6 months for 1 pot plant?

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saga saga's picture
6 months for 1 pot plant?

http://cannabisfacts.ca/mandatoryminimums_chart.html

Well that's the last straw!!

This groovygranny is growing a HUGE pot plant in my front yard this summer, taking a great big picture of me with it, with my reading glasses and a walking stick (for the 'thritis & muggers), and a shot of tequila for the chill, and a pointy old finger, and blowing it up to a poster and sending it to Stephen Harper with a note:

COME AND GET ME FUCKER!!!

Then I'm going to paste that on billboards everywhere.

Who's in?

Oh wait ... we'll use smokin maryjane ...

http://img1.photographersdirect.com/img/14...wm/pd768975.jpg

--------------------
Never set your sites so low that your view is blocked by an asshole.

  

saga saga's picture

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

It is extremely disturbing that they seem to have made absolutely no distinction between growing for strictly personal use (say 1 to 10 plants) and commercial operations.

Sven Sven's picture

Lard Tunderin' Jeezus wrote:
It is extremely disturbing that they seem to have made absolutely no distinction between growing for strictly personal use (say 1 to 10 plants) and commercial operations.

Unless I'm missing something, the chart on the link provided by saga specifically says (in bold italics): "for the purpose of trafficking".

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

Sven Sven's picture

What I think is actually even more "extremely disturbing" is that pot is illegal under any circumstance.

Jail time for pot is just insane.  We tried that in the '20s with alcohol and it failed miserably.  In a world with many real problems, why do we insist on creating imaginary problems?

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

What you're missing is how the hell can you call 1 plant trafficking?  Seriously, can you think of a scenario where someone could be "trafficking" with one plant?

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Sven wrote:

What I think is actually even more "extremely disturbing" is that pot is illegal under any circumstance.

Jail time for pot is just insane.  We tried that in the '20s with alcohol and it failed miserably.  In a world with many real problems, why do we insist on creating imaginary problems?

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

 

As much as I'm for legalization, in the absence of it, they do need some laws as the grow-op industry has many problems and associated crime.

Sven Sven's picture

RevolutionPlease wrote:
What you're missing is how the hell can you call 1 plant trafficking?  Seriously, can you think of a scenario where someone could be "trafficking" with one plant?

Well, if the only evidence was one pot plant growing in someone's yard, then it would be impossible to prove "trafficking".  But, if the authorities could also prove that you were trying to sell weed from that plant to others, then it would be "trafficking".  The essential element is the sale of weed to others...not the fact that a person has a single pot plant in their yard.

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

Sven Sven's picture

RevolutionPlease wrote:

As much as I'm for legalization, in the absence of it, they do need some laws as the grow-op industry has many problems and associated crime.

What kind of laws, specifically?  The reason there is crime associated with drugs is that they are illegal.  I'm not sure what laws could be passed to alleviate crime while keeping drugs illegal.

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

I guess I missed the point there Sven, sorry.  If it is was legal, those issues would likely go away.

 

 

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Quote:
Well, if the only evidence was one pot plant growing in someone's yard, then it would be impossible to prove "trafficking".  But, if the authorities could also prove that you were trying to sell weed from that plant to others, then it would be "trafficking".  The essential element is the sale of weed to others...not the fact that a person has a single pot plant in their yard.

There is the word of the law, Sven, and then there is the enforcement and practice. If I own a oz of weed, say, and I divide it up into four bags, one for this month, one for next, and one for each subsequent month before I get my next oz, sort of like budgeting money by placing dollars in enevelopes, the police would say I am trafficking and the evidence would be the separate bags. Now maybe I could or couldn't beat that rap with a lawyer, but good legal representation remains a luxury of those who can afford it.

I think what shoud be taken from the chart in OP is just how fucked up and, sorry Sven, culturally Ameircan our current government is: more jails - fewer shcools; less crime prevention - more medieval sentencing.

And at the end of the road in both countries, is well connected business people planning to profit from prison contracts.  

ETA: The failing economy might short circuit any plans for tougher sentencing as tax revenues decline (yes, no dollars for health care and day care but seemingly always dollars for concrete, steel, and bars).

George Victor

 

Yer too much, Saga!Laughing

Sven Sven's picture

Frustrated Mess wrote:

And at the end of the road in both countries, is well connected business people planning to profit from prison contracts.

The influence of a few businesses who construct or run prisons is overstated.  The actual problem is that a significant portion of society views drugs as "bad" and legislatures respond with "tough drug laws".  Whether a prison to house drug convicts is privately constructed and operated or is operated by the state is an after-thought.  Either way, the state pays the bill (it's just that the bill is usually less when a private enterprise runs a prison).

Frustrated Mess wrote:

ETA: The failing economy might short circuit any plans for tougher sentencing as tax revenues decline (yes, no dollars for health care and day care but seemingly always dollars for concrete, steel, and bars).

That parenthetical statement doesn't mesh with the first part of the sentence (will the failing economy short-circuit tougher drug law or will there "always" be dollars available for jails?).

I think an example of the economy short-circuiting tougher drug laws is being seen in California.  The highly-regulated California econmy is in the shitter and several legislators are openly arguing to legalizing pot because it would provide a significant tax revenue stream for the state.

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Quote:
The influence of a few businesses who construct or run prisons is overstated.  The actual problem is that a significant portion of society views drugs as "bad" and legislatures respond with "tough drug laws".  Whether a prison to house drug convicts is privately constructed and operated or is operated by the state is an after-thought.  Either way, the state pays the bill (it's just that the bill is usually less when a private enterprise runs a prison).

Please, Sven. One, you live in the country where lobbyists are King (here they are Crown Princes) and second, it is no mere coincidence that Conservaive efforts to establish "tough on crime" policies always follow or march along with efforts to privatze prisons and prison services. I still recall Reagan taking $300 million from schools and putting it in to prisons and then the ensuing stories about prisoners becoming cheap labour for global corporations even while workers being laid off and often by the same companies.

Quote:
That parenthetical statement doesn't mesh with the first part of the sentence (will the failing economy short-circuit tougher drug law or will there "always" be dollars available for jails?).

Perhaps I should have said that among conseravtive governments, cops, prisons. armies, and guns (violence) are always higher priorities than health, education, and culture (peace). Always. Every single time.

Quote:
I think an example of the economy short-circuiting tougher drug laws is being seen in California.

Yes, I was thinking of that when I made my earlier comment.

Sven Sven's picture

FM, I don't doubt that the prison industry has influence (even significant influence) in this country.  But, I think it's too far fetched for me to believe that it's the predominant reason for the USA's drug policy.  It's the same damned thing that drove Prohibition 90 years ago (i.e., puritan views of drugs).

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

I didn't say it was the "the predominant reason for the USA's drug policy". I did imply it was the predominant reason for the USA's prison (three strikes, mandatory sentencing, longer sentencing, etc ...) policy.

The predominant reason for the USA's drug policy is to have a "boogey man" readily available in between global evils upon which the USA may pour billions of dollars of taxpayer money and rally the good citizens around even while their schools and sidewalks crumble.

Note since the "War against Islam ... er, Terror", the war on drugs has taken a back burner but simmers for when it once more needs to be put on boil. 

When was the last time your nation hasn't been involved in a war on something, Sven? Has it never occured to Americans that an essential ingredient to every successful cult is a permanent and existential threat? Ask Jim Jones about it.

 

Sven Sven's picture

Well, let me put it this way: If the puritanical obsession with drugs were to disappear today, then that would result in an abrupt end to drug convictions (and hence for need to build more prisons to house drug convicts).  But, if the puritanical obsession with drugs is to remain unabated, then the prison building will continue on without a hiccup, even if the prison industry were to completely and immediately stop lobbying.  I just think you put too much blame on the "prison industry" and not enough blame on the puritans in society who urgently demand that legislatures get "tough on drugs".

