Mar 20 2011

Follow the money.

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Private prisons are big bucks in the US.  But with a declining crime rate in Canada, how can politicians justify building new prisons to cash in on that trend?

First, create a perceived need for more prisons by getting media to use scare tactics, concentrating on gang violence, drug use, drunk driving fatalities, etc., to give a false impression that crime is on the rise.

Next, design a “tough on crime” political platform and promise to solve this rising crime problem with mandatory minimum sentences, trying children as adults, denying bail, denying parole and passing more laws to create more criminals.  This drives up a perceived need to build more prisons.

Use every psychological trick known to colour the agenda in your favour such as calling prison guards, corrections officers when little “correction” is offered.  Using the interchangeable labels such as “offenses” and “crimes” to ramp up or down the emotional reactions and behaviour you are trying to promote.  For example,  “tough on crime” is tantamount to “intolerance to disobedience.”  Only the impression left by these two phrases is dissimilar.

Once the false impression that new prisons must be built is in place, the next step it to create local demand for a prison complex.  In a down economy this is much easier.  The promise of stable, recession-proof jobs, reduced taxes, government grants and economic stimuli are the bright red herrings offered.  None of these is guaranteed of course, only promised.  The fact that the “tough on crime” agenda has a proven, 30-year track record of being woefully expensive, increasing crime in prison towns, damaging to property values and having extreme negative social ramifications that foster a growing criminal underclass is ignored by politicians blinded by dollar signs.

Let’s follow the money:  More prisons mean the Public Safety Ministry needs a larger budget.  That means higher taxes for citizens or diversion of tax monies away from other programs like pollution control, corporate monitoring, social services and education.

Saving money is never a government policy.  Spending money is.  If a government agency doesn’t spend its whole budgeted allotment, the budget to that agency is cut.  This is why the Harper regime will not disclose an accurate account of how much this tough on crime policy is going to cost.  He knows the costs will be more than the public is willing to bear.  And everyone knows that whatever the projected costs are, the actual costs will be significantly higher.

Grants to local government are the grease on the skids to get the decision makers in a municipality on the bandwagon.  a $1.5 million grant can spruce up a park and create a positive impression on voters and more than justifies a salary increase and a few extra job perks for local bureaucrats.

Hidden within the prison agenda is the long-term goal of prison privatization.  The P3 or public private partnership is nothing new.  Before World War 2, several European leaders embraced the idea wholeheartedly.  Benito Mussolini, Francisco Franco and Adolph Hitler were the three most famous.  Public private partnerships are the very definition of fascism, a system many Canadians fought and died to prevent from spreading.  Here’s how it works: Government passes laws that create incentives to industry, tax the workers, give the money to corporations who use human resources to profit handsomely while increasing the tax base for the government.  The building of prisons to house “undesirables” such as homosexuals, gypsies, the mentally retarded, and people of Middle Eastern descent was a well known feature of German economic policy.

So you see, it is no mystery why bureaucrats do not wish to disclose their hidden agendas.  But if you follow the money, it becomes glaringly apparent what they are.
Dwight Far

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