Monday, June 7, 2010

What if Judges had to live directly with their sentencing decisions?

CBC News - Saskatchewan - Regina man repeatedly stabbed as child watches

As Aldo recently relayed to me, what is it going to take to change the Youth Criminal Justice Act?


When I look at a story like this, my first question was "How big is a 10" knife"? And the answer? Waaaaaaay too big to just carry around "in case something happens".

Now Mr. Hughes is very fortunate to be alive after being stabbed multiple times with a 10" blade. Some may even call his actions courageous or brave or heroic. What it comes down to though, is that these kids will be back on the street within the week, if not today, and it's all because of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

While I don't necessarily disagree with the premise of the Act, that kids are allowed to "make mistakes" and not suffer the consequences of those minor foul ups, there seems to be no limit to the number of mistakes those kids can make on the Youth "get out of jail free" Act. Personally, I'd like to see some changes, and I don't know how big the public appetite is for those changes, but I'll give it a shot:

The Youth Criminal Justice Act should only apply to mischief or theft under a certain threshhold, say $5,000. Anything else should be punishable by adult sentences and time in a detention facility. That threshhold should be cumulative - if he/she has 50 offenses of $100, then away they go. If they steal a car - go straight to Jail, do not pass go. Every offense after brings more detention time.

By doing this, the spirit and the intention of the YCJA would be upheld while the serious offenders would be taken off the street where they can maybe be "rehabilitated" without seriously harming society. The alternative is teaching a generation of kids that everything's legal as long as you're under 18.

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