Soft On Crime? Tough On Crime?

Posted: February 11, 2012 by Ed Griffin in Reform
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Am I soft on crime? No. Restorative Justice calls for the justice system to restore the victim, the offender and society. Restorative JusticeAll points are important. My particular work is with the offender.

Think about that – restore the offender. That means the history in the person’s mind has to be explored and his or her ideas have to be changed. And change is always hard work. Right now a person is sentenced to sit on their ass for X number of years in a cage. What good does that do? Let’s say a man breaks into a house to steal money, so he can buy drugs. There’s a lot of work ahead:

  • First of all, he has to overcome addiction, a very significant battle.Robber
  • He has to make whole the people whose house he broke into. More than likely, their insurance went up
  • He must go into his psyche and his history and find out why he does what he does.

We in the public think this kind of work happens in prison. It doesn’t.  We need helping structures with very trained people to accomplish these things. Expensive? Yes, but cheaper than more crime and cheaper that the $100 dollars a day for twenty years that it takes to keep a man in prison for that time. That’s damn near a million bucks.

And for the offender, he has to do the hardest of things – change.

“But,” the public says, “Don’t corrections do that, help the inmate?” No, corrections don’t correct, they often make things worse, but that’s another post.

We’ve been soft on crime, we’ve been tough on crime. When are we going to be smart on crime?


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  1. It’s that $100 a day and what could be done with it that really gets to me, Ed. The trouble is that it is in the interests of huge corporations to keep things just the way they are. If money was pumped into structures that actually cut down recividist crime, these corporations would lose money. It is so hard to fight these huge machines – it’s like David and Goliath. All one can do is keep going and hope, now that social media is here and is bound to become more organised in years to come, to create a ground swell that will eventually improve things.

  2. Joanne says:

    Thanks for this post Ed. I wholeheartedly agree with you! I find it so sad when I see so many prisoners who have decided that they want to make a change but are not supported in doing so because the system is not set up for it. On the other hand, there are others who are lucky enough–time and place and offence–to get the treatment they need and go on to lead productive lives, even after a number of past failed attempts. Getting people to examine the reasons for their behaviour works for many! The system needs to put more empahsis on fixing what is broken, rather than sweeping the shards under the rug where people will hopefully forget about them.

    • Ed Griffin says:

      Thanks, Joanne,
      Good insights on your part. I know an old prisoner who is being ‘swept under the rug’ as you said. While out on parole, he broke a minor rule and immediately turned himself in. Instead of helping the old man learn, they simply threw him back in prison.

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