SEPTEMBER 19, 2012
Locked-up life of luxury

I have often wondered what happens to a person’s life when they are in jail. Who pays their bills? What happens to their pets, cellphone contracts, etc.? It is a pretty short turnaround time to get all those things arranged.

And when I have been sick of being an adult – meaning having to clean my house, do yard work and cook – one of my friends tells me to just commit a crime and go to jail and then I’d be on easy street in terms of responsibilities. (For the record, I have no intention of doing that, but go with me on this point for a moment.)

Stories have been reported that inmates eat great food, have wonderful luxuries and life behind bars isn’t that bad in Canada. While some say jail is supposed to put fear in those who break the law, others see it as a retreat. And depending on the facility it can cost more than the average citizen’s annual income to house an inmate.

I did some digging to look at statistics about incarceration and stumbled upon the findings of the Luka Magnotta case from earlier this year. You’ll recall he is the guy accused of murdering and dismembering a Montreal student and fleeing to Europe this past summer.

Magnotta’s story is a little different than the average inmate because he had to be extradited and that involved officials from Canada travelling to Germany to retrieve him – which meant using a government airplane. The price tag for just the military plane? $375,000, according to federal documents. The cost of operating the plane? $15,505 per hour.

That price includes the cost of sending government officials to Germany, paying for their hotels and food and everything that goes along with the whirlwind trip – though the final dollar figure won’t be confirmed for a couple weeks. Like an inmate housed on Canadian soil, it’s being funded by your tax dollars.

As my friend said, “we’re stooges for the simple fact we work hard and make an honest living but you can do something wrong and still get taken care of and have it easier than us working stiffs.”

I see the logic but still can’t wrap my head around making those extreme trade offs just for the sake of not worrying about cost of living and cooking my own meals. It does, however, make me appreciate the value of every dollar I earn and gives me great pride in knowing I am doing the right things in life without receiving handouts.
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