Double-bunking in prisons not a problem for Vic Toews

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Thursday, July 12 – Globe and Mail

ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews says he has no problem with the number of federal inmates sharing cells built for one.

And even as he reiterated his commitment to building 2,700 new cells in existing prison facilities, he said those additional units aren’t meant to alleviate the pressures caused by double-bunking – because there’s no need.

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Tory ‘tough on crime’ bill has youth advocates worried

Frontenac Youth Diversion Program Executive Director Daren Dougall, in Kingston, Ont.
(Photo by Harrison Smith/The Globe and Mail)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 – Globe and Mail
ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

The idea behind Canada’s current strategy to fight youth crime was deceptively simple: Put teens in jail if you have to, but only if you have to.

It was supposed to strike a balance between two competing anxieties: that young people were committing heinous crimes and not being punished appropriately; and that locking up impressionable teens created criminals who would spend the rest of their lives bouncing in and out of the penal system.

“There was considerable concern around whether the balance was quite right in terms of protection of the public and rehabilitation,” says Anne McLellan, the Liberal justice minister who brought in the Youth Criminal Justice Act in the late 1990s.

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The young convicts of Canada’s ‘Criminal University’

 

“It’s like Criminal University,” says Oluwasegun Akinsanya. “All you do in jail is sit down and talk – what he did, what he did, what he did. You realize, ‘Hey, that’s an opportunity.’ You learn from their mistakes. You’ll come back and do a better version.”
(Photo by J.P. Moczulski for the Globe and Mail)

Monday, July 18, 2011 – Globe and Mail
ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

Canada incarcerates more convicted youth than almost any similarly industrialized country.

And new federal crime legislation is poised to drive those numbers higher, even though imprisoned teens are statistically less likely to get jobs after they’re released and, if anything, are more likely to reoffend.

Years after enacting laws that have been successful in reducing youth incarceration rates, Canada still sends five times more of its convicted teens into custody than England and Wales, according to data obtained from the British justice ministry and Statistics Canada’s justice arm.

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