Canadians For A Just Society
The Canadian government’s policies and procedures for the management of sex offenders have been driven by public outcry over highly publicized sex offenses. Craig Jones, executive director of the John Howard Society of Canada, calls the changes typical of the Conservative government’s “opportunistic” justice reforms. “They are characterized by a kind of reactive emotionalism driven by populist sensationalism. This is tinkering gone crazy.”
Legislators must avoid such reactionary responses that are based on public fear of this population because the evidence has been unambiguous- many of the policies that have been devised to protect society from violent sexual offenders are ineffective. These failed policies must be eliminated and replaced with policies based on the best available and empirical evidence rather than a media driven national panic. Furthermore, every individual must speak out against these failed policies and demand reforms that work towards making our communities safer, protecting our children, and respecting the dignity of human beings. We will no longer accept ‘feel good’ policies that protect no one, lend a false sense of security, and help foster an environment that makes our children and communities less safe..
If journalists, child advocates, lawmakers and police services are serious about wanting to protect society, they should turn away from persecution as a means to an end, and demand laws and practices designed to actually prevent crime while protect the right of people to heal and move forward; this focus should be based upon prevention and rehabilitation. Much of this information exists. The money wasted on tracking ex-felons who are unlikely to re-offend could be much better spent on preventing child abuse in the home and by educational programs designed to teach children how to avoid abusive situations and potential threats. Educational programs designed to give our children information about how sexual predation is perpetrated would bring a far better result.
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