Ottawa Citizen

Jail dollars could be spent elsewhere


Re: It’s time to stop planning a new jail, Nov. 10. Justin Piché asks why the hundreds of millions that will be spent on a new jail in Ottawa will not be spent instead on addressing social inequality, preventing harm and supporting neighbourh­ood conflict resolution capacity.

Included in that list would be increasing capacity for care of mental health (including addictions). World-class research is carried out in Ottawa at The Royal to develop new knowledge on mental health. It is now high time to put this new knowledge to work by increasing capacity for accessing mental health care in this city, and by helping at-risk individual­s before their behaviour leads them into the justice system and behind the razor wire of the local jail.

Now is the time to stop planning a new jail and start planning to invest the funds on initiative­s that will provide the genuine long-term benefits that will never come from a new jail. R. Winston Revie, Ottawa

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