Monday, September 22, 2008

Deliverance or why Harper needs to take a time out

In December 2006 the Supreme Court reported on the Youth Criminal Justice Act and determined that the existing act has been successful in rehabilitating youths that have been charged with violent crimes.

The report went further suggesting that the act should be expanded with even more focus on rehabilitation.

In the latest Statics Canada Report for 2007 youth crimes have actually decreased by 1.5%.

Leading experts on youth justice such as Nick Bala of Queens University advise that “studies have shown that deterrence – stiffer sentences to send others a message that they should not commit the same crime – does not work for youth.”

“It would be nice if it did, but it doesn't,” he said. “That's a rationally-based theory that ignores the fact that young people have bad judgment and are not thinking rationally. They're not thinking about getting caught.”

Which is why our Supreme Court in May of this year struck down Harper’s first pass at resetting the age limits, ruling that “youths under 18 must always have a presumption that they will be treated as young offenders, unless a court approves adult treatment”.
Ignoring all this, Harper our authoritarian cultist is proposing to change the Youth Criminal Act and put 14 year olds away for life if they are convicted of violent crimes such as murder.
In fact sentences for all juvenile crime (14 to 18 years of age) will be increased.

Sentencing for other violent crimes will be increased to a maximum of 14 years in prison from the existing 6 year terms and Harper will also remove the law protecting the identity of young offenders over 14 who are convicted of a serious crime. The Globe here.
In order to appease Quebec (and thank god, allah and Jean Lesage for their distinct society) which has always favored an emphasis on rehabilitation, particularly for young criminals, Harper is proposing to let the provinces select their own age limits.

So what is the point of Harper’s proposal, if the provinces can decide to opt out and set their own age limits.

Quite simply Harper is fulfilling a commitment to his Reform Party base by instituting a key policy right out the 1997 Reform Party platform.
As explained by the Liberal Candidate and former Regina Police Chief Calvin Johnston

“Nothing in today’s announcement will actually help police fight crime and reduce crime levels throughout our communities.

In fact, the only real outcome from this new policy would be to weaken the opportunity to rehabilitate young offenders,”
So here we are with a supposed law and order government that objects to the banning of handguns by the city of Toronto, or any other gun by any other other city for that matter.

A government that has secretly declared they will abolish the registering of rifles

And now they have decided to change the Young Offenders act even though it will surely fail any Supreme Court challenge, just to appease some rednecks from a defunct racist party.

It must be time to get a pickup truck, I think I'm starting to hear banjo music.

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