Cannabis News


Crime and Punishment SERIES


Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Author: Dan Gardner, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Spring 2002
Copyright: 2003 The Ottawa Citizen
Contact: [email protected]

Supporters say longer sentences and harsher prison conditions are the best way to cut crime. But does getting 'tough on crime' really work? And what are the costs of soaring prison populations? The Citizen's Dan Gardner traveled to four countries to answer these questions.

Tough love or tough luck?

He's 70 years old, he looks remarkably like Andy Rooney's younger brother, and he's not very happy about where the world is heading. But Jerry Miller isn't the sort of senior citizen who grumbles about "young punks" and the crimes they commit. In fact, what bothers Mr. Miller are the politicians, journalists and victims' rights activists who think communities can be made safer by getting tough on young offenders. Full Story

Selling the 'boot camp' myth

Five years after it set up Canada's first boot camp for young offenders, the Ontario government claims the "strict discipline" approach has been such a success it plans to convert other juvenile and adult correctional institutions into boot camps. But the province's claims of success are groundless: There is no evidence Project Turnaround, the boot camp opened near Barrie in 1997, is more effective than existing facilities for young offenders at reforming teenaged criminals. Full Story

Behind bars

One evening last spring I took a walk on the famous streets of San Francisco, looking for a little solace. It had been an exhausting week of travel and research -- not just physically exhausting, but morally.  Full Story

Bars and Stripes

In the early afternoon at Avenal State Prison, inmates wait to be let out into the exercise yard under the blistering central California sun.  Full Story

Law and disorder

Unlike the Canadian system, criminal law in the U.S. is a matter of state jurisdiction, with some exceptions (drug offences and inter-state crimes, for example, fall under federal law). As a result, the U.S. has not one criminal justice system, but 51 (counting the federal level). Both laws and punishments vary, sometimes widely, from state to state.  Full Story

Why getting tough on crime failed in the U.S.
Late last year, Statistics Canada released a comparison of crime in Canada and the United States which showed, perhaps not surprisingly, that the United States suffers much higher levels of serious violent crime than Canada.  Full Story


Maxim Maslov stands on the bank of St. Petersburg's famous River Neva, but his back is turned to the water and the grand historical buildings that line the far shore. Instead, he stares intently across a busy four-lane highway to a tiny window in the massive prison known as Kresty.  Full Story

Why Finland is soft on crime

In a classroom thick with wigs, sinks and barber chairs, a man sprays water through a woman's sudsy hair and works his fingers carefully to rinse the shampoo.  Full Story

More enforcement, not harsher penalties
For at least the last 20 years, drunk driving in Canada has been attacked with a combination of public education, spot checks, and increased criminal punishments, including imprisonment.  Full Story

Why no one knows what is the recidivism rate
We want the justice system to rehabilitate or deter offenders from committing new crimes after they are released. So knowing the rate at which offenders commit new crimes after being released is crucial. Full Story

Rooms with a view: Part One

Sunshine pours down on a cluster of modest townhouses, drawing the residents outside to engage in the rituals that typically greet the first warm day of spring.  Full Story

Rooms with a view: Part Two
The Liberals' inconsistency on crime and punishment is, in an odd sense, quite democratic: The feelings of the Canadian public are far from consistent. Full Story

Hard time in Ontario, American-style

Just as the Empire State building stands as a pure expression of Art Deco, so the Maplehurst Correctional Complex embodies the ideals of the new American school of prison architecture. Full Story

Anatomy of a criminal
Guy Ritchie is articulate and thoughtful, his sport coat and sweater the natural choice of a soft-spoken professor. No one would think this slight, middle-aged man is a convicted second-degree murderer. Full Story

Tough Time: Part One
One of the toughest prisons on the planet stands in a 275-acre clearing in a lush forest, about a day's drive north of San Francisco, at the end of a narrow highway that winds through magnificent redwoods and Pacific vistas of stunning beauty.  Full Story

Tough Time: Part Two
Crowding and violence also appear to go hand in hand, which presents a challenge to the tough-on-crime approach.  Full Story


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