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

But see, I think that the prison system would have continued to grow even without drugs. You have to view the entire "law and order" agenda within a full context. Conservatives who most often promote tougher sentences, zero tolerances, and throw-away-the-keys agendas, also usually cut funding to youth programs, harm reduction programs, addiction programs, women's support networks and programs, education and continuing education and a whole host other programs that helps to prevent people from becoming victims of crime or committing crimes in the first place.

It is not enough to build prisons they must also be populated and the most efficient way of popualting is to remove the supports from at risk communities and send in the cops with a "get tough" mandate and send the netful of fish to stand before judges bound by law to issue stiff sentences and off to prison. Meanwhile, an underpayed over worked public defender doesn't appeal not because there isn't a case but because the cost and probability are stacked against one.

I mean Sven, have you ever seen the painting American Gothic? What are the plants in the background? I think we have to look at the full picture to truly appreciate what is in it.

Sven Sven's picture

Yes, I've seen American Gothic:

 

What about the plants in the background? 

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Forget it ...

Sven Sven's picture

Frustrated Mess wrote:
Forget it ...

I'm still curious about the plants in the background of "American Gothic"... 

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

mybabble

Is it for medical use?  Most of us throughout our lives are going to need some form of pain relief whether it be a prescription from the doctor, natural through home remedy as it our Right to choice what works for us.  Many people use it to help them get to sleep, eat, along with depression and pain and nausea to just name a few.  It actually helps in the healing process for some sickness.  In Surrey they have a Clinic that will help you with your much needed prescription for medical use only if you have an aliment and they also have a distribution.  Certainly would put a damper on them harassing the guy with their prescription from the doctor, as there is a city full of people on some medication of some sort or other.  Its the society we live in, feel good. 

You would be amazed at the number who find it effective pain relief and sleep relief as they are forced to use unnatural, synthetic drugs often very harmful as you never hear the horror stories of using the herb that you do from those Drug Company's and their drugs gone bad as its about that simple just a prescription away as even the pharmacies have a synthetic one that sucks and the cost is over 5 hundred for the month and highly addictive.  So its pretty much your right to possess to grow to cook to eat to smoke to apply as ointment without fear of harassment from the law if its your medicine.  Just tell the officers their specialized services are needed downtown to ticket the Poor as your just a bit under the weather and need to lay down and take your meds.  And of course sorry there was a misunderstanding for sure and have a Good Day which is really have a Bad Day as they catch all the Bad guys and thats a Good thing.  I got a better idea why not ticket the Rich at least they have money and God only knows and the VPD the Rich are always breaking the law because they don't think it applies to them.  Because it sure and  can't be Crime Free despite Stats when you got gangsters dropping like flies because of their crime involvement.  

So Get Off The Pot Law and Get On The Crime is that what you were meaning?  I hear violence is up, and not just with Cops but also with families and couples as their finances put stresses on relationships that are hard to beat.  And child abuse is also on the rise because of the use of hard drugs, and social upheaval so lots of other things that could be done that would be much appreaciated.  Break and entries how about those?  I imagine in times such as these crime will also escalate as more and more find themselves on the down and out.  Its not like the police can help you there as they come after the fact?  Catch the villian?  You tell me?  And once they had him, they let him GO, Crime Free?

mybabble

Heres what pot smoking Canadian want:

Jail time for politicians.

Jail time for officers.

Jail time for insiders.

Jail time for lobbyist.

Jail time for coporation heads.

Jail time for those who turn a blind eye yet it is their job, whats that called an accomplish or better yate the VPD as women on the East will never forget as women still regularly go missing.  How many tickets do you think officers handed out to the poor say in the last five years?  And especially now when City Hall has officers riding residents despite knowing they are a Cold and Callous lot? 

FrankD

This letter does a good job of laying out the case against Bill C-15 [emphasis mine]...

http://www.citizen.on.ca/news/2009/0319/mailbox/017.html

Open letter to parliament - No on C-15
March 18, 2009
Published Letter
Orangeville Citizen (ON)

Bill C-15 is a dangerous and radical change in Canadian drug policy that will further enrich gangsters, create more violence on our streets and assuredly fail to reduce either the demand for, or the availability of, drugs in our society.

This statement may seem bold. But it is backed by the preponderance of available science. Comprehensive studies published by the Senate of Canada, the Canadian Department of Justice, the European Commission, the US Congressional Research Service, the Fraser Institute, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Rand Corporation all support the view that mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offences are useless at best. At worst, these policies will increase the dangers associated with the drug markets and, therefore, the chaos created on our streets.

The types of mandatory sentences contained in Bill C-15 have been utter failures in the United States. There is no evidence that harsher penalties affect drug use rates or the supply of drugs on the streets. Nor do such sentences appear to deter prohibition-related violence. Instead of seeing success from its mandatory sentencing policies, the United States has become the world's largest jailer with 1 in every 99 adults is in custody. The United States has 5% of the worlds population and 25% of the world's prisoners. Many of those persons are serving time for non-violent drug offences. Bottom line: the United States has some of the harshest sentencing regimes in the nontotalitarian world while also suffering from the highest rates of drug use, the highest violent crime rates and the richest, most powerful gangs. Instead of serving a positive purpose, Bill C-15 will increase the power of organized crime and the violence associated with the illegal drug markets.

Indeed, the very idea of mandatory minimum sentences relies on assumptions that are simply false. There is no evidence of any deterrent effect on organized criminals: these people are already willing to risk arrest, prosecution, incarceration and, indeed, a violent death from other criminals in order to make the huge profits associated with high-level drug trafficking. There is no evidence of deterrent effect on streetlevel dealers: these people are often addicted to the substances they sell and commit the crime out desperation driving by their addiction to very expensive drugs. Worse, while Bill C-15 purports to target "serious" drug offences, its terms apply to even very minor offences such as growing a single marijuana plant. This helps no one in our society.

Increasing the risk (harsher sentences) associated with a behaviour (drug crime) only prevents that behaviour so long as the benefit (profit) stays the same. In the case of drug sales, harsher sentencing may increase the street price and therefore the profit of dealing drugs. This phenomenon of prohibition guarantees that the supply of individuals who will commit these crimes is virtually unlimited.

The drug wars in Mexico and Vancouver only serve to exemplify these issues. Latin America generally, and Mexico specifically, have been the focus of intense interdiction efforts for decades, yet cocaine is still as available as ever. What has changed is simply that drug lords now control vast swaths of territory. Afghanistan is another example: despite a massive military presence, the supply and availability of opium is at record levels, while organized criminals (working for or with the Taliban) control more of the country every year.

Indeed, the evidence is that the prohibition of drugs has been a complete and total failure. Drugs are as available today as they have ever been. Drug use is higher in countries that have harsher sentences and penalties, and lower in countries without such penalties. The only real effect of increasing penalties is increasing prison populations and levels of violence on the streets.

Our teenagers report that it is easier to access illegal substances such as marijuana than regulated substances such as tobacco or alcohol. Why? Because alcohol and tobacco stores (usually) check ID and drug dealers never do. Teenage tobacco smoking rates have decreased due to effective regulation and education, while at the same time teenage marijuana smoking rates have increased because of no regulation and misleading education.

If you vote for C-15 you are guaranteeing higher profits for gangs, more violence on our streets, unregulated access by teenagers, and the continued supply and availability of drugs. Bill C-15 is a step in the wrong direction. Ironically, it comes just as the United States is amending and repealing many of that country's mandatory sentencing regimes. Bill C-15 is not a solution to the problems caused by the prohibition markets.

