Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Collective Punishment is Stupid: Another Example

In the Star this morning there is an article about how Toronto Community Housing is trying to boot out "gang-affiliated" families. What's a gang-affiliated family? Well, apparently when one family member is charged with a gang-related crime, then the entire family has an affiliation. One non-profit youth worker is quoted in the article:
"When there are some single moms who are trying to work two, three jobs to give her kids a living and may not have been home, may not be aware (of criminal activity) and what you've done with just one broad stroke is condemn and convict everyone of them,"
Great, it's bad enough that these parents have their kids involved in gangs, now they risk losing their housing. But do those with innocent children have anything to fear? Yes, again from the article:
TCH "can proceed even if the charges are thrown out," he continued. "We don't have to wait for the disposition of the case."
So even if the charges are tossed, just the fact that someone in your family was picked up in a gang sweep is enough for you to lose your housing. Guilt by association, guilt by suspicion, these are the thresholds that Toronto Community Housing needs to toss a family on the street. How well equiped do you think families in public housing are to even fight these tribunals. This is a disgrace.