International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

The Canadian 'Get Tough' Discourse Needs a Hard Look Too
Heather Sanguins

This paper considers the discrepancy between 'get tough' approaches to crime, primarily in the U.S. and Canada, and the reality of who is being incarcerated. Reports from multiple jurisdictions indicate that rates of violent crime are declining generally for men and increasing for women, but there is no consensus that the 'get tough' approach is responsible for the decline or increase, and there is little political recognition of the need to address the imbalance in incarceration. The paper focuses on how 'get tough' discourses are perpetuated through selective valuation of 'evidence.' It is found that all evidence is not weighed or weighted equally in policies and practices, especially evidence of the over-representation of certain groups in prison populations. It is recommended that future studies address the larger socio-economic and political contexts and purposes of, and expectations for, incarceration through transdisciplinary work that expands the discussion.

Full Text: PDF