The justice system in Canada has been the focus of current debate concerning the problems with accusation and sentencing the criminals as well as defending the victims’ rights. It is natural that the main concern of victims is narrowed to protection and defense. All they want is to ensure that all criminals are punished and overcome the stereotype of a vengeful victim.
Regardless victims’ movements initiated by Fichtenberg, the Canadian government has taken course on laws reinforcement leading to serious problems connected with keeping prisoners in jails and providing them with inconsistent rehabilitation programs (McKie n. p.). In my opinion, such a controversial policy by no means contributes to the improvement of criminals’ transformation and to satisfaction of victims’ requests.
On the contrary, longer terms of imprisonment will lead to the increase in number accused people and inability of government to find sufficient funding of violence prevention and substance abuse programs. Such situation will create bad conditions for prisoners’ keeping. Second, the government will not be able to cope with emergent conflicts in jails based on discriminative policy toward them. As a result, “tougher” laws will not bring law and order to society in whole.
I believe that longer terms of imprisonment are closely associated with bad conditions that the government creates for the inmates. To enlarge on this, “truth in sentence” laws provide a solid ground for increasing the number of imprisoned accused people (McKie n. p.). As a result, the augmentation prevents the government from supplying prisons with sufficient funding and consistent programs on violence elimination. Hence, the longer terms are the less access the inmates have to these programs.
Such problem is also explained by lack of resources and staff for educating accused people and providing them with support during treatment from alcohol abuse. Within this context, Ann Hansen narrates her experience of being in prison as well as conditions under which women are held there: “No matter how I look at it, the women in prison are the victims of the inequities, injustice and discrimination within our society” (33).
Indeed, the programs introduced to the prison for women in Canada did not bring the desirable results. On the contrary, the conditions and programs were so inadequate and ineffective that it was more similar to punishment rather than to a transformation performed for educational purposes.
Severe measures taken over the Canadian imprisonment have created a ground for deployment of discriminative policy in jails. Police government often abuses its power and status while arresting the criminals, often ignoring certain moral and ethical codes as well as human rights and equalities (Interim Report 16).
In this regard, the reinforcement of laws and extreme brutality on the part of the police officers leads me to an assumption that that the criminal justice system, particularly its structural organization that forces prisoners to be always under the pressure.
Hence, Brannigan puts forward the idea that “judicial pressure, in the form of rules of evidence that restructure, often artificially, the original events according to ideals of reliability, competence, consistency, community sentiment, common law precedent and credibility” does not always have a positive distort the actual matter of facts (98). With regard to it, creating a false image of strong justice system, the government fails to achieve the foremost goal – to create an order in society. In fact, law reinforcement here can be identified with discriminative polices infused by the police administration.
Finally, tougher polices toward the inmate do not only misdirect the attention to the problem of social degradation, but also contribute to disturbances and disorder in society. In pragmatic terms, “current justice systems expend enormous sums of money on policing and could easily bankrupt the citizens they protect if allowed unchecked growth” (Brannigan 100).
However, moral concerns presuppose that law enforcement imposed on every possible crime would turn the justice system in a selective tool of meting out punishment. In this regard, law should not be perceived as a powerful mechanism for controlling and suppressing the lower social classes as well as minority groups. Its major principles should be based on equality, objectivity, and justice. According to Packer, the existing problem occurs due to the gaps and flaws of the criminal justice system in Canada.
In his paper, the author considers two reverse sides of the medal, placing an emphasis on two models that juxtapose each other. Parker insists on the fact that “[a] model of the criminal process that left out of account relatively stable and enduring features of the American legal system would have much relevance to our central inquiry”, specifically to welfare of society (150). Therefore, this gap should be immediately overcome to improve the situation.
In conclusion, the mismatch of financial resources and introduction reinforced laws will not contribute to achieving the primary goal of the Canadian government – to sustain and maintain stability and order in society. The victims as well as prisoners will not prosper from police brutality and amoral attitude toward the accused people. In addition, the programs infused by the government are not consistent with resources they allocate for this purposes.
Brannigan, Augustine. “Criminal Justice: A Crime Funnel or a Crime Net?” In Crimes, Courts and Corrections: An Introduction to Crime and Social Control in Canada Toronto: Hold, Rinehart & Winston, 1984, pp. 93-110.
Hansen, Ann. “Prisons are the looking-glass of society: the struggle toward dignity for women,” Canadian Dimension. 36 (2002):30-33.
Interim Report. “Racism behind bars: hostile environments,” Racism behind bars: The treatment of black and other racial minority prisoners in Ontario prisons, 1994.
McKie, David. “Tory Crime Plan Fails Victims, Inmates: Critics”, CBC News. 2011. Web.
Packer, Herbert. “Two Models of the Criminal Process,” The Limits of the Criminal Sanction Calif: Stanford University Press, 1968 Print. pp. 149-173.