On the other hand, it is possible to take steps to reduce instead of increase the influence and power of organized crime. A good first step would be to tax and regulate marijuana. Doing so would create tax revenues for government, cause a massive decrease in profits for organized criminal groups, and result in savings to society and government of billions annually. A further benefit would be the regulation of a currently unregulated marketplace, complete with age limits and reasonable time, place and manner restrictions.

Currently, marijuana offences comprise more than three-quarters of all drug crimes. This drains police resources that are better spent elsewhere. Under a regulated market, police would have resources freed up to investigate violent crimes and property offences. This benefits us all. Bill C-15 does nothing to address this problem. Indeed, it makes it worse.

Passing C-15 would be costly and dangerous to Canadians and Canadian society. There is no research or experience that demonstrates this legislation will do anything else. I urge you to prevent the passage of this bill by whatever means possible. Don't endanger Canadians. Don't vote for C- 15.

Jacob Hunter,
jacob@jacobhunter.org

Kirk Tousaw,
kirktousaw@gmail.com

---

 

-FrankD

 

FrankD

A great related document from NDP MP, Libby Davies (Vancouver East)...

- FrankD

***

March, 2009

Background on Bill C-15 by Libby Davies (MP Vancouver East), NDP Spokesperson for Drug Policy

C-15 an Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

This enactment amends the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to provide for minimum penalties for serious drug offences, to increase the maximum penalty for cannabis (marihuana) production, to reschedule certain substances from Schedule III to that Act to Schedule I, and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

C-15 is the reincarnation of Bill C-26 from the 39th Parliament with minor changes that clean up the language of the bill. The NDP agreed with the experts that mandatory minimums for drug crimes don’t work and voted against C-26 at 2nd reading. The Bill passed and was referred to committee at the time of the election call. The new Bill, C-15, is still opposed by the NDP.

Overall Concerns

The Conservatives are selling this Bill as tough on organized crime and big time traffickers. The reality is that mandatory minimums do not deter organized crime. Instead, they affect almost exclusively the small dealers, street-level traffickers, and non-violent offenders while leaving the door open for organized crime to step in and fill the void created by the sweeps at the lower levels. Mandatory minimums for drug sentences increase enforcement costs exponentially, and the burden on the criminal justice and prisons systems is great. Relying almost solely on enforcement will fail here as it has in the U.S.

Mandatory Minimums Don’t Deter Drug Use

* A 2002 Justice Department of Canada report concluded that mandatory minimum sentences (MMS) are least effective in relation to drug offences.

“MMS do not appear to influence drug consumption or drug-related crime in any measurable way. A variety of research methods concludes that treatment-based approaches are more cost effective than lengthy prison terms. MMS are blunt instruments that fail to distinguish between low and high-level, as well as hardcore versus transient drug dealers.”

MANDATORY MINIMUM PENALTIES: Their Effects on Crime, Sentencing Disparities, and Justice System Expenditures, 2002

* The supposed targets for these sentences - the Kingpins – are in the best position to negotiate lighter or no sentence deals with the prosecutors.

* MMS disproportionately target visible minorities. (American Civil Liberties Union)

* Mandatory-sentencing policies have produced record incarceration rates of non-violent drug users in the United States. (HIV/AIDS Legal Network).

* In June 2004, the American Bar Association's Justice Kennedy Commission called on Congress to repeal mandatory minimum sentences stating, "Mandatory minimum sentences tend to be tough on the wrong people,"

* The US Sentencing Commission also concluded that MMS fail to deter crime and reported that that only 11% of federal drug defendants are high-level drug dealers, 59% of crack defendants are street level dealers compared to 5% of defendants who are high level crack dealers. (US Sentencing Commission, Special Report to Congress, 1995).

* The United States is moving away from MMSs:

In 2000, California repealed MMS for minor drug offences (California is now considering regulating marijuana). In 2004, Michigan repealed MMS for most drug offences including repealing the “harshest drug law in the nation”, life without parole, for dealing more that 650 grams of cocaine. Delaware and Massachusetts have similar legislative reviews in process.

A Move Away from Public Health, Prevention and Harm Reduction

Under the Liberals, Canada’s Drug Strategy – in theory at least - focused on a balanced Four Pillar Approach: Prevention, Treatment, Harm Reduction and Enforcement. In Budget 2007, the Conservatives introduced a “New Anti-Drug Strategy for Canada” that removed all references to harm reduction from the strategy and instead put greater emphasis on law enforcement. The Conservatives are moving Canada closer and closer toward an expensive and failed U.S. style war on drugs.

Canada spends 73% of its drug policy budget on enforcement. Still, drug use continues to rise. In 1994 28% of Canadians reported to have used illicit drugs. By 2004, this number was 45%.

Enforcement – 73%

Treatment – 14%

Research – 7%

Prevention – 2.6%

Harm Reduction – 2.6%

Economic Concerns

It will be the provincial police forces, courts, legal-aid and treatment centres that will bear the greatest burden of cost for the initiatives under this bill.

In 2005, the Conservatives promised 1,000 additional RCMP and 2,500 additional municipal police officers which they have failed to deliver.

With 12 of the 24 proposed mandatory sentences under two years in duration, it will be the provincial prison populations that continue to grow. HIV/AIDS advocates worry about the growing rate of infection in overcrowded prisons, while Labour groups and the John Howard Society are speaking out against the likelihood that this and other Conservative crime initiatives are opening the door to the privatization of prisons.

Canada’s prisons are overcrowded and, “boiling over with violence.” (B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union.)

* The annual average cost of incarcerating an individual male in Canada

$110,223 (maximum security level)
$71,640 (medium security level)
$74,431 (minimum security level)

* In 2005/2006 adults in remand for the first time outnumbered convicted offenders serving a sentence in provincial institutions. (Statistics Canada Daily, November 21, 2007)

Canada's first large privately run prison, a 1,200-inmate maximum-security ‘super-jail’ has been deemed a failure and will be taken over by the province.

Drug Treatment Court (DTC)

Treatment programs are desperately inadequate and under-funded. The proposal for a drug treatment court would further lengthen dangerously long wait times for drug treatment. While most users need immediate access to services when they are ready to undergo treatment, current wait times range from weeks to months across the country. According to a Nov. 2007 Toronto Star article, some doctors are trying to get young people with addiction problems into the U.S. for treatment.

This existence of this element of the bill reveals that the real intentions of this Bill are to target low level users and not organized crime.

Forced or coerced treatment doesn’t work.

In the US, DTC options have resulted in a surge of individuals who don’t need treatment going into treatment to avoid mandatory terms. It is a colossal waste of resources.

The NDP has called for

* An overall coordinated strategy focused on gangs and organized crime;
* An improved witness protection program;
* More resources for prosecution and enforcement;
* Toughened proceeds of crime legislation;
* More officers on the street as promised by the Conservatives but not yet delivered; and
* Better and more prevention programs to divert youth-at-risk.

Education and Prevention

Young people must have access to realistic and useful information and resources. Similar to safer sex campaigns, education must include information about being safe if you’re taking drugs, how to seek support if you have an addiction, and not just a lot of commercials about the horrors of drugs. With prevention funding allocated to the RCMP, and $14 million in cuts to the National Crime Prevention Centre, which has delivered community based, realistic youth education programs, it is clear that the conservative focus on prevention and education will be dominated by an enforcement approach.

Reduction and Enforcement

The four-pillar approach has proved successful in cities in the U.S., UK, and Europe. It is based on the four pillars of Prevention, Treatment, Harm Reduction and Enforcement. All pillars are equally important and they must be integrated and jointly implemented to be effective. The Big city Mayors caucus supported the four-pillar approach.

