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Criminologists fear a private prison boom in Canada

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Issue: 36 Section: Canadian News Topics: Harper, prison

April 20, 2006

Criminologists fear a private prison boom in Canada

Leading criminologists fear a private prison boom under the current Conservative government, reported the Toronto Star on April 2nd.

The following day, Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressed the Canadian Professional Police Association in Ottawa, reiterating the crime fighting promises made during the election campaign. "If you do a serious crime, you're going to do serious time," he said.

Experts agree that the government's justice strategy would dramatically spike demand for costly prison space.

"Either they'll spend a ridiculous, unsubstantiated amount of money on this or, more likely, they'll move to a more private model of corrections," Neil Boyd, a criminologist at Simon Fraser University, told the Toronto Star.

Critics argue that private prisons put profit margins before rehabilitation; it's not in their interest to decrease the number of repeat offenders.

The Conservative government maintains that it does not advocate private prisons.

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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