From: john howard society <email@example.com>
Date: 22 February 2010 22:53
Subject: SCAN Legislation
I have attached something that I wrote the last time this surfaced.
"No one is disposable."
SCAN Legislation…What's the hurry?
Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the Yukon Territory all have SCAN Legislation. Has there been evidence of a reduction in crime in those jurisdictions? It is simply too early to determine if crime has decreased because of SCAN Legislation.
Statistics Canada tells us that crime has been going down all across Canada for the past 15 years, before SCAN and including in the provinces and territory with SCAN Legislation. Why not wait and see if SCAN actually produces the results they are expecting? If it does, we can re-visit this in the future.
Community members are being told that SCAN can eliminate bootlegging, gambling, prostitution and drug dealing. Drug dealers and bootleggers are in business because there is a market for what they sell. If there was no demand for drugs or alcohol, they would not stick around. A major cause of crime is the widening gap between the rich and those living in poverty. How does SCAN address that?
Restrictions do not work. Prohibition does not work. The reasons that people turn to illegal substances or substance abuse are very strong and compelling. Not addressing those reasons is irresponsible.
Once you shut down a home or move someone out, where will they go? Take for example, a young man who has been bootlegging. Move him out of his home and he moves in with his parents because you would have to look pretty far to find a mother who can turn her back on her children. His behaviour continues, only now he is disrupting his elderly parents' lives. Move him out of there and he moves in with his sister, bringing chaos to his nieces and nephews. Move him out of there and he comes to the streets of Yellowknife, ends up in jail, eventually gets out and continues his harmful behaviour because we can figure out how to punish him, but we can't figure out how to help him.
Enforcement alone never solves crime…it makes criminals out of the traumatized, the hurting and the sick. It ties up our courts and correctional facilities, but it doesn't "fix" anything. Prevention and education programs together with treatment and healing MUST accompany enforcement in order to be effective. In other words, eliminate all the drug dealers, bootleggers, and prostitutes that you want…buyers are still out there. Deal with the underlying issues if you want to see results.
Other jurisdictions have not yet seen charter challenges or appeals because Legal Aid does not pay for lawyers on civil matters. SCAN will take people into civil court – not covered by legal aid and thereby leaving people vulnerable. The big drug dealers will be able to buy lawyers, but the small time, small town dealers won't have the wherewithal.
Why not build on progress made using community-based solutions? Why not support the Community Justice Committees and Community Wellness Workers to develop programs for youth, those with addictions, those with mental health issues, those who are unemployed, etc. Why not support the non-government service providers who are so sadly under-funded?
Think about it…we can do better than SCAN!
John Howard Society of the Northwest Territories