Saturday, June 24, 2006

Publish Day - Ink Blog - Killer youth

Today was a much better writing day for me (see here for the back story.) My piece in today's paper was the lead item, and I'm very pleased with how it turned out. This week's run seemed to revolve around my need to be endlessly self-righteous. Right and wrong, crime and punishment, justice for head didn't want to let go of these themes as I wrote my columns this week.

To be quite frank, I don't know what possesses me to focus so intently on one theme or another. But whenever it happens, I know better than to question it. I just let the words come out, and let the chips fall where they may.

This piece is pretty self-explanatory. Canada once again leads the world in its bleeding-heart treatment of youth offenders. This week, our Supreme Court sealed the deal when it said youth justice should not serve as a deterrent. Instead, it should rehabilitate.

Say what?

So the net result is I now live in a country where the court system no longer believes it can deter future youth crime. Great. Next thing, we'll be handing the jail cell keys over to the young cretins who put our collective future at risk. Lovely. Here's what I wrote:
Kiddie killers get smack on wrist
Published Saturday, June 24, 2006
The London Free Press

If a decision Thursday by Canada’s top court is any indication, the Supreme Court reigns supreme in one way only: silliness.

The court upheld a one-day jail sentence for a 15-year old from Winnipeg who had beaten a man to death with two billiard balls inside a sock.

One day. One life. Justice doesn’t necessarily mean fairness.

The high court explained that the Youth Criminal Justice Act, which became law in 2003, is not intended to deter youth crime. Instead, the focus should be on rehabilitation.

I find it difficult to accept that our current legislation can let young offenders off the hook with barely a shrug, and look forward to the federal Conservatives following through on their campaign promise to toughen the existing law.

While I appreciate that we risk hardening young offenders into lifelong criminals if we toughen their punishments, I also appreciate the need for punishment that fits the crime. Ensuring public safety should be the most important goal of all.

Letting killers walk free without holding them accountable endangers society and serves no rehabilitative purpose whatsoever.

Your turn: Unidentified teenager kills a man with two pool balls in a sock. What would you do to him? What do you think about the court's perspective that youth sentences should not deter?
Am I off-centre for thinking that this is insane?


utenzi said...

Michele sent me, Carmi.

I just had a post the other day about capital punishment and my mixed feelings towards it. Your column fits right into that theme.

I agree that with kids rehabilitation should be the focus but I don't see how a one day incarceration is going to do any rehabilitating. Besides, murder should not be under the same umbrella as other kid-crimes. The degree of menace to society should be the guiding principle behind all justice and it sounds like this lad is a menace. Lock him up!

daisy said...

I sure critics can say the U.S. doesn't do it any better. However, I too would be appalled at that sentence. And if I wanted to be a youthful offender I definitely would want to move!

keda said...

wow we have both asked similar questions of our readers this week carmi! its not only canada sadly doing this insane stuff.

why can't sentences deter and rehabilitate?

and why is it that the victims and potential victims are thought of less than the criminals.

i believe personally in longer sentencing and active rehabilitation combined.

i know this is costly, but the costs will be made up for in the benefits both socially and monetary by having them out of circulation for a while.

here via michele babe but i woulda come anyway :)

Miss Cow is a Cow said...

Here via Michele this time, Carmi!

You always write such great pieces. And I love your photos. I just got my camera back (soon to be ex husband broke it--long story), but it's back and I hope to post photos soon!!!

Lise said...

Hi Carmi, Michele sent me.

I too live in Canada and am absolutely hummm shoot I can't find a word for what I feel. It's ridiculous, who cares what age the killer is, he killed a person and he knew what he was doing. Can you imagine how the family of this man feels? I would be ready to go and punish the young man myself.

As for punishment, he just plain go to jail, yes with the big guys.

panthergirl said...

It is insane.

There is certainly a balance between throwing a kid away (long prison sentance which translates into an education in more crime), and this. Why bother with one day?

Frankly, this is someone who needs psychiatric help. If they didn't want to incarcerate him, why not put him in a mental hospital for evaluation and treatment?


Here by way of michele this time!

Shan said...

That is ridiculous. Handing out a weak punishment does not help rehabilitate anyone, but only sends the message that society is not that angry at the criminal, and that the crime isn't so bad. No, we don't need to take this one 15 year old kid and make him an example. We don't need to use this incident to deter other young people from committing these kinds of crimes. But it must, at the very least, deter the criminal from doing something of the sort again.

sage said...

there should be three things to consider with youthful offenders (actually all offenders): 1. punishment (consequences), rehabitalation, and the protection of society. None of these can be fulfilled in one day.

Vickie said...

Deffinately insane hon. As a Canuck in London, I can safely say that home is on it's way to the insanity of the crime we face here.

It's ridiculous. I teach primary school, and hope that I am safe there. I am actually scared of the secondary school kids. Harsch, but true.

