Texas — say the Harper government's crime strategy won't work.
"You will spend billions and billions and billions on locking people up," says Judge John Creuzot of the Dallas County Court. "And there will come a point in time where the public says, 'Enough!' And you'll wind up letting them out."
Adds Rep. Jerry Madden, a conservative Republican who heads the Texas House Committee on Corrections, "It's a very expensive thing to build new prisons and, if you build 'em, I guarantee you they will come. They'll be filled, OK? Because people will send them there.
"But, if you don't build 'em, they will come up with very creative things to do that keep the community safe and yet still do the incarceration necessary."
... Republican governors and state legislators in such states of Texas, South Carolina, and Ohio are repealing mandatory minimum sentences, increasing opportunities for effective community supervision, and funding drug treatment because they know it will improve public safety and reduce taxpayer costs," said Tracy Velázquez, executive director of the Washington-based Justice Policy Institute.
... "What we've learned," he says, "is that if you deal with those underlying issues with the proper assessments up front, doing that before you make a sentencing decision … and you fund programs that will deal with that on a long-term basis, that you avoid sending thousands of people to prison."
But isn't all the treatment expensive?
"It's less expensive!" Creuzot snaps. "We had a university do a cost-benefit analysis. And every dollar we spend is worth $9 and 34 cents in avoided criminal justice costs."
Honestly, when Texas Republicans are telling you to slow it down, I think its time to slow down.
But will the Harper government? No, of course not. Maybe the Senate can stall Bill C-10. Lord knows they're probably the only ones who can stop it now.