Friday, August 1, 2008

Lies, damn lies, and statistics

I have been meaning to look into the crime statistics for sometime. I wanted to examine the reports that crime is falling. I wanted to check if this was true for violent crime and more specifically youth crime.

Well it seems that Lorrie Goldstein has done most of this already in his commentary published in the Sun chain of newspapers today.

The central thrust of his thesis is that crime is way up if you look at the historical trends since crime statistics have been tracked. That is, look back to 1962.

My parents, and grandparents have said this for years, but they are old crotchety smelly old people so they always think that the crime is up. Old people are afraid of the “young thugs”. Turns out they were right.

Perhaps the most telling part of the entire commentary was this quote lifted from a Liberal Solicitor General to the House way back in 1971. Jean-Pierre Goyer was complaining about the high cost of keeping criminals incarcerated. Something present day Liberals and left wing people use as an argument against the Conservative “Tackling Violent Crime” bill.

Mr. Goyer said "The present situation results from the fact that (the) protection of society has received more emphasis than the rehabilitation of inmates. Consequently, we have decided from now on to stress the rehabilitation of offenders, rather than the protection of society."

Yikes. I am sure this is somehow taken out of context :)


spike said...

CNews 01/08/08
Is Canada a more dangerous country than crime statistics indicate?
Yes. 66%
No. 34%
Total Votes for this Question: 2583

Anonymous said...

As a youth correctional officer, let me give you guys an insider view of the YCJA, programming, and rehabilitation.

I am one of many Correctional Officers in a Young Offender facility in Ontario; or at least we USED to be. During the last Government's tenure we saw our job titles changed to "Youth Services Officer". That tells you exactly what our current and former provincial and federal Liberal Government's attitude is and was towards young offenders; that they be "serviced".

We are are not even allowed to refer to them as "young offenders" when we write out and report them for in-facility infractions and incidents. Now they are "young persons", and the word "criminal" or "offender", which is exactly what they are, is forgotten for fear of damaging their already tender sensibilities.

Our use of force training in no longer provided. Now it is U.M.A.B., "understanding and managing aggressive behavior." We have our officers being continuously investigated and disciplined for defending themselves and we face threats and assaults on a daily basis from these poor, disadvantaged "young persons". A simple allegation of physical abuse by a young offender who is a murderer or a rapist, even made by one known to falsely accuse in the past, can turn the life of an officer and his family upsidedown, because these are vulnerable "young persons" in need of protection.

We have people running our institutions that have absolutley no experience dealing with young offenders in an instiutional setting, making it very difficult if not impossible to empathize with us and see these issues from our points of view.

Right now, we know the public is outraged at the coddling that young offenders are receiving in this pathetic excuse of a justice system. I tell you, for the most part the public and the people only know a minuscle fraction of the outrageous coddling that goes on in these facilities in the name of "justice, rehabilitation, and detterence". If the public and ESPECIALLY the victims knew the true extent (and I and many others have many memories and experiences of such numerous instances), they would practically go insane at the thought and the justifications Ministry officials give to support all this coddling of people who have destroyed whole families. It is too bad that I cannot give any specific examples, because we have to protect the right to privacy of these criminal thugs, while their victims try to rebuild their lives.

More and more stories are being reported of these young criminals; some of them robbers, rapists, and murderers serving jokes of a sentence and being released to live out the rest of their young lives; totally unconcerned and unfazed by the havoc they have wrought in their victim's lives. I speak from personal experience when I say that all most of them are concerned about when they are put in jail is getting out and getting on with THEIR lives. I have witnessed countless times how these unrepentant thugs manipulate the system to their advantage while many of the people who support the perpetuation of this system either look the other way, or are willfully blind to their machinations.

Too many of these repeat young offenders are receiving "alternative measures" in sentencing, and its a big joke to them as they get ready to move on to adult jails, glorifying thier "graduation". Repeat offenders that are eventually brought to a judge are often given non-custody sentences or just let off in the "care" of their dubious parents. Do you have any idea how many of these young offenders breach the conditions of these laughable sentences? Based on experience, I'd wager over 90% of the ones that finally receive custody sentences and come into our jurisdiction have breaches among their charges.

More and more are guilty of violent crimes. More and more are joining gangs, both in jail and out. They don't care about counselling, they don't care about rehabilitation. They don't care about victims left in their wake. Hell, they don't even care if they go to jail, because they know for a fact that it is a collosal joke before they move on to the adult system.

Realistically speaking and based on experience, I know we are only very rarely helping these young offenders; especially the violent and entrenched ones. The way the system is set up now is failing. There is no bite to it, and it is seen as a huge joke by those offenders going through it. I hear them laughting about it all the time, every day making light of rehabilitative attempts by the Ministry. They speak all the time of taking programs only to shorten their sentences as they make their "plans" for when they are released. And if THEY think the current Act is pathetic, then you KNOW we have a problem. They are the LAST ones that should not be taking the justice system seriously.

And with that being the case, how do you think the victims of these thugs feel when they go to court and see these laughable sentences handed down to the scum that ruined their lives? Many times we are the escorting officers for these offenders when they attend sentencing hearings. Listening to the cries of dismay from victims and family members when they hear about the sentencing makes me question sometimes why I do what I do.

As I've stated, if the public in general only knew the whole true extent, they'd be frothing at the mouths. For example, we are seeing our use of force policy changing and being watered down so much, it can't even be called that anymore. Our Insitutional Crisis Intervention Teams are slowly being phased out in order to create a more so-called compassionate and caring environment. Our restraint policies are now being written by people that have spent not one day on the front lines seeing if stuff like this will work in an institutional setting. I've tried it, I know it doesn't work.

All this is a recipe for cynicism for the people like me working on the front line, dealing everyday with these unrepentant and smirking criminals, who in reality if not practice, are the ones in charge. We know this system is not having the affect it should. We know that our management is unsupportive much of the time. However, the one thing we know for sure is that we have other. And THAT is why we keep doing what we do; not for any misguided notion that we are helping these pampered and coddled thugs, but for the brother or sister standing next to us.

So is building more facilities and jailing them longer the right idea? Will it help stop youth crime? Maybe, maybe not. But one thing is for certain. It will take these thugs off the streets and make them safer.

AnonymousCoward said...

Sir, that is a great commentary you have written here.

I applaud the difficult work you are doing in this critical area.

Just being honest said...

Anon at 4:59, thank you for you patience, dedication and incredible restraint in the performance of your duties. I don't know if I could continue working in the environment you describe. I'd be mighty tempted to start "slapping people upside the head"; offenders, policy makers and their political masters. Why, oh why do we keep electing these PC eunuchs?

Anonymous said...

"As a youth correctional officer, let me give you guys an insider view of the YCJA, programming, and rehabilitation " First hand evidence such as this is lacking in the public discourse. Instead the evidence submitted to Parliamentary committees comes from political activists and interest groups looking for government grants. My hat is off to you sir for speaking up