Thursday, November 22, 2007

Fortress Canada

“This is our future,” he said of the rising incarceration rate. “I sometimes think this agenda is about building more prisons.”

Jones said he’s been told some prisons already hold 40 per cent more inmates than they were designed for.

On any given day in 2005-06, an average of 33,123 adults and 1,987 youth were in custody in federal and provincial jails and federal prisons in Canada.

Although Canada tends to jail people at a higher rate than most western European countries, it is far behind the United States.

Sweden posted an incarceration rate of 82 per 100,000 population in 2005-06, and France, 85.

By comparison, the U.S. adult rate was 738.

Jones said the Conservative government’s proposals for more minimum sentences, tougher bail and an end to conditional sentences are following a U.S. lead.

“There’s a definite American cast to this,” he said. “They’re just going to focus on security.”