In 2002, the House Special Committee on Non-Medical use of drugs, the Office of Auditor General, and the Senate Committee called for:

* Strengthened leadership, coordination and accountability with dedicated resources
* Enhanced data collection to set measurable objectives, evaluate programs and report on progress
* Balance of supply & demand activities across government
* Increased emphasis on prevention, treatment and rehabilitation

Conclusion

* C-15 increases the already imbalanced and over-funded enforcement approach to drug use in Canada without reducing crime rates or drug use.

* C-15 is an oversimplification of drug use in Canada and targets street level users and small-time traffickers. It does not address the problems of violent or organized crime.

* Conservatives are taking Canada in the wrong direction. A direction that is expensive, has no effect on drug use, and will only increase the prison population, creating a new set of overpopulation, health, safety, and crime problems within the prison system.

* Canada must have a balanced approach to drug use. The 4 Pillar Approach: Prevention, Treatment, Harm Reduction and Enforcement, has been successful in Europe and is being adopted by big city Mayors in Canada.

* Mandatory Minimums are least likely to work on drug crimes.

* The experience in the American system shows us this model is a massive failure.

What the Media are Saying

Vancouver Sun, Barbara Yaffe Feb.27, 2009

“Because at the root of the mayhem is the drug trade. And while the state can outlaw a substance, it cannot eliminate its use. Prohibition proved that nearly a century ago. As long as drugs are illegal, there will be underground activity of the sort that spawns drug gangsters.”

Vancouver Province Editorial, Feb. 08, 2009

“There is mounting evidence the so-called War on Drugs can't be won -- and too many people are dying while it's being fought. Even many police believe this. Legalizing drugs, and putting their production and distribution in the hands of legitimate businesses that could be taxed would end the huge drain on the public purse for policing and free up cash to treat addicts.”

Ottawa Citizen, Dan Gardner, Feb. 28, 2009

“In the United States, law enforcement budgets are massive. Powers of search and seizure are sweeping, particularly when organized crime is involved. Punishments are so savage a dealer with a bag of pot and a handgun may face life in prison with no chance of parole -- while traffickers who fire their guns may face the death penalty. It has accomplished nothing. “

Edmonton Journal, Todd Babiak, March 3, 2009

“You would think that instead of simply getting tough, which has been a spectacularly expensive and bloody failure in exemplar nations to the south, Canada might get smart. Californians, partially driven by a $42-billion budget deficit and partly driven by frustration with gangs, syndicates and cartels, are currently considering legalizing and regulating the $14-billion marijuana industry in that state.”

What the Experts are Saying

Waterloo Region Record, Luisa D'Amato, February 27, 2009

Tough crime law under fire; UW professor says bill's strong penalties aren't enough to stop crime

But such a tough policy doesn't actually help stop crime, charges a University of Waterloo sociology professor. "It has just not worked, with youth or adults," said Jennifer Schulenberg, who is associate editor of the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice.
Calgary Herald, Sherri Zickefoose, February 27, 2009
Ottawa gang law playing politics: expert; Calgary police hail tougher punishment

Punishing organized criminals is appropriate, but creating new laws that apply to gangsters may simply be a play for votes, according to a criminologist. "It will not do much in terms of deterring gang activity," said Doug King, head of Mount Royal College's justice studies program.

"Basically, what we're talking about is organized criminal behaviour, but they're also playing to public opinion. All of this reeks of 'let's play to public opinion and get votes. 'Fine. That's what politicians do. But nothing about it will deter criminal activity."
Edmonton Sun, Andrew Hanon, March 5, 2009
Money poured into the failing war on drugs would be better spent on prevention, education and treatment, advocates say

Canada's outdated drug laws are at the root of the blood-soaked gang war taking a heavy toll in Edmonton, Vancouver and Calgary. That's what the head of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy told a crowd of 350 in Edmonton yesterday at a conference on drug harm reduction. "We've had 101 years of drug prohibition in Canada," Eugene Oscapella said. "All of the problems we have seen with drugs have occurred under this system. The solution is not to do more of the same."

What the experts said about C-26 (now C-15)

Retired Justice John Gomery

“This legislation basically shows a mistrust of the judiciary to impose proper sentences when people come before them.”

Craig Jones, Executive Director John Howard Society of Canada

"The feds will crack down on crime, but the provinces will be punished." (on the costs to prisons)

Thomas Kerr, PhD, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS
“If Canada wants to fulfill its mission of reducing the most severe harms associated with illicit drug use, steps must now be taken to implement a truly evidence-based national drug strategy rather than shoveling millions of dollars towards these failed programs.”

Retired B.C. Judge Jerry Paradis, Spokesperson for LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition)

“MMSs are a great motivator for trials, jamming up the courts. Unless a deal is struck, a charge carrying a minimum sentence will be fought tooth and nail.”

Dana Larsen

Quote:
Unless I'm missing something, the chart on the link provided by saga specifically says (in bold italics): "for the purpose of trafficking".
Trafficking doesn't just mean selling, it means sharing or giving marijuana to another person in any way. For instance, Marc Emery got a three-month jail sentence in Saskatoon for "trafficking" by passing a joint in a park. So if you were planning on sharing the crop from your single plant with your roommate or friends, then you were growing that plant for trafficking purposes and would suffer the 6-month mandatory minimum sentence. This law would also result in Compassion Clubs and Medicinal Marijuana Dispensaries facing the same 6 months in jail, since those clubs always have more than the minimum 3 kilos of cannabis on the premises. Also affected by this law would be every street dealer of any other drug in the city. Virtually every part of the downtown core falls within the restricted zone of being close to a school, library, community centre or other place where young people gather, and so would face a 6 month sentence for dealing any quantity of a schedule 1 drug.

mybabble

Yes I'm curious also?

mybabble

Well I read the Feds and the Provine are supposed to get their act together and quit intering with where, how, and how much a person needs of their medicine and the Governments interference needed to stop.  This Bill is in direct conflict with the decision handed down by the Supreme court and most likely will end up there again?

FrankD

For Canada's sake, please download this Bill C-15 information handout, print and distribute...

Download PDF version (best for printing)
http://www.cannabisfacts.ca/pdf/StopC15handbill_CF.pdf

Download or view full-size GIF image
http://www.cannabisfacts.ca/images/StopC15handbill_CF.gif

More info about Bill C-15 here:
http://www.cannabisfacts.ca/mandatoryminimums.html

Daedalus Daedalus's picture

RevolutionPlease wrote:
What you're missing is how the hell can you call 1 plant trafficking?  Seriously, can you think of a scenario where someone could be "trafficking" with one plant?

 

Yes. One plant can be used to produce many clones/clippings, which can then be grown into a quite alot of weed. That's what rockwool cubes are for.

 

FrankD

Quote:
RevolutionPlease wrote:

What you're missing is how the hell can you call 1 plant trafficking?  Seriously, can you think of a scenario where someone could be "trafficking" with one plant?

The reality is that “trafficking” is so broadly defined as to include the act of passing a joint to another person. People have received prison time in Canada for passing a joint and being charged with trafficking.

Canada's Justice Minister, Rob Nicholson, was quoted recently, saying, "I don't agree with the people who are growing these three or four plants, but this bill is not targeted at them," Nicholson said. "If it's for your own use, you don't get the mandatory penalty which is six months."

Under current policy, using a standard police value estimate of $1000 per plant (regardless of size), the 4-plant garden that Mr. Nicholson refers to would currently be written up in the media as a grow op valued at $4000 "according to police."

Is the Justice Minister really saying that under Bill C-15 someone possessing $4000 worth of cannabis (4 plants) would not receive a prison sentence if, somehow, it was determined to be for personal use, but another person growing a single plant, who happens to “traffic” (give, sell or trade) some to a friend, is considered a “serious drug offender” deserving of 6 months or more in prison?

