Does handing out hard time actually reduce crime? To a society that is increasingly fearful of violent crimes and views the justice system as too soft on offenders, the answer would be yes. Many politicians respond to this public opinion by playing the "get tough on crime card", a sure vote catcher. But this widely held opinion is based on the perception that crime keeps growing which has been fuelled in large part by the media's increasing coverage of crime incidents. In actual fact, the crime rate has fallen. This National Magazine tries to separate the fact from media and political hype, and also takes a look at the effectiveness of Canada's justice system and how we compare with other western countries.