So the Tories are closing a couple of prisons, including the Kingston Pen which has been in operation since 1835. Now I’ve never been in the Kingston Pen, but I have to imagine a penitentiary built 175 years ago, to the standards of the day, probably does not offer the latest in modern conveniences. In fact one imagines a bucket in the corner, a straw mattress on the floor, and a crust of bread and cup of water being the daily rations. Obviously it has been seriously upgraded but it’s still 175 years old and there’s only so much you can do to a crumbling pile of bricks and mortar.
All of which is to say that I have no idea whether closing the Kingston Pen is a good idea or not.
But what I did find interesting was this observation in the body of the news item.
Mr. Toews said the Tories are closing the prisons in part because the increase in jailed population expected from new harsher crime laws has not materialized.
He said the rise in inmate numbers has even fallen short of his own department's estimates.
Or put in mathematical terms:
tougher laws + minimum sentences ≠ more prisoners
So what does this mean?
Maybe tougher laws didn’t increase the number of convictions for Stock Day’s infamous unreported crimes.
Perhaps the police and the courts weren’t really just handing out slaps on the wrists and turning violent offenders loose after all.
Or maybe, just maybe the Harper Cons’ tough on crime legislation was, and is, nothing but crass political pandering to their red-meat base which will have little or no impact on crime in this country.