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Punishment – A System in




New "Integrated Community Safety Task Force" hailed as a panacea to crime

The RCMP ERT unit moves in on a suspected drug house armed with guns in July 2016. Below, a mentally ill woman wears a spit hood.







hange comes from the inside out not the outside in. What will it take to reduce crime?  The City of Chilliwack wants to give it a collective shot. On Tuesday council approved a consortium called the "Integrated Community Safety Task Force".

The idea of the initiative is to change the trajectory of crime in the city by utilizing strategies developed from different agencies.


The group will consist of representatives from Fraser Health, Crown Counsel, BC Corrections, the RCMP, social service providers and the judiciary. The majority of those are related to law and jail, and unintentionally, have been part of the cyclical nature of crime. 

The federal government says rates of recidivism when people are incarcerated for six months is that they're back in jail within 2 years. There's a variety of reasons for that including: no education, no job, no place to live. A percentage of inmates released are mentally ill and had no treatment in jail. Without community support they're walking a tightrope.

The Chilliwack mayor says that a "minority of criminals commit the majority" of crime. But where are the numbers to back that statement up? There's always going to be more people to fill those shoes simply because Chilliwack's population is growing in leaps and bounds and with it brings more of the criminal element.


There isn't any representative from the educational system on board which is the most important of all of them. What are you going to do to rehabilitate these people once they're released? Offering someone a chance to get a college diploma while in jail is going to prepare a person who's been locked up for years more than any RCMP, judiciary or crown council program can do. Not just Grade 10 upgrades but a real diploma with a grad ceremony. Something to restore pride.

Social services should be tasked with finding them a place to live. Without a place to go it drives up the crime rate up. Fraser Health should be able to find mental health treatment and harm reduction.


There's no mention of jobs. There's no employment councilor on the coalition, which again is vital because one of the first things people need is something to do on reentry into the community.


Are communities being sold a bill of goods that the correction system can keep them safe from criminals? The community isn't looking for bandaid solutions.


Typically, a person going into jail comes out worse than when they went in. They've been isolated from reality. Inside, inmates make contacts and friends. They learn how to commit crimes better than what got them there. They learn how to fight. They learn how to hate.

Segregating Native people from the regular penal system for the same crimes every other offender commits creates animosity within the system and gangs form.


The community may feel good for that year or two the offender's in jail, but in the end it's the community that gets punished because hard earned tax dollars are spent to no good end and what they get instead are hardened criminals.

There's no rocket science in saying that locking up too many people, spending too much money only to make communities much more dangerous places to live isn't the way to go. The costs continue to increase, governments can't afford it. In the big picture, trying to lock up everyone isn't improving public safety.




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