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John Howard Society to hold rally against omnibus crime bill

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The John Howard Society will hold a public rally outside the Manitoba Legislative Building at noon Tuesday against the Selinger government’s support of Ottawa’s omnibus crime bill.

The John Howard Society, which helps offenders re-enter the community after release from jail, says the province should follow the lead of Newfoundland, Quebec and Ontario in opposing Bill C-10, the bill currently before Parliament. The three provinces say the impact of the bill means a higher cost to them because of increased incarceration rates.

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Attorney General Andrew Swan has said the province supports the bill because some of its proposed measures, including tougher bail restrictions for young offenders, were pushed by Manitoba.

The John Howard Society has also said the proposed elimination of conditional sentence—house arrest—for some crimes means more people will be jailed.

They say that will push up incarceration costs, have no impact on the crime rate and increase the likelihood of recidivism.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said measures in the anti-crime bill aren't "terribly expensive" and the provinces should accept their constitutional responsibilities to help keep streets safe.

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