Something has to change: Our justice system needs to stop needing to warn us they’re releasing predators into our midst

Mike Davies, Editor-in-Chief  Ω

Every time the RCMP issue a warning to the public that another violent offender is being released back into society it makes me a little angrier.

Let me first say that I completely believe in people getting a second chance after making mistakes in life, and that rehabilitation of offenders should be the priority in our judicial system.

People have the ability to learn from their mistakes, after all, which is why we have a system in place to punish offenders in the first place, is it not?

But when someone has completed their mandated time behind bars for committing an act contrary to the public interest, and they have still been deemed a threat to society after that term has been served — so much so that various agencies responsible for public safety make their presence in a community known to those living there — they should not be released into that community.

In these situations, what is basically being said is, “We know he’s a dangerous predator, but we can’t hold him any more. Hopefully us telling you he’s in your neighbourhood is enough warning for you to be able to defend yourselves — or at least avoid him, maybe?”

This is unacceptable.

Would it be okay to release a tiger into a daycare full of children and say, “Just so everyone knows, there’s a tiger in here. We didn’t want to feed him anymore, and we know he’s super dangerous, but at least we told you before we let him loose, right?”

There has to be some kind of reform of our judiciary process.

Why can’t we sentence violent offenders who are serious threats to society to a term of “indefinitely?” It works for suspensions in sports, and what I’m talking about is far more serious.

Or maybe a term like, “Until deemed to be no longer a threat to those around him.”

I know, I know. This is Canada and that would be taking away people’s freedoms. Wait — isn’t that the point of a jail term anyway?

Some will say that we simply do not have the resources (read as money) to keep prisoners indefinitely or be constantly measuring their level of rehabilitation.

Psychoanalysts are expensive, right?

Well who is deciding that these people are a risk to others upon their release? That the public should be warned about the imminent danger to their safety? That the chances of this person re-offending is high?

If you can judge that well enough to have it be morally responsible to announce it to the world — and in fact consider it your duty to do so — then how can we not figure out a way to keep them locked up and just avoid that possible future problem in the first place?

Something has to change.

Any suggestions?

One Response

  1. Meagan Bagley Nov. 17, 2011