It is naive to think there would be a clear and fair assessment of what is trafficking and what is not.

-FrankD

Quote:
Aug 30, 2004
Ottawa Citizen Editorial: Five Years for Sharing

http://hightimes.com/news/dan/3056

Quote:
Single joint leads to trafficking charge for high school student

May 17, 2006
Source: CBC News

http://www.cannabisfacts.ca/blaketown_nf.html

Daedalus Daedalus's picture

FrankD wrote:
The reality is that “trafficking” is so broadly defined as to include the act of passing a joint to another person. People have received prison time in Canada for passing a joint and being charged with trafficking.

 

I've heard (through the grapevine - not 100% sure if it is accurate) that people have been charged and convicted of trafficking merely because they had some marijuana which was individually packaged. Which, of course, it would be if you purchased more than one unit for personal consumption.

Dana Larsen

Quote:
The influence of a few businesses who construct or run prisons is overstated. The actual problem is that a significant portion of society views drugs as "bad" and legislatures respond with "tough drug laws". Whether a prison to house drug convicts is privately constructed and operated or is operated by the state is an after-thought. Either way, the state pays the bill (it's just that the bill is usually less when a private enterprise runs a prison).

In many US states, especially California, the prison guard's union is a very strong political force, pushing for longer sentences, tougher laws and more inmates.

The Scam of the California Prison Guards Union
http://www.talkleft.com/story/2004/05/26/359/29521

The California Prison Guards' Union - A Potent Political Interest Group
http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Prison_System/CalifPrisonGuards.html

California prison guards union flexes election muscles
http://www.sacbee.com/capitolandcalifornia/story/1323837.html

FrankD
FrankD

Harper knows that mandatory minimums won't work, and he knows Bill C-15 will likely result in the need to build more prisons, possibly private prisons, so... maybe that is his goal (aside from appearing "tough on drugs").

Harper already has the support of police unions (e.g. CPA), the most powerful lobby groups on Parliament Hill. (see link below)

Creating a private prison industry in Canada, that will come with a union that can be relied upon to support Conservative "tough on crime" politicians, might be seen by Harper as a way to create future support for Conservative party ideology regarding drug crimes.

Afterall, police and prison unions will fight any legislation that threatens their members' job security.

Thoughts?

-FrankD

---

Tories 'pander' to the interests of police: critics
Nov 19 2006 - Kamloops This Week

"The law-and-order agenda of the Harper Conservative government has made police one of the most powerful and influential lobby groups on Parliament Hill."


Rexdale_Punjabi Rexdale_Punjabi's picture

man fucc harper n the conz wtf is this bullshit harper n his cabinet proly do more pcp then the rex combined that why they seein this shit and coming up with fucced up shit like this. It one thing to have a political view but u cant argue with facts when facts been presented and you continue to not accept them ur an idiot.

FrankD

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ottawa-will-expand-prisons-...

Ottawa will expand prisons to suit tough crime laws

[photo caption] Saskatchewan Penitentiary in Prince Albert, Sask. The Canadian Press

The government is leaning toward renovating prisons and building new wings as a short-term solution to anticipated influx of inmates

BILL CURRY

OTTAWA -- From Friday's Globe and Mail Published on Friday, Oct. 16, 2009 12:00AM EDT Last updated on Friday, Oct. 16, 2009 7:05AM EDT

The Conservative government has doubled the budget for prison construction and maintenance as it prepares federal institutions for an influx of inmates resulting from its suite of new crime laws.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan revealed the government is leaning toward renovating existing prisons and building new wings as Ottawa's short-term approach to managing the increase.

He said cabinet will take another two or three years before deciding whether there is a need to build large new regional prisons as recommended in a 2007 advisory report - but the government already has some land in mind.

The plots are currently being used by inmates for milking cows and gathering eggs to feed their fellow convicts. It is part of the prison-farm program the government is phasing out after more than 150 years.

Since coming to power in 2006, the Harper government has introduced several justice proposals that would increase the use of mandatory minimum sentences, end house arrests and eliminate a judge's ability to credit a prisoner with two days served for every one spent in pretrial custody in calculating sentences.

Mr. Van Loan said he has seen internal estimates that provide a projected range for prison population growth as a result of government legislation either passed or before Parliament. However, those numbers are a cabinet confidence and cannot be disclosed, he said.

"Each bill brings with it a different impact," Mr. Van Loan said. "But ultimately we anticipate some need for major investment."

Most of the approximately 33,000 offenders now incarcerated are the responsibility of the provinces or territories, either because they are awaiting trial or sentencing or serving sentences of less than two years.

Mr. Van Loan said new minimum sentences and an end to bonuses for time spent awaiting trial would see more people serving more than two years and, as a result, ending up in one of Canada's 58 federal institutions.

"The effect of that bill [ending the two-for-one credit] is essentially a massive transfer, financially and in terms of custodial obligations, from the provinces to the federal government," he said.

Mr. Van Loan, who is responsible for the Correctional Service of Canada, said that until cabinet decides on a long-term plan, the farm-program lands will be rented out to farmers.

"It wouldn't be prudent to dispose of the land if you may have potential plans in the future to build super regional prisons," he said. "We don't know how many we will do. But it just wouldn't make a lot of sense in protecting the taxpayer's interest to unload all that land and then decide three, four years hence that you've got to get it back."

A public campaign is under way to save the prison-farm program, which teaches inmates at six institutional farms the ins and outs of agriculture. Proponents, including current prison farmers who are speaking out in the media, say the program teaches universal skills like punctuality. They also say caring for animals instills a sense of compassion.

The government says the program's $4-million budget could be better spent elsewhere, given that less than 1 per cent of released inmates end up in agriculture. Mr. Van Loan said the public and inmates are better served by programs focused on more employable skills such as landscaping or furniture-making, adding that landing a job after prison is a key factor in avoiding a return to crime.

He denied any link between the program's end and the government's expansion plans.

The move to mandatory minimums is in response to the perception among some that Canada has a "revolving-door" justice system that goes easy on repeat offenders. The measures are supported by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, particularly in relation to anti-drug measures contained in a bill now before the Senate.

Frank Addario, president of the Criminal Lawyers' Association, says the American experience shows mandatory minimums don't work.

"The most law-and-order states in the United States have turned away from muscular sentencing and mandatory minimums on the basis that no reasonable state budget can manage the level of incarceration that those laws require," Mr. Addario said. The annual average cost of keeping a Canadian inmate incarcerated is $93,030.

The possibility of using the farm land for prisons was first confirmed by Mr. Van Loan in a written response tabled recently in the House of Commons replying to a question from Liberal MP Mark Holland. The minister's response also revealed the annual budget for "corrections infrastructure" has grown from $88.5-million in 2006-07 to $195.1-million this year. It is projected to peak at $211.6-million in fiscal year 2010-11.

Mr. Van Loan has embraced the recommendations of a controversial 2007 advisory report prepared for the federal government by Rob Sampson, a former minister of corrections in Ontario's Mike Harris government.

Among the report's wide-ranging recommendations was a call to create large new regional correctional facilities that would house high-, medium- and low-security prisoners in one location - though physically separated from each other.

The report said this would lead to administrative savings by sharing common services like food. While other recommendations from the 2007 report are already government policy, the government until now has been silent on the call for new prisons.

A report by prisoner-rights advocates Michael Jackson and Graham Stewart warned last month that some of the recommendations contain "draconian implications" for human rights, yet are being implemented with little public or parliamentary debate.

The Jackson-Stewart report acknowledged the need for upgrades to aging facilities, but said the call for regional complexes was "ill advised" and not well thought out.

