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An Angus Reid survey found that Canadians increasingly feel their communities are unsafe, and that they are skeptical that alternatives to incarceration can change behaviour.JOHN LEHMANN

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Canadians who like to think of themselves as holding progressive attitudes are increasingly embracing a hard line on crime and punishment that includes rising approval of capital punishment. This hardening attitude is revealed in a new international survey that found 62 per cent of Canadians polled favour the death penalty for murderers.

In 2004, a similar poll showed 48 per cent in favour of executing convicted killers. The results of the survey, which finds interesting parallels and differences with U.S. and U.K. opinions, are certain to buoy the federal Conservative government, which has strongly identified itself with tough-on-crime policies such as mandatory minimum prison terms.

The survey also raises the perplexing question of whether high-profile wrongful conviction cases may create more, not less support for death penalty.

Join Craig Jones of the John Howard Society and The Globe and Mail's justice reporter Kirk Makin at 11 a.m. ET Friday for a discussion on the study and what it could mean for Canada's justice system.

As executive director of the John Howard Society of Canada, Craig Jones has for many years been one of the country's leading advocates for prison reform and the humane treatment of inmates. Mr. Jones lives in Kingston, Ont., a city that houses seven federal penitentiaries.

Kirk Makin has been reporting on Canada's justice system for The Globe and Mail since 1986 and has covered numerous high-profile trials including Henry Morgentaler, Paul Bernardo and Guy Paul Morin. He has written thousands of stories about the legal system, including the Supreme Court of Canada and its judgments.

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