The criminal justice system is often likened to a revolving door. People leaving incarceration face many
barriers when reintegrating into society, which can lead them into a cycle of recidivism. Financial
insecurity is often said to cause formerly-incarcerated individuals to reoffend, prolonging their
involvement with the criminal justice system and leading to their return to carceral institutions.
Additionally, poverty creates the underlying conditions that can make crime the most viable option
among very limited options, even before incarceration.
When thinking of criminal justice in Canada, basic income would make a difference in three ways:
1) Basic income would serve as an important form of income support for those involved in the
justice system and who are reintegrating into society;
2) Basic income would contribute to individual and household stability - an important step in
reducing crime rates; and
3) Basic income would facilitate the decriminalization of poverty.
The briefing note was prepared by Hannah Owczar, Shelby Kendra Downe, and Chloe Halpenny, with input from Anthony Doob and Adelina Iftene.
Read the full briefing note HERE.
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