Friday, December 14, 2007

What do you want?

When Robert Pickton (I'll try not make another post about him) was sentenced what did you want?

Were you hoping for revenge?

Where you hoping for his rehabilitation?

Or, were you simply wanting to keep him away from society?

What about when a drunk driver is convicted?

Or a white collar criminal?

Or a member of organized crime.

The question of what we want from sentencing is one Canadian's don't face except in the most extraordinary circumstances.

Robert Pickton, Paul Bernado and Clifford Olsen are exceptions to the rule.

Crime rates in Canada, generally, are going down. We are as safe now as we ever have been. Regardless of what the Conservative may have you believe, government has little affect on crime rates, demographics do, according to David K. Foot. A country with a lot of 16 to 24 year old males will have a high crime rate. As these young men get married, get jobs and then mortgages, they are less likely to be involved in crime.

I argue we will have true equality in Canada when women are as involved in criminal activity as men.

Sometimes I digress.

When we send mostly young men to prison what do we want to happen? Do we want revenge, rehabilitation or simply keep them away from society for a specified time?

This question is important because there is a strong argument we don't do any of them well.

Men who go to prison often end up back there, the people who are victims of crimes often don't feel their needs are addressed and many Canadians feel sentences are too short.

We need to start the discussion about what Canadians need to be safe, what troubled young men need to get beyond their troubles and how we can help victims of crime move beyond the injustice done to them.
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