Masochistic Perceptions, Trials and Truths

These are my cyberfied cerebral synapses ricocheting off reality as I perceive it: thoughts, opinions, passions, rants, art and poetry...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Justice Rolling on the Toe of Sisyphus

Sipping my coffee over this morning’s newspaper, I couldn’t help but notice the number of articles regarding the Justice System in this country. In the Editorial section there was a chunk of letters from readers baffled by recent court decisions including four youths being released on bail while awaiting trial for beating a man to death on a city bus. There is also outrage that a former Saskatchewan politician, Colin Thatcher, who is serving time for murdering his wife, has received up to 72 hours of liberty away from the minimum security prison where he now resides. Those of you who have been reading my Blog for some time might also remember a rant I had posted regarding the Correctional Service of Canada’s Lifeline programme which pays ‘lifer’s’ a higher salary than Correctional Officer’s like myself, to escort inmates around for appointments, etc. I was shocked at how little press that issue has received. Finally, returning to the Sunday Reader section of today’s paper, there was a full page article on the Guardian Angel’s group to set up chapters in Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton.

I have stressed this point before and must do so again: Canada (and I would go as far as sating the majority of Western Nations) do not have a Justice System, but, rather, a Legal System. The effort to insure individual rights has, unfortunately, resulted in unreasonable leeway for offenders, clouding the line between rights and privileges, etc. The focus of our System has shifted so heftily to the concepts of rehabilitation that the entire focus is now on helping Offenders, at the expense of totally neglecting their victims and those tasks with enforcing the laws of the land.

So, now we are left with a problem with no clear solution. It may very well be a slippery slope when it comes to retracting certain rights of individuals as what is reasonable to one may not be reasonable for others and, once the perpetual swinging pendulum begins to gain momentum, it might skid beyond the point we wish to be. Again, the theme of “freedom to” and “freedom from” has crept up in previous missives here on my site. One may ask, are movements such as the Guardian Angels the next step we need to take as a community action, or would that lead to vigilante justice and a whole can of worms that we rather not open? It’s a tough call.

As someone who works as a Correctional Officer in a maximum security prison, I will admit to being biased. Regardless of how tainted I may be, I do not think that most civilians who saw the state of affairs in our prisons would argue that the balance of justice is off the scale in that most federal inmates live better than lower income law abiding citizens, seniors, etc. One must also ask about the rehabilitative ideology fuelling our correctional system in that, in a world with any sense, we should not be looking to rehab murderer’s and child rapists to put them back into the community. In my opinion, these creatures should be warehoused for the remainder of their lives with the bare essentials at the very least, and executed at best.

Violent crime in Canada is definitely on the rise as we see the numbers of gangs increasing (call me an old fart on this but I definitely blame the Arts Community’s validation of the whole Hip Hop scene and allowing it to become fashionable in mainstream culture as being partially responsible – see previous blog entries on this as well…), cities like Toronto having their highest number of gun deaths last year as well as Edmonton reaching a murder high. Canada hasn’t become as bad as places like the US where there are some 1000 gun related deaths every month – an insane total when you reflect that the US has lost 1500 or so soldiers over the past three years in Iraq where they are fighting a WAR! True, America still has a high level of violent crime in spite of several States having the death penalty, but I’m not advocating the death penalty as a direct deterrent to crime, but, rather to put it forward that an individual forfeits their right to live in society if they take that right away from another. I’m not even advocating this in the spirit of an ‘eye for an eye’ – I’m just saying that it’s a red card and your out of the game, full stop.

In conclusion, all I can stress is that this is our society and people really need to get active and participate in the whole democratic process – write your politicians and newspaper, attempt to get momentum going over the WWW, etc. So many people go through life and react when something affects them directly (most often it is then too late). Even through pro-activity, it is often an arduous and unfruitful undertaking. Still, in the spirit of Sisyphus, we must soldier on!


  • At 7:55 p.m. , Blogger Jetting Through Life said...

    Just dropping by for my weekly hello!!


  • At 1:02 p.m. , Blogger Real-E said...

    Thanks for stopping in again JTL! Hope all is well with you!

    Further to my missive here, one of the ranges were lighting fires until the wee hours of the morning, so my 8 hour shift became a 14 hour one as I and a couple officers were manning firehoses. You can imagine the smoke in such a confined setting. So, here we have a number of fire starting salvos and after we turned the hose on the inmates, we then have to go through the motions of taking a nurse to come around and make sure that they are all okay. It truly is like Monty Python! The cons complain about the smoke and the water and then set more fires! The end result, both Officers and inmates are cold and wet (in spite of wearing SCBA's for the bulk of the time, I blew my nose when I arrived home and the tissue looked like something out of a coal miner's lungs), the cons will be locked down for a few days, claims against the Crown will be submitted by offenders for water damage to their stereos, etc. and the only real repercussion is a very outside chance they will get arson charges in outside court (which doesn't really affect someone too porrly when they are doing life for murder).

    Sweet justice!

  • At 3:05 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hi! Nodrog in to say I only saw you on camera as you put out fires and escorted Rose around. You missed "knock-on-noggin" day monday? I know we are in a "system" that protects offenders from responsibility and ensures victims don't suffer from attention, but can we have officers like (recently retired) pushing the burning material back in the cells? I wish! We are not doing much to prevent release of Cop-killers and Dangerous Sex-offenders either. Note the number of them on the street because Parole was condidered a right. These and other topics discussed last night. But, do you ever worry that "they" are reading your blogs?

  • At 9:35 a.m. , Blogger Real-E said...

    Nodrog, never forget our freedom of speech! I am committed to doing my job as an Officer to the letter while on post. When off post, I am equally committed to force change as a Canadian citizen (for whom the CSC works) and as a progressive Officer esposing the Core Values of staff being a cornerstone and major resource. I hope that they ARE reading my blog. With this, to quote Churchill: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat."


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