Talking policy: Criminal Justice
The Christian Heritage Party
by National Leader Ron Gray

"OK," said the man at the meeting. "I agree things are going pretty badly under the present government. But what would you do to change it?"

There are a lot of answers to his questions, but I was grateful that he had pointed the conversation in a positive direction. The Christian Heritage Party is the only federal political party that has affirmed the 'supremacy of God' clause in Canada's Constitution. What would that affirmation mean in terms of policies?

One area where this could have a big impact is in the criminal justice system.

The CHP believes the criminal justice system should stand on two pillars: restitution and public safety.

Start with the fact that two-thirds of the spaces in our jails are now occupied by non-violent criminals. Many of those people should not be in jail: they should be outside, working to pay restitution to their victims. This would not only benefit the victims (who are now often left out in the cold); it would also benefit the offenders, for rehabilitation is greatly enhanced when the offender is personally confronted by the real-life consequences of their misdeeds.

In addition, offenders' families are often thrown onto public welfare when their provider is incarcerated. That's wrong. It actually enlarges the circle of social disruption, and causes more crime. And incarcerated offenders often learn criminal skills from fellow-inmates.

The penitentiary system does not do much these days to encourage repentance. Golf courses, riding stables, colour television and good meals three times a day offer little deterrence.

There is, however, a legitimate role for incarceration: for violent criminals, sexual offenders, and peddlers of drugs and pornography -- people who are actually a danger to law-abiding citizens -- deserve to be kept out of circulation until we can be convinced that they have undergone a change of attitude. But that means a very different penal system than the revolving-door "justice" system our courts have imposed upon us. Dangerous offenders (who, by the way, should NOT have the right to vote while in jail) should be kept behind bars until they're no longer a danger.

Doesn't that make more sense than what we're doing now?

The Christian Heritage Party is a Christian political party. Its founding convention was held in Hamilton in 1987. Although we have not yet elected a member to parliament, our objective is to provide true Christian leadership; to defend, promote and uphold Biblical principles in federal legislation; and to gain seats in parliament so that we can have a direct influence on policy changes. Learn more about CHP by visiting our website at http://www.chp.ca