We need changes to our laws, or -"The Law is an Ass" at times.
A recent judge's decision that eight months in jail and three months' probation was a fair punishment for a man who had possessed and indeed himself produced child pornography, and who had sexually assaulted two young girls left the father of one of them outraged, and rightly so.
Will this slap on the wrist prevent such a man from further offenses once he is released? I think not. It will give him time to reminisce about former deeds and to plan new methods of attack. Such a man will not change. He will continue to be a menace to children. Before long, he will be in court again, on similar charges. Rape and sexual assault are closely akin to murder. The body of the victims may not be permanently damaged but their souls may well be. What has been done will damage his victims for their lifetime.
So sufficient time in custody for this man to be given treatment, to be given counselling that may possibly allow enough time for his behaviour to change, surely is a necessity.
I was much disturbed, too, by the Crown's suggestions regarding the three young people who set fires in Penticton 'for fun'. One blaze caused about ten million dollars in damages to a badly needed seniors' facility. Detailed plans to set more fires were found in the cell of one of the boys. Both boys are said to have 'laughed about their accomplishments' and neither one has shown remorse. The Crown is asking for a 'maximum two year sentence with one year of probation' for these boys.
Both suffered from 'turbulent upbringings' and are very sick children. Time in jail is not the answer - indeed, it will only expose them to hardened criminals and assure their future in crime. What, then, is the answer for them?
Canada has no facillities for cases like this, but is a facility the answer? I think not.
Perhaps the answer would be to place each in a special foster home - one with wise parents and perhaps other young people of secure values. Counsellling must take place. But it seems to me that work is also the answer. Hard, supervised work. And the idea of replayment should enter in, too. Not that these youths can ever make the necessary millions to replace what they have destroyed, but if much of what they receive goes to some laudable fund, it might have two effects. One would be the idea that crime really does not pay! And hard physical work is healing. Along with good parenting and hard work, they might be able to change their dangerous thinking.
And perhaps they need a tracking device for some years, too. Knowledge of their whereabouts is vital! A change in the law seems needed to address the needs of such children. And wouldn't it be less expensive and more hopeful than incarcerating them?
Frustrated in Penticton, D.M.