******

PRISON NUMBERS

Offenders serving a sentence of less than two years, as well as adults held in custody while awaiting trial or sentencing (known as remand), are the responsibility of provinces and territories. Ottawa is responsible for the detention of offenders serving two years or more.

Provincial custody

* In remand: 12,888
* Serving sentences: 9,750

Federal custody

* Serving sentences: 13,304

Incarceration rates

2007/08

* Canada: 117 people in custody for every 100,000 (including youth) * United States: 762 in custody per 100,000 (not including youth)

Annual budget for prison infrastructure

* 2005-06 $88.6-million
* 2007-08 $103.1-million
* 2008-09 $151-million
* 2009-10 $195.1-million
* 2010-11 $211.6-million
* 2011-12 $163.2-million
* 2012-13 $113.1-million

Farewell to the farms

After more than 150 years, Ottawa is shutting down the Prison Farm Program, which teaches inmates to take care of animals and provides products to the prison population. The government notes that of 25,000 offenders released over the last five years, less than 1 per cent found work in agriculture.

Sources: Responses tabled in the House; Statistics Canada

FrankD

The Hill Times
http://www.hilltimes.com/page/view/tories_flawed_crime_bills-10-19-2009

Liberal Senators may buckle and pass Tories' 'flawed' crime bills

The Liberals voted with the Tories on drug bill because
they're scared of being labelled soft on crime.

By HARRIS MACLEOD
Published October 19, 2009

The government's two crime bills currently held up in the Senate are "flawed,"
and could be unconstitutional, but the Liberals are afraid of being labelled
soft on crime and Grit Senators may succumb to political pressure and vote
against amending the bills, says a Liberal Senator who supports the amendments.

"There is a real possibility that the amendments may be turned down by the
Senate," said Newfoundland Liberal Senator George Baker.

"And then the problems would cease and the bill would pass on third reading as
it is, without amendment. And the same thing may happen to the Controlled Drugs
and Substances Act [Bill C-15]."

The two bills, C-25, and C-15 are part of the government's touted law and order
agenda. The first bill, C-25, would eliminate the practice whereby convicted
criminals can get two-for-one credit for each day they spend in pre-trial
custody before being convicted. Critics of the law say criminals who know they
will be convicted sometimes refuse bail and choose to remain in remand in order
to shorten the total amount of time they'll have to spend in jail. The second
bill, C-15, would bring in mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes, which
would change the law so that someone caught with as few as five marijuana plants
would spend a minimum of six months in jail.

Sen. Baker said he disagrees with the "general philosophy" behind both bills,
but aside from that, he also said the bills contain enough legal errors to
justify the Senate bringing in amendments. For example, Bill C-15 stipulates
that if drug offenders agree to go to a so-called drug court, through which they
can broker a plea deal that usually involves treatment and random drug tests,
then they can get out of doing jail time. Drug courts only exist in six Canadian
cities -- Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Regina -- and so if
you don't live in one of those cities you don't have the option of avoiding
jail. Bill C-25 says a judge does not have to explain why someone charged with a
crime is refused bail, which Sen. Baker said was red-flagged by expert witnesses
when the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee studied the bill.

The Conservatives have been attacking the opposition Liberals in the House of
Commons and the media for the Liberal-dominated Senate holding up the bills. The
Tories say it proves Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff (Etobicoke-Lakeshore,
Ont.) and his caucus are "soft on crime," even though they voted to pass both
bills.

"What the Liberal Party should do...is go down to the Senate and, instead of
playing this two-faced game where they pretend to support tough-on-crime
legislation but block it in the Senate, they should tell their own Senators to
be honest with the Canadian people, to pass that legislation and stop letting
criminals get away," Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest, Alta.)
said recently in Question Period.

The Senate Justice Committee voted to change the two-for-one law to
time-and-a-half served, meaning convicts would get 1.5 days' credit for every
day served pre-sentencing, as opposed to eliminating it altogether, which Bill
C-25 proposes. The amendment would also give judges discretion in awarding
pre-sentencing credits, and would require an explanation for their decision. No
amendments have yet been proposed for Bill C-15, but they are expected to be
forthcoming since the Senate voted to examine it in committee. Some of the
Senators who proposed the amendments supported Liberal MP Bob Rae (Toronto
Centre, Ont.) during his 2006 leadership bid, which led to speculation that Mr.
Rae urged them to stall the bill to create headaches for Mr. Ignatieff, which
Mr. Rae denied.

Sen. Baker also said his colleagues in the Senate might not want to provide the
Tories with any more ammunition to attack Mr. Ignatieff.

"Liberal Senators may sit down and say, 'Look, the leader and the Liberal Party
in the House of Commons is in favour of this bill. They don't want changes made
to it. This is what the declaration was, so therefore we're going to vote
against these amendments that the [Senate] committee has approved.' That is a
real possibility," said Sen. Baker.

Bill C-25 was unanimously passed in the House of Commons, but Bill C-15, which
would change Canada's Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, passed without the
support of the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois. The Liberals joined forces with the
Harper government to pass it. When the House of Commons Justice Committee
studied the latter bill, witnesses were overwhelmingly critical of the use of
mandatory minimums in relation to drug offences. A 2001 government report done
by the Justice Department reached the same conclusions.

"Mandatory minimum sentences in the U.S. [both at the state and federal levels]
have imprisoned mostly low-level, nonviolent offenders. Drug consumption and
drug-related crime seem to be unaffected, in any measurable way," the report
said.

Mandatory minimum sentences will lead to more overcrowding of prisons in Canada,
and also remove some of the discretionary powers of judges and put them in the
hands of politicians and the police, said Eugene Oscapella, who teaches drug
policy at the University of Ottawa. He said that despite the overwhelming
opposition from experts, and evidence that more comprehensive drug policy that
focuses on treatment and reserves tough sentences for high-level drug dealers
has been far more effective, the Tories and the Liberals are taking the path
they believe is the most politically expedient.

"Promising to get tough on crime, to get tough on drugs, it's easy. It fits on a
bumper sticker. To explain why the use of the criminal law not only doesn't work
but causes enormous harm to society, takes a lot longer," he said. "Obviously
the Liberals think the Canadian public can't be trusted with the facts, and so
they're doing exactly the same thing the Conservative government is doing.
They're trying to out tough each other."

Last week The Globe and Mail reported the government plans to increase the size,
and budget for federal penitentiaries in order to accommodate the influx of
prisoners resulting from the new crime bills. The annual budget for prisons has
grown from $88.5-million in 2006-07 to $195.1-million this year. And is
projected to reach $211.6-million in 2010-11.

Prof. Oscapella, who testified before the House of Commons committee that was
studying the bill in the spring, pointed to Justice Minister Rob Nicholson's
(Niagara Falls, Ont.) remarks to the committee on April 22 as proof the
government's only reason for bringing in the mandatory minimums is political.
Mr. Nicholson was repeatedly asked what evidence the government had that
mandatory minimums were effective.

"We're absolutely convinced, from our consultation with Canadians, that this is
exactly what Canadians want us to do. ... We have the evidence that Canadians
have told us that," Mr. Nicholson responded.

Past Liberal governments have put forward bills to decriminalize the possession
of small amounts of marijuana, in 2003 and in 2004, but both times the bills
ended up dying on the order paper and were never reintroduced. Liberal MP Keith
Martin (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, B.C.), who abstained from the whipped vote on
bill C-15, said his party supported the legislation because they're spooked by
Conservative attacks that they're not tough on crime.

"That's an Achilles heel for the Liberal Party, that we're perceived as being
soft on crime when we're not. And we have done an appalling job of communicating
what we have done," he said.

