Editor, The News:
Re: Not so tough on crime (Letters, April 8).
Paula Panek compares the average prison term of “first-degree murderers” (before parole) in Canada with average “sentences for life” (with and without parole) in the U.S. and concludes that Canada’s criminal justice system is already very tough on our most violent criminals.
Good try, Ms. Panek. You’re comparing apples to oranges. You know very well that not all prisoners serving life sentences in the U.S. are first-degree murderers. In fact, a 2005 New York Times survey concluded that almost one in 10 prisoners in the U.S. were serving life sentences.
In California, even some habitual criminals with no history of violence have been handed life sentences in recognition of their demonstrated incorrigibility and the overwhelming likelihood that they will continue to commit property crimes ad nauseam so long as they enjoy liberty.
Thus, Ms. Panek’s comparison is not only pointless, but very misleading.
This reminds me of the argument we often hear from left-wing criminologists: Canadian justice must be working because the crime rate in Canada is declining.
What these social engineers deliberately fail to disclose is that Canada’s crime rate is declining from an all-time high and still remains far higher today than it was in the early post-war period, when many of us Baby Boomers were growing up. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.