Apparently our law enforcers have been doing an exceptionally thorough job of protecting Canadians from the frighteningly dangerous threat of people who might have committed a non-violent offence maybe (but most likely, probably didn’t).
According to a report released today by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), there are more people detained in provincial and territorial prisons in Canada that are legally innocent than are guilty. In Manitoba, the Canadian province with the strongest commitment to imprisoning non-criminals awaiting trial, the percentage of innocent people among those detained is over 60%, a percentage that should probably make a sizable number of people consider a large-scale jailbreak in the province.
A major reason why Canada has so many “innocent” detainees is because bail restrictions are insanely strict. Among the restrictions are abstinence from alcohol, perfect punctuality to bail meetings, and a nightly curfew. Given that one third of those detained pre-trial are homeless people, a curfew might be a bit of a difficult rule to follow.
So, some innocent people have to spend a month or two in detainment. They’re probably not in real jail or anything, right?
Well, it’s actually worse than real jail. The CCLA reports that pre-trial detention is “one of Canada’s harshest forms of incarceration” with way too many people stuffed into a teeny cell with no windows. These detainees participate in no recreational or educational programming, and get a minimal amount of time outdoors. Those are pretty rough conditions for people who are actually innocent according to the law.
Maybe Canada is spending so much money (really, so much) on detaining innocent people because there aren’t enough criminals around to imprison anymore. Last year, Canada experienced its lowest overall crime rate since 1969. What’s scary is that even as crime rates decrease, we’ve actually been expanding Canada’s prisons in the last few years, and criminalizing more and more non-violent offences.
So as Canada slowly becomes a police state, imprisoning innocents and imposing curfews on people who probably didn’t even break the law, just take solace in the fact that at least we’re not the United States.