NDP MP Libby Davies (Vancouver East, B.C.) said the Liberals missed an
opportunity to show they weren't buying into the Conservatives' "politics of
fear."

"People are fearful about drug use in their neighbourhoods, parents are very
worried about their kids, and what the Conservatives do is play on that fear,"
she said. "Instead of having an honest debate about drug policy and what we need
to do in our society they say, 'Oh, we'll just come out with a tougher law'."

Once a mandatory minimum law is on the books it's not easily repealed in the
future, and most Canadians don't believe marijuana possession is something
people should be sent to prison for, said Ms. Davies.

"There's loads and loads of people who are very worried about their kids, or
young people, or students having a sentence because they pass a joint to
someone. ... The thousands of Canadians who have convictions just from
marijuana, simple possession, is huge. I think people are very concerned about
that because they don't see it as something that should result in a criminal
record."

A 2007 United Nations report found that Canadians use marijuana at four times
the world average, making it the leader of the industrialized world in
consumption of the drug. The report revealed that 16.8 per cent of Canadians
aged 15 to 64 smoked marijuana, while the world average is 3.8 per cent. Canada
ranks fifth in the world for marijuana use.

news@hilltimes.com
The Hill Times
---

More info:

Bill C-15: Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Cannabis Offences
http://www.cannabisfacts.ca/mandatoryminimums.html

---

Letters to the Editor

http://www.hilltimes.com/page/mail_the_editor/tories_flawed_crime_bills-10-19-2009

FrankD

.

FrankD

The Ottawa Citizen
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/Prisoners+ideology/2093147/story...

Letters to the Editor: letters@thecitizen.canwest.com

Prisoners of ideology

The Ottawa Citizen

October 12, 2009 4:04 AM

The federal government's quiet reform of the country's prison system might have gone unnoticed by many Canadians if not for the work of Graham Stewart and Michael Jackson.

Stewart, former head of the John Howard Society of Canada, and Jackson, a law professor at the University of British Columbia, have released an illuminating review of the direction in which the Conservative government is taking the corrections system.

Their critique, A Flawed Compass: A Human Rights Analysis of the Roadmap to Strengthening Public Safety, accuses the government of -- surprise! -- favouring ideology instead of data, and ignoring the human rights of prisoners, when it comes to developing corrections policy.

These are serious concerns that need to be addressed.

They contend that the Harper government has ignored reams of research and conclusive evidence about prison policy -- some of it produced by government employees -- in favour of slogans and pandering. They fear that the resulting direction the government is taking -- based on the 2007 report Roadmap to Public Safety -- will not only be extremely costly, but will fail to make the public safer.

The Harper government has long talked a good game on law-and-order, promising to get tough on crime. Problem is, crime rates have been dropping across Canada, so in order to win public support for its agenda, the government has had to rely on emotion rather than facts. And the government is happy to admit it. Critics "try to pacify Canadians with statistics" Prime Minister Stephen Harper told an audience last year. "Your personal experiences and impressions are wrong, they say, crime is really not a problem."

It is true that statistics matter little to individuals who have been personally victimized. But empirical evidence should matter to policy-makers. Crime rates are one piece of evidence about what is and what is not working in the corrections system. Ignoring research and statistics is a formula for producing bad policy.

Among the key recommendations the government has adopted is ending "statutory releases" after prisoners serve two-thirds of their sentences, in favour of earned parole that is tied to following a corrections plan. The 2007 panel said the shift would improve public safety.

But experts such as Stewart and Jackson say it would have the opposite effect because, instead of being supervised in the community, prisoners would serve longer and then be dumped into communities with no conditions. Ending a program that might be perceived as offering early release to prisoners may be good optics, but is it good policy?

The Harper Conservatives consistently confuse the two. One need not be a university-based criminologist to see how releasing prisoners with no conditions and no support might actually make the public less safe than earlier release that comes with conditions and support.

The Harper government would move the country's correctional system closer to the U.S. model, which would see more prisoners incarcerated for longer periods, thanks to mandatory minimum sentences and the elimination of gradual release. The plan would see the construction of U.S.-style super prisons.

But is the U.S. really any safer as a result of its jam-packed prisons? The Canadian government might find it useful to talk to some American criminologists, who are horrified about the politicization of their corrections system, before taking us down the same path.

© Copyright © The Ottawa Citizen

FrankD wrote:
Harper knows that mandatory minimums won't work, and he knows Bill C-15 will likely result in the need to build more prisons, possibly private prisons, so... maybe that is his goal (aside from appearing "tough on drugs").

Harper already has the support of police unions (e.g. CPA), the most powerful lobby groups on Parliament Hill. (see link below)

Creating a private prison industry in Canada, that will come with a union that can be relied upon to support Conservative "tough on crime" politicians, might be seen by Harper as a way to create future support for Conservative party ideology regarding drug crimes.

Afterall, police and prison unions will fight any legislation that threatens their members' job security.

Thoughts?

-FrankD

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Gawddamned Harpercrit fascist fucks!

So that's what the cancellation of the prison farm program is about - using the land for privatized superprisons, instead of allowing the incarcerated to connect with the land, and appreciate the satisfaction of growing things.

This is truly, remarkably evil.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

I keep saying Conservatives are evil and I think the evidence is overwhelming. They hate and actively work to destroy everything of the Earth. And guess what? WE are of the Earth. Conservatives are anti-human.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Quote:
After more than 150 years, Ottawa is shutting down the Prison Farm Program, which teaches inmates to take care of animals and provides products to the prison population. The government notes that of 25,000 offenders released over the last five years, less than 1 per cent found work in agriculture.

So the inmates receive less fresh food, less fresh air, and no contact with nature through the animals that they formerly cared for.

And the Harper government justifies this because only 1% have family farms to return to after their sentences? Did anyone in the entire country actually think that this program was about job training?

Rexdale_Punjabi Rexdale_Punjabi's picture

exactly its to help ppl work shit out in a far away area, take out the hood mentality, and form connections,w.e

 

Go look at something like the rate ppl in the prison farm program stay out of prison at. Or even more importantly the mental state/health of the ppl coming out of it vs manz stucc in the bin.

 

And even if it helps ppl with issues sort them out.

 

Conz are evil...

FrankD

Bill C-15 Senate hearings

*Videos and transcripts*

Bill C-15 - SENATE COMMITTEE HEARINGS

 

-FrankD

FrankD

TO ANYONE WHO THINKS BILL C-15 WILL BE GOOD FOR CANADA...

There is a lot of misinformation swirling around about what the amendments to Bill C-15 mean. Bill C-15 is by no means "soft on crime!"

Please utilize some of the information links I've gathered to better understand the situation. This link would be a good one to start with...

Bill C-15: What it means for cannabis producers and sellers
http://www.cannabisfacts.ca/BillC15explained.html

If *you* think Bill C-15 is "soft on crime" take a look for yourself at what the vast majority of the Senate Committee witnesses said about this bill and what the fallout will be!...

Bill C-15 Senate Hearing VIDEOS on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/user/CannabisFactsForCdns

MORE LINKS:

Bill C-15 Senate hearing TRANSCRIPTS:

http://www.cannabisfacts.ca/SenateCtteeMtgs_BillC-15.html

Bill C-15 PROPOSED SENTENCES CHART:
http://www.cannabisfacts.ca/mandatoryminimums_chart.html#health

More information on Bill C-15:
http://www.cannabisfacts.ca/mandatoryminimums.html

MPs debate Bill C-15 (Dec. 10, 2009) Fast, Martin, Davies.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dANp6kk5LQ

Bill C-15 *House of Commons* Committee Meetings (16 videos in all)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ssUZ9k1qRY

Despite its stated intent, Bill C-15 will make our communities LESS safe, not more. For the sake of Canada please do more investigation of this legislation!!

