Cruelty, not Sociology

Some say we are ignoring prevention. Some say we are focusing on punishment, not treatment. Mr. Speaker, in my family where I grew up, the punishment was the prevention. It is indelibly linked in my backside that the punishment is the prevention. I do believe that anyone who suggests that suitable punishment is not a form of prevention is living in some kind of psychological fantasyland.

Contrast with what Winnipeg's Police Chief has to say:

"The current situation we see many indigenous individuals in is part of a past. We have to have that difficult conversation and say 'what's happened in the past' and what we're seeing is a reflection of the past in the current context, so what do we need to rectify that," Clunis said.

"We need to have those conversations. I think sometimes people simply feel (indigenous) people choose to be a drunk on Main Street or they choose to be involved in the sex trade. No. We need to have those specific conversations and say why those individuals are living in those conditions."

So what he says here is "yes, actually, we do not give one shit about crime prevention." Because the only fantasyland is 1) believing that the criminal justice system is just a "spanking" and 2) ignoring decades of research that show harsher penalties are a near total failure at reducing crime.

Decade after decade of crime stats and sociology show that crime is caused by a whole complex slate of problems, chief among them poverty, disempowerment, and colonialism. And by now everyone knows that sending people to jail just increases their hostility to civil society, limits their ability to get employment, and leads to more serious crime.

That's what he means by a "spanking"—sending someone into a self-fulfilling criminal spiral.

Aren't we sick of politicians who think simple, political slogans are an adequate response to the complex realities of life, crime, and community?

And like so often, Pallister takes his own life and experience as the start and end of what he things about policy. Is it too much to hope for political leadership that understands and cares about the experiences, needs, and situations of all Manitobans? "If it was good enough for me!" isn't ethical or effective politics.

Is there more shit? Damn right there's more shit!

Subscribe to