Are our prisons social clubs?

Dear Editor:

A friend of mine once said: “Don’t worry about me, the worst thing about Jail is the name”.

As I viewed CBC’s Power and Politics recently, I was amazed to hear that the federal Conservative government plans to spend over $2 billion on prisons due to overcrowding! It was further noted that the crime rate in Canada is actually on the decline. So why are we planning to triple the amount of prisons?

We, as Canadians, should ask ourselves: Should we be concerned about a criminal having to share a cell with another criminal or should we be more concerned with a senior not having a longterm care home or a decent pension to live on?

Or perhaps we should be more concerned with a hospital that has to put patients in the hallway due to no rooms available; or with those who have no room at all, our homeless, which includes some veterans?

Getting tough on crime doesn’t have to mean more prisons, it has to mean getting tough on criminals.

Locking people up who are not a danger to society is pointless. Make those people work, perhaps helping seniors who can’t mow their lawns or clear their snow, or maybe even clean up neighbourhoods or other public chores that would be beneficial to the community.

The true criminals, dangerous offenders and murderers, could share a cell, four to a room, just the way many hospital wards are set up. It’s comfortable for the sick, why not for criminals?

Why is the Harper Government more concerned with prisoner comfort than with the comfort of law abiding citizens?

My friend told me that the prison he was in was better than an all boys club: Free food, games, television, sports, and if you were liked, time to meet new friends!

That is probably the reason why there are so many repeat offenders, the prisons are not like prison at all. It’s time for a change!

Robin Brentnall,

Gambo, NL