Here from Michelle's!

Charles said...

I agree, sentences should deter. In this case, sigh... (shaking head...)

Anonymous said...

Canadian ethics have always been a learning curve for me coming from the U.S. where punishment matches the crime. Canada does not see it that way.

The boy killed someone, incarceration of some term is appropriate with rehabililtation worked in there. For the most part, Canada doesn't give life sentances - but on the odd occasion, then there's still room to navigate.

I would like to know who let this boy out of his cage, so to speak and maybe hold accountable those who were in charge of his care? I think that parentage gets off too easily... If you can't punish the child then by all means go after those who let him go out and KILL!

Kids who kill is a National problem, and that is a problem that no one seems able to fix at this point, don't you agree? Are kids that bored or ignored that they have to kill people to get attention? or are they going to be career criminals?

What kind of punishment fits the crime in Canada? If this was the U.S. he'd go away for at least 25 years.

I just don't know where Canada's kids are going mentally, it doesn't look good from here does it? no...


ChaCha said...

More and more kids are committing crimes. Where do we start first? The parents or lack of, the relatives or foster care raising these kids.( I am not knocking down foster care) Sometimes they grow up on their own, friends raising friends, fall into gangs that become their "families", something these kids have always wanted, and would do anything for, even murder. They are so screwed up, I mean my generation was screwed up but I think some of us snapped out of it, or I sure hope so. This entire topic pisses me off, something only God knows what has to be done like yesterday about these kids. If someone kills, frickin lock them up, let them do time. You can't tell me they didn't know what they were doing, baloney!! Why not kill somebody when all they get is their x-box taken away?? I hope the Conservatives stand up like grown ups and not let the kids take over the world for fear of depriving somebody's rights. And Carmi you wouldn't wanna know what I'd do to him...ok I am done now lol

srp said...

This is insane.
There are people who are sociopaths, they have no feelings of remorse or guilt or anything. How can you rehabilitate someone who has no concept of remorse?
The only rehabilitation would be a prevention of sorts. I suggest that all these video games with heists and gunplay and murders be banned permanently. The companies that make them should go out of business. Parents should be more pro-active in what their kids watch on TV, how much they watch, who their friends are, and such. Of course that would mean parents cleaning up their lives first... as kids see parents smoking, drinking doing drugs and everything else. Of course it won't help those who just don't have the capacity to care for anyone but themselves.

kenju said...

That is unbelieveable, Carmi! Although I suppose similar things happen in the US everyday.

Utenzi said it well: "The degree of menace to society should be the guiding principle behind all justice...."

Michele sent me tonight.

A Woman Changed said...

I kept waiting to hear a punchline of sorts, because, well...I am stunned. This crime was no accident. Beating someone to death in this manner is vicious and most-certainly premeditated. And a 15 year old is fully aware that what he/she is doing is wrong. Rehab along with some kind of hard-labor program would work for me.

Killired said...

carmiiiiiiiiii.... here's to you:

Rene said...

To have the moxie to use a weapon to kill some one with intent is not the act of a "child." The punishment is ridiculous and I would not be surprised to see this person back in jail before his 18th birthday. He definitely should be remanded to a youth facility until his 21st birthday, perhaps his 25th. Would it rehabilitate him? Maybe. It would at least keep him off the streets for ten years.

Anonymous said...

the law system should take a strong grasp on this kids life for the next fifteen years at least.

I'm not saying he should be going to serious jail for all of it, i'm saying his development and education should be monitored and he will know he's not going scot-free. Rehabilitation, under the watchful eye of law inforcement.

David said...

its time to fight for new Justices, or run for your life! those men in robes are dangerous! ( from michele)

Pickalish said...

This is completely insane.

margalit said...

This is a really tough problem, one that can't be solved by either parents or reporters. Kids with this level of violence at such a young age have problems that will never be repaired by jailing them. They need much more than just rehabilitation, too. They need intensive therapy and someone who can get through their exterior and get inside why they are behaving like this in the first place.

Breaking the cycle of violence is difficult, but it has to do with economics, drugs, societies ills, and bad parenting examples.

When my son had his 'issues' and I placed him in a residentent treatment facility because we weren't safe at home, he was with a LOT of kids like this. Kids with no limits at home, or no parents at all. Kids abandoned in the system who learned violence on the streets, or in their own homes. One kid we know has a father in jail for rape, a grandfather in jail for murdering his wife (boys grandmother) and a mother who was incapable of caring for him. He could either be thrown aside in jail for some violent crime, or he could be helped by psychiatrists and medications and caring caretakers. It can be done without incarceration, but I can also understand how you would want to just throw away a kid like this.

Me, I'm a bleeding heart liberal and I think kids like this can be saved unless they are total psychopaths or sociopaths.