Friday, January 04, 2008

Is it time to change the Youth Criminal Justice Act?

Jeff Allan asks that question this morning.

What do you think?

Has the vicious fatal stabbing of Stephanie Rengel finally made you say, "Enough is enough?"

Joe Warmington thinks so - Enough of this 'hug-a-thug' approach.


Now I'll just sit back and wait for reader Gayle to chime in.


19 comments:

Anonymous said...

It was time to change the youth criminal justice act a long, long time ago.

Stop coddling the criminals at all ages, send a message that will resonate and stick.

Can't leave it up to schools and parents alone. There needs to be teeth.

Although, haven't we just made changes to the Safe Schools Act because some believed it to be too harsh in removing misbehaving students from the classroom, thus weakening the clout teachers and the policy have in a place where kids spend the majority of their young lives?

What is really amazing in this instance is the power that the girl had over the young man. How does that happen exactly?

What must hurt big time is being a parent of the girl who allegedly suggested the boy kill the other girl. How can this be defended at all?

The very sad thing is that just a year ago we had all three levels of governments spouting their shock at the Boxing Day murder on Young Street. All three levels made promises to help.

None have and here we sit again.

Either people are simply apathetic fools, or stupid for ever trusting another government promise.

Alberta Girl said...

"Now I'll just sit back and wait for reader Gayle to chime in."

Ha Ha - good one.

I think this is a topic near and dear to Gayle's heart - so much so that she often ends up protecting and making excuses for the criminal all the while coming across as condescending and arrogant to those of us who do not work in the Youth Criminal Justice System.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

A.G. - I always find that it's a most interesting education to observe the inner workings of a leftie mind.

I hope she doesn't disappoint us today.

tori said...

anon:

I seem to remember that there was a case brought to the OHRC that stated the Safe Schools Act was discriminatory to certain racial groups...can someone confirm this?

Correctional Grunt said...

Six years secure custody, plus four years community supervision for a seventeen year old young offender guilty of murder. How anyone can defend that as appropriate sentencing for a life deliberatley taken is absolutley ridiculous and idiotic.

How would you guys feel about a twenty one year old "young offender", doing time for murder in a youth facility, having access to $100,000 for an IRCS "Program" (Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision Order) to buy comic books and have his own personal one supervising staff, paid= for by IRCS, watch rented movies with him or play X-Box? I know, because I work in a youth facility where I see it happening. Imagine how that money could be used to help a poor family buy housing. No, our provincial Liberal government under McGuinty would rather it be spent on criminals who have absolutley zero appreciation for the life they stole.

No amount of explanation or justification from left wing apologists can excuse that. None.

kursk said...

"What is really amazing in this instance is the power that the girl had over the young man. How does that happen exactly?"

It's called sex.

I don't know what you mean by none of the three parties acting on this type of crime..i think the conservatives have been pretty clear with their law and order agenda.

I seem to recall a fair bit of obstructionism from the left however, at every turn..

correctional grunt said...

As a youth correctional officer, let me give you guys an insider view of the YCJA, programming, and rehabilitation.

I am one of many Correctional Officers in a Young Offender facility in Ontario; or at least we USED to be. During the last Government's tenure we saw our job titles changed to "Youth Services Officer". That tells you exactly what our current and former provincial and federal Liberal Government's attitude is and was towards young offenders; that they be "serviced".

We are are not even allowed to refer to them as "young offenders" when we write out and report them for in-facility infractions and incidents. Now they are "young persons", and the word "criminal" or "offender", which is exactly what they are, is forgotten for fear of damaging their already tender sensibilities.

Our use of force training in no longer provided. Now it is U.M.A.B., "understanding and managing aggressive behavior." We have our officers being continuously investigated and disciplined for defending themselves and we face threats and assaults on a daily basis from these poor, disadvantaged "young persons". A simple allegation of physical abuse by a young offender who is a murderer or a rapist, even made by one known to falsely accuse in the past, can turn the life of an officer and his family upsidedown, because these are vulnerable "young persons" in need of protection.

We have people running our institutions that have absolutley no experience dealing with young offenders in an instiutional setting, making it very difficult if not impossible to empathize with us and see these issues from our points of view. All too often, superintendants and deputy superintendants positions of our facilities are used for political purposes and as a dumping ground to hide incompetent people.

Right now, we know the public is outraged at the coddling that young offenders are receiving in this pathetic excuse of a justice system. I tell you, for the most part the public and the people only know a minuscle fraction of the outrageous coddling that goes on in these facilities in the name of "justice, rehabilitation, and detterence". If the public and ESPECIALLY the victims knew the true extent (and I and many others have many memories and experiences of such numerous instances), they would practically go insane at the thought and the justifications Ministry officials give to support all this coddling of people who have destroyed whole families. It is too bad that I cannot give any specific examples, because we have to protect the right to privacy of these criminal thugs, while their victims try to rebuild their lives.

