Parole board idea okay as far as it goes

Alberta is in the process of creating its own parole board. Fair enough. Like a lot of people (we suspect) it was news to us there isn’t one!

But no, it turns out parole board services are contracted out to a federal agency. Bringing that role home is part of what the Kenney government calls ‘a better deal for Alberta,’ or ‘more of Alberta and less of Ottawa.’

Again, fair enough as far as it goes. The implication is that ‘Ottawa’ is soft on criminals and a home-grown parole board wouldn’t be. That would depend on who ends up on the panel and what their philosophy is. The tone of the government announcements on the topic suggest it thinks more of a ‘lock ‘em up and throw away the key’ ethos is the way to go. There are huge problems associated with that attitude – one of the big ones being that jails just keep getting bigger, more numerous and more crowded. But on the other hand, people are fed up with crime and are letting the government know about it. Examples abound of people getting out of jail quickly and getting right back into whatever got them there in the first place. Locking them up and leaving them there does not get at any root issues, but at least it keeps them off the street. So there is that.

The underlying causes – whatever they may be – are probably not affected in the tiniest degree by the establishment of a parole board made up of Albertans.

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