Publishing and still more waiting.

The printer finally shipped a book to me. A book, not my book, so I’m back to waiting. Strange business, publishing.
While I’ve been waiting, I’m polishing another novel, and have it almost ready to go. It is set in Toronto, with side trips to Rome, Venice, Florence and Dubrovnik. A lot of fun to write. It’s working title is HIDDEN.
I’ve started planning another, which occupies my thoughts much of the day. This one will require more research, especially into the world of art restoration.

Sakineh Ashtiani still sits in that Iranian jail, awaiting her stoning sentence to be carried out. Latest news is at this link:

Another sensible programme gone

Prison rehab program axed due to budget cuts – Canada – CBC News.

The CBC reports this morning that the government has cancelled the rehabilitation programme that has operated successfully in prisons, helping prisoners fight addiction and return as better and safer citizens to the outside world.

This government has curious pseudo-logic — put more people in prisons so you have to build more prisons, and make sure the prisoners continue to be addicted so they will reoffend when they hit the streets, and justify the increase in prisons.

Humane civilizations treat those who fall within their care, the elderly, the poor, the disabled, the sick, and yes the prisoners, many of whom fall into the last two groups as well, with compassion. It does the country no good whatsoever to return the untreated addicted to the streets.

The more bizarre the actions of this government, and that’s without considering Peter McKay, the better Thomas Mulcair looks.

Harper and Seniors

Opposition accuses Harper of putting prisons before seniors – The Globe and Mail.

First I must admit, I am a senior. Have been for seven months. Before that I worked as a physician for forty years. I paid taxes on every penny. Taxes that paid for schools, roads, hospitals, hydro dams, and lately politicians’ gold-plated pensions. Also wars, expansions of prisons. and incentives to large corporations.

Yes, I and the others of my age paid for it all. When Harper was elected, another pair of seniors, Chretien and Martin, handed over a surplus. We, the elders paid for that too, enduring those years of restraints. Harper squandered it.

And now we have a government that has decided that those of us who paid for all that will be too big a drain on the economy, too big to carry on with the 540.12 each month, that is the total OAS that seniors receive. What is the total amount that the MP’s present and past receive?

Perhaps we could forgo the expansion of our prison system, and the required prison sentences that are forcing it. The crime rate is falling after all.

Mr. Harper knows that we’re coming, the seniors. I think he should remember that we all vote.

Harper’s Crime Bill according to Texas

Texas conservatives reject Harper’s crime plan – Canada – CBC News.

If you missed this article on the CBC news website, have a look. According to the Texans who have “been there, done that,” incarceration on the scale Mr. Harper is planning will cost billions of dollars and won’t work. That’s right. No decrease in crime. No decrease in drug use. What works? Treatment of drug addicts, outside of the prison system.

I don’t want to pay huge amounts to build new prisons, incarcerate countless young people and have nothing to show for it at the end but regret as expressed by these Texans, Republican to the core.

Marc Levin, a lawyer with an anti-tax group called Right on Crime, argues that building more prisons is a waste of taxpayers’ money.

“We’ve see a double-digit decline in the last few years in Texas, both in our prison incarceration rate and, most importantly in our crime rate,” says Levin.

“And the way we’ve done it is by strengthening some of the alternatives to prison.””

I just don’t get it. I can understand the Tories not being swayed by the sociological, psychological and moral arguments, but thought they would accept the economic one. I thought they were supposed to be pragmatic, bottom line guys. Just ideologues, the bunch of them.

Why do we have to go down this well-worn path to failure?


The web address of this editorial in the the Toronto Star this morning is a little misleading. I was as astounded as the editorialist to read of the conversion of Newt Gingrich to the side of those of us who are against the expansion of prisons. It would seem that the Harperites are operating about ten years behind American conservatives. The prisons are full of petty thieves and the drug addicted(many of whom are the same people) and serve as finishing schools for criminals. Amongst the things they do not do are: halt recidivism, especially with dollars going to buildings, not programs; address a soaring crime rate–the evening news notwithstanding, it is lower–; treat the mentally ill within the walls; or decrease the use of illegal drugs. As far as I understand it, the prisons are incapable of keeping drugs out of the buildings themselves.
The amount of money spent is staggering. According to the Star editorial, 68 billion dollars/year in the USA. 68 billion! A fraction of that amount would go a long way towards mental health programs, literacy programs, drug rehabilitation, housing the homeless. According to the Star, the amount of new money here over 5 years will be 5 billion. That’s new money, for new beds, not for refurbishing the old prisons that are a crumbling disgrace.

The list of the root causes of crime goes on and on, but tossing people into a revolving door system that turns out ever more hardened criminals is not, to my mind, the answer. I think that Corrections(and isn’t that a misnomer) needs to look at the hospital system, which has turned from a totally inpatient to a largely outpatient system, trying to care for people in their homes, as opposed to beds in an institution as it was when I started(40 years ago). They could begin by eliminating prison time for petty crime and soft drug offenses, turning to community-based initiatives, saving prison for those so dangerous that there is nothing to do except lock them up.

Historical Census

Understanding the Nineteenth-Century Census: historical background to the census.

The article above gives an interesting history of the development of the census in Britain, late by European standards. Even at the beginning, there were concerns that the other sources of information such as church records left out segments of the population not involved with the organized Christian religions, who would be counted in church records. Here of course the concern is that many groups, including those living in poverty, or newly immigrant will not be included.

The wealth of information available in the more than 200 years of census-taking has allowed historical studies, not otherwise possible. I fail to understand why any government wouldn’t want an an accurate census, to compare with prior years. Without it, they will be making decisions based on facts not in evidence, much, I suppose, like the unreported crimes that so alarm Mr. Day.

Mr. Day claims that there is an alarming increase in unreported crime, which he says is evidence for the need for more prisons. How he is going to put the perpetrators of these unreported crimes, who will not be charged, or brought to court, in prison, he has not explained. I notice he used census data as the source for his statistic on unreported crime.