Metroblog

A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

29 September 2009

In Defence of Offenders

In the news today I see that sex offenders in Georgia and Florida have reputedly taken to living in tents.
The group of nine men were told to live in the woods in the southern state after they were unable to find housing far enough away from areas where children congregated, such as schools and playgrounds.

Georgian law bans the state's 16,000 sex offenders from living, working or loitering within 1,000ft of schools, churches, child-care facilities and other areas where children gather.
Yeah, that law makes sense. Just like the current fad of "outing" such offenders online, or posting their mug shots in the neighborhoods where they get released.

Look: A sex offender by definition is one who's been caught. Many, if not most, of the ones who do time can't be fully rehabilitated. They need watching, pure and simple. And they absolutely need access to the support systems everyone else has to ensure they're at the lowest possible risk of reoffending.

These guys probably aren't the problem! They're trying to comply with the conditions of laws that would be regarded as unfair if imposed on many other classes of offender.

What's needed isn't exclusion. What's needed is a way to ensure that these guys can return to the community in safety, or conversely where the risk of re-offence is unacceptably high, what's needed is a mechanism to keep them under direct and constant supervision.

And that's why the Stephen Harper Conservative Government of Canada™ pisses me off. They're trying to kick over one of the few frail anti-re-offence agencies that exist. Wish I could find the link to that, dammit ... It was right here a minute ago. They've apparently chopped funding to one of the few working sex-offender post-release counselling-and-treatment outfits. I'll keep looking.

But in any case, the Stephen Harper Conservative Government of Canada™ has an embarrassingly fluffy relationship with the desperately disfunctional US prison system.

The problem is the fundamental difference in perception. Canadians regard the purpose of prison as an attempt at rehabilitation. A machine which turns crooks into citizens (albeit at a very low rate).

US Republicans and the Stephen Harper Conservative Government of Canada™ (if that's not a redundancy) see prisons as a massive private machine where inmates=profit, and rehab and trying to open doors gives way to punishment and training the thugs to damn well stay in their place.

Nonethless, Public Safety caveman Peter van Loan asserts that such places will "return people to the community better able to live law-abiding lives." Despite the fact that it doesn't work. Hasn't worked in the US, and--surprise!--Hasn't worked here.

Note: Yes, I know the government said privatization isn't on the table. Let's consider this like adults, shall we?

Stephen Harper, alleged economist either mistook or lied outright when he claimed there wasn't a recession coming. Immediately after winning his second minority, he said strong measures had to be taken to blunt its impact.

Stephen Harper passed a law saying an election had to be held, was mandatory, this October. Last year he broke his own law (As a lawbreaker himself, doesn't he worry about being carted off to a US-style jail?).

So this government isn't known for what you'd call "frankness". Drop the "f" and you'd be about right. Their ideology calls for privatization of public functions, without regard to inconvieniences like "facts" or "reality."

You want to know where opposition to relaxing marijuana laws comes from in the US? Three guesses and the first two don't count. When prisoners=profit, sacrifices have to be made, eh? Sometimes human sacrifices.

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