Friday, February 08, 2013
Criminalizing Mental Illness
Harper has probably got a tent in his puritanical pants over this one.
Our prime monster is on the crime and punishment bandwagon and this time he's got the mentally ill squarely in his sights. They may be crazy but that doesn't mean you can't get'em a long term stay in the Greybar Hotel anyway.
Now courts that find an accused not criminally responsible because of mental impairment can go ahead and label them "high risk" and throw them in jail anyway. You know, jail, as in where the United States houses its mentally ill because it does such a wonderful job at helping them get better.
But wait, there's more. Did you expect anything else from our Sham-Wow prime minister? A person can be declared "high risk" even if their offences were non-violent. And, once you toss them into your dungeon for the criminally insane, they're there to stay until a court lifts the designation. And, of course, since the odds are so stacked against the mentally ill getting successfully treated in prisons (ask the Americans) that means a good chance of a life sentence even for relatively minor crimes.
Twain had Harper in mind when he wrote, "To a man with only a hammer, everything looks like a nail."