Tough on crime will likely lead to more crime, bigger deficit: report

November 17, 2010

OTTAWA - The Harper governmentís tough on crime agenda will likely increase the incidence of crime and the deficit, says a new report released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

The report, by CCPA Research Associate Paula Mallea, analyses the financial and human costs of the tough on crime agenda and concludes it is wrong-headed, expensive, and counter-productive.

"There is no crime epidemic, despite what the Harper government says" Mallea says. "According to Statistics Canada, crime rates have been trending down for over twenty years. This includes the violent crime rate."

The report explains that tough measures do not produce public safe­ty. Longer sentences, harsher prison conditions and the incarceration of more Canadians will return the system to a time when prisons were extremely violent, and when the end result was more rather than less crime.

In addition, the governmentís crime legislation will cost taxpayers billions. A single piece of legislation costed out by the Parliamentary Budget Officer was estimated at upwards of $5 billion. This will more than double the budget for Corrections in Canada over five years. The additional dozens of proposed laws will have similar extraordinary cumulative effects on the budget.

"Tough on Crime is actually Lazy on Crime. It is certainly Tough on Taxpayers. A better ap­proach is to be Thoughtful on Crime or Smart on Crime," says Mallea.

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For more information contact Kerri-Anne Finn, CCPA Senior Communications Officer, at 613-563-1341 x306.