15 March 2011

Conservatives create a project that could actually reduce crime

Progressives despair at the federal government's emphasis on tough law and order measures to reduce crime, particularly spending oodles of money on building more prisons for more and longer incarcerations. On the bright side, the Alberta Conservative government has created a program that will incur a modest cost but offer major potential for reducing crime and saving youngsters from wasting their lives on anti-social behaviour.

The government has established the Alberta Vulnerable Infant Response Team to assist at-risk Calgary families with babies. The team will consist of Children and Youth Services caseworkers, nurses and police officers and will offer intensive guidance and support for the first three months of a child's life. The initiative was in response to a significant increase in the city of infants reported to be at risk of neglect and abuse.

That criminals are the product of dysfunctional homes is well-known. Interventions that assist young mothers in proper parenting have been shown to pay off many times over with reduced crime and by the productivity, including payment of taxes, of young people who were steered onto the right path. Better socially and economically, for the individuals involved and society generally, to have people working and paying taxes rather than languishing, at the taxpayers' expense, in prison. A penny of prevention is worth thrupence of cure.

The team will work with parents to teach parenting skills and provide addiction and family violence counseling. The program, to be followed by a similar initiative in Edmonton, will cost $1-million, about the cost of keeping one man in prison for a dozen years.

Limiting assistance to children under three months seems unduly restrictive, but it's a start. These are the kind of programs that will significantly reduce crime. If the federal government is interested in protecting the public and not just in revenge, it should take notice.

No comments:

Post a Comment