Thank you,
Frank D.

FrankD

FYI: Parts 3 thru 5 uploaded. [Parts 1 & 2 coming soon]

These clips are from the second day of testimony by Senate Cttee witnesses.

*** Please help direct more people to the Bill C-15 YouTube Channel ***

http://www.youtube.com/user/CannabisFactsForCdns

When members of Parliament return in January from their holidays, Bill C-15 be looked at again in the House soon after. We need as many people as possible to be familiar with this legislation by then.

Contact your member of parliament and explain to them why it's so important for them to vote against Bill C-15.

-FrankD

Bill C-15 explained
http://www.cannabisfacts.ca/BillC15explained.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ VIDEOS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bill C-15 Senate 10/21/09 Q&A with Paul Saint-Denis, Senior Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice Canada

---

[Part3] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rophlpf6L8c

Senators Wallace and Milne questions:

1) How will Bill C-15 affect small scale grows and those who are growing for medical use but who do not have a license to grow from Health Canada (MMAR)
2) How are people going to know the details of this bill if it becomes law?

---

[Part 4] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYcFvW_okPY

Senator Milne questions:

1) How will Bill C-15 affect those who are growing for medical use but who do not have a growing license from Health Canada (MMAR)
2) Availability of drug courts?
3) What data do we have on the effectiveness of drug courts in Canada?
4) Do you have any proof that mandatory minimum sentence will work?

---

[Part 5] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96altt9f0XQ

Senator Angus question:

1) Will Bill C-15 make Canadians safer?

---

FrankD

FYI, new videos from the Bill C-15 Senate Cttee uploaded...

Senate Committee Q&A w/ Tousaw, Lucas, Leung, Belle-Isle (7 clip playlist)

http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=9472B8D572FA1607

Senators put questions to:
- Kirk Tousaw, Executive Director, Beyond Prohibition Foundation
- Philippe Lucas, Founder/Executive Director, Vancouver Island Compassion Society
- Jeet-Kei Leung, Communications Coordinator, BC Compassion Club Society
- Lynne Belle-Isle, Programs Consultant, National Programs, Canadian AIDS Society

-FrankD

FrankD

PRI$ONS!

The motivations for Bill C-15 are being revealed...

-FrankD

related post

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CN BC: Jail Rests On Boosting Prisoner Total

http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v10/n157/a05.html Wed, 03 Mar 2010

JAIL RESTS ON BOOSTING PRISONER TOTAL

THE CITY is banking on the federal government sending more people to jail for longer periods of time if its hope of an economy-boosting jail here is to be realized.

A city co-sponsored feasibility study lists three pieces of legislation the federal government wants passed, each one of which would result in more people headed for federal jail cells.

One piece of legislation calls for minimum sentences for serious drug cases, another would end the practice of lopping off two days for every day a person is sentenced if that person has been in jail since first arrested and another would impose mandatory jail time for fraud.

The new sentence requirements could boost the federal jail population by 70 per cent, the study suggests.

[snip]

Background

A number of bills introduced by the federal government in the House of Commons are expected to be passed into law. These bills are expected to have an impact on inmate population in both federal and provincial correctional facilities.

Bill C-15: Minimum Sentences

On February 27, 2009 the Minister of Justice, the Honourable Robert Nicholson, introduced in the House of Commons Bill C-15 to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act ( Library of Parliament, 2009a ).

Bill C-15 seeks to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act ( "CDSA" ) and thereby the Criminal Code to impose minimum sentences for certain serious drug offenses such as dealing drugs for organized crime purposes or when a weapon or violence is involved.

Bill C-15 specifically mentions that in 2006/07 that approximately fifty percent of all drug-related court cases do not result in convictions and convictions rarely result in sentencing incarceration. The majority of offenders only receive probation. This data has drawn the conclusion that there are not sufficient penalties defined in the CDSA to act as a dete rrent.

Currently the CDSA does impose maximum penalties for drug offences but there are currently no mandatory minimum penalties for drug related offences. Primarily the CDSA offences include possession, "double doctoring," trafficking, importing and exporting, and production of substances denoted within the CDSA.

FrankD

Bill S-10: Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Drug Crimes
http://www.cannabisfacts.ca/mandatoryminimums.html

Bill C-15 has been re-introduced as Bill S-10

Mandatory prison sentences for drug crimes
Formerly Bill C-15 (2009) and Bill C-26 (2007)

Bill S-10: 6-200 plants = 6 to 9 months mandatory minimum sentence

This is the third time this same legislation has been introduced. The first time it was introduced it was called Bill C-26. The second time it was called Bill C-15.

Despite the Conservative government's claims that the bill is "priority legislation" both Bills C-26 and C-15 died due to prorogation in 2008 and 2010, respectively.

This time around the Conservatives are introducing this bill in the Senate first instead of the House of Commons (hence the "S" in "Bill S-10"). Legislation has to pass through both Houses to become law so following the Senate the House of Commons will debate and vote on the bill as well.

[Note: The Senate currently has a "plurality" of Conservative Senators as a result of Stephen Harper appointing 33 Conservative senators since taking office in 2006.]

The Conservative government previously stated its intention to re-introduce this legislation "in it's original form." The original legislation sought to impose a Mandatory Minimum Sentence (MMS) of at least six months for growing one cannabis plant (for the purpose of "trafficking"). It turns out that the Conservative government has NOT re-introduced the bill in it's original form. In Bill S-10 Mandatory Minimum Sentences start at 6 plants instead of one.

There are some other differences as well, for instance, another "Agravating Factor" was added to the proposed mandatory sentences in Bill S-10
(Aggravating Factors - List A
http://www.cannabisfacts.ca/mandatoryminimums_chart.html#lista )

Note: In the last session of Parliament Bill C-15 was amended by the House of Commons committee, increasing the plant count that would result in a MMS from 1 plant to 5 plants. The Senate Committee amended the plant count to 200.

View the Proposed Sentencing chart
http://www.cannabisfacts.ca/mandatoryminimums_chart.html

Read the Bill S-10 Press Release from Justice Minister, Rob Nicholson
http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/news-nouv/nr-cp/2010/doc_32507.html

Read the Bill S-10 Backgrounder: "Penalties for organized drug crime act"
[*New name: The Bill C-15 backgrounder was named: "Proposed New Mandatory Sentences for Serious Drug Offence"]
http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/news-nouv/nr-cp/2010/doc_32508.html

Read the Full text of Bill S-10
http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Docid=4497977&file=4

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Don't believe the Conservative spin!
Watch videos of expert witness testimony to the Bill C-15 Senate Committee and learn the TRUTH about this fundamentally flawed legislation!
http://www.youtube.com/user/CannabisFactsForCdns

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The false claim that obstructionist Liberal Senators "gutted" Bill C-15 was used by Stephen Harper as justification for stacking the Senate with numerous appointees who "share the government's vision" about getting Tough-on-Crime.
http://www.youtube.com/user/CannabisFactsForCdns

-FrankD

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Frank Discussion
Cannabis activism information and resources.
http://frankdiscussion.net
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Cannabis Facts for Canadians
Essential information for an informed debate about cannabis policy.
http://www.CannabisFacts.ca

FrankD

Highlighted Bill S-10 Senate transcripts (May 11, 12 & 13)
http://www.cannabisfacts.ca/mandatoryminimums.html

QUOTES:

Conservative Senator John D. Wallace: "It is the government's view that production from six plants and up does constitute serious drug crime."

Conservative Senator Pierre Claude Nolin: "We need to face facts: the problem is not the substance; it is the prohibition of that substance."

-FrankD

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