Laws that will fill our prisons is not the answer

Recently, on “The Current” I heard an interview with Eric Sterling, the man who drafted the legislation for mandatory minimum sentences

To the Editor:

Recently, on “The Current” on CBC I heard an interview with Eric Sterling, the man who drafted the U.S. legislation for mandatory minimum sentences.  He now feels that it leads to a great deal of injustice.  He and two dozen criminal justice professionals are imploring the Harper government not to make the same mistakes.

Robert Sampson was also interviewed.  He was the Corrections Minister of Ontario under Mike Harris.  He drafted a review for Stockwell Day and many of his recommendations are included in Bill C-10.  His defense of the bill was disturbing to say the least.  He made the incredible statement that prisoners weren’t getting a long enough sentence to become rehabilitated.

The Harper government squawks about not getting legislation through as fast as they’d like it to and then they put nine or more bills together making one huge bill, and expect it to pass with hardly enough time to read it let alone discuss it and its ramifications.

I looked it up and scanned over it. It covers everything: incest, bestiality, criminal records, national defense, youth criminal justice, prisons and reformations, international transfers of offenders, human rights, immigration and refugee protection, terrorism – (to quote the bill – “hundreds of Canadians have been murdered or injured in terrorist attacks” and “the purpose of the Act is to deter terrorism by allowing the victims to sue the perpetrators” (yep, that’ll do it)., and drugs.  Again to quote, “The amount of the substance means the entire amount…..or the whole of any plant that contains a detectable amount of the substance.”  The sentence?  Imprisonment for a term of six months if the number of plants produced is more than five.

This bill will be law in a short time.  This and Bill C-30, the internet spy bill as it’s being called, and we’ve got Big Brother right here in our midst.

 

Donna Stocker, Cawston