More and more stories are being reported of these young criminals; some of them robbers, rapists, and murderers serving jokes of a sentence and being released to live out the rest of their young lives; totally unconcerned and unfazed by the havoc they have wrought in their victim's lives. I speak from personal experience when I say that all most of them are concerned about when they are put in jail is getting out and getting on with THEIR lives. I have witnessed countless times how these unrepentant thugs manipulate the system to their advantage while many of the people who support the perpetuation of this system either look the other way, or are willfully blind to their machinations.

Too many of these repeat young offenders are receiving "alternative measures" in sentencing, and its a big joke to them as they get ready to move on to adult jails, glorifying thier "graduation". Repeat offenders that are eventually brought to a judge are often given non-custody sentences or just let off in the "care" of their dubious parents. Do you have any idea how many of these young offenders breach the conditions of these laughable sentences? Based on experience, I'd wager over 90% of the ones that finally receive custody sentences and come into our jurisdiction have breaches among their charges.

More and more are guilty of violent crimes. More and more are joining gangs, both in jail and out. They don't care about counselling, they don't care about rehabilitation. They don't care about victims left in their wake. Hell, they don't even care if they go to jail, because they know for a fact that it is a collosal joke before they move on to the adult system.

So is building more facilities and jailing them longer the right idea? Will it help stop youth crime? Maybe, maybe not. But one thing is for certain. It will take these thugs off the street and help make them safer.

correctional grunt said...

Hmmm Joanne, the usual left-bot apologists are notably absent. Well, I'm sure they will slither in eventually. ;)

Realistically speaking and based on experience, I know we are only very rarely helping these young offenders; especially the violent and entrenched ones. The way the system is set up now is failing. There is no bite to it, and it is seen as a huge joke by those offenders going through it. I hear them laughting about it all the time, every day making light of rehabilitative attempts by the Ministry. They speak all the time of taking programs only to shorten their sentences as they make their "plans" for when they are released. And if THEY think the current Act is pathetic, then you KNOW we have a problem. They are the LAST ones that should not be taking the justice system seriously.

And with that being the case, how do you think the victims of these thugs feel when they go to court and see these laughable sentences handed down to the scum that ruined their lives? Many times we are the escorting officers for these offenders when they attend sentencing hearings. Listening to the cries of dismay from victims and family members upon sentencing makes me question sometimes why I do what I do.

As I've stated, if the public in general only knew the whole true extent, they'd be frothing at the mouths. For example, we are seeing our use of force policy changing and being watered down so much, it can't even be called that anymore. Our Insitutional Crisis Intervention Teams are slowly being phased out in order to create a more so-called compassionate and caring environment. Our restraint policies are now being written by people that have spent not one day on the front lines seeing if stuff like this will work in an institutional setting. I've tried it, I know it doesn't work. Our institutions are often being run by people who have not had one day's benifit of working on the floor, having sat comfortably, for example, in a Probation and Parole office pushing paper. All too often these upper management positions are politically motivated appointments based on using our institutions as dumping grounds to hide these incompetent bureaucrats because they are looking after each other. And we, the officers on the floor, suffer the consequences for it.

All this is a recipe for cynicism for the people like me working on the front line, dealing everyday with these unrepentant and smirking criminals. We know this system is not having the affect it should. We know that our management is unsupportive much of the time. However, the one thing we know for sure is that we have other. And THAT is why we keep doing what we do; not for any misguided notion that we are helping these pampered and coddled thugs, but for the brother or sister standing next to us.

Anonymous said...

correction grunt - your postings are very informative and sad all at the same time. I apologize for all gov't's, institutions and laws that make your job difficult. It shouldn't be that way.

If the conservative law and order agenda is so great....where is it??
What's the hold up? Don't tell me it's the Liberal senate...again?

Tori - I remember the issue of a disproportional number of black and immigrant students being suspended and the backlash against the Safe Schools Act, which by all accounts worked pretty well. The crux of the matter(sorry Sandy) is that in large part the way the Safe School Act was administered or not, and how principals and school admin. could abuse the policy had more to do with its effectiveness than anything else.

Policy in the end is just that though, if there's one weak link in the chain not much will change.

We live in a province and country where the axis of excuses outranks common sense, and where victims of crimes and their families suffer and the criminals get off.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Hmmm Joanne, the usual left-bot apologists are notably absent. Well, I'm sure they will slither in eventually. ;)

I do hope they have the courage to weigh in here, CG. Or perhaps they too have finally had enough.

In any case, thanks so much for your very personal expertise. I'm still wading through all that you wrote.

I can't wait for Gayle to read it. Where are you Gayle???

Joanne (True Blue) said...


The very sad thing is that just a year ago we had all three levels of governments spouting their shock at the Boxing Day murder on Young Street. All three levels made promises to help.

None have and here we sit again.


Kursk is right to point out that the Conservatives have been very active on this file, and the other parties have been obstructionists.

Check the update.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I tell you, for the most part the public and the people only know a minuscle fraction of the outrageous coddling that goes on in these facilities in the name of "justice, rehabilitation, and detterence". If the public and ESPECIALLY the victims knew the true extent (and I and many others have many memories and experiences of such numerous instances), they would practically go insane at the thought and the justifications Ministry officials give to support all this coddling of people who have destroyed whole families. It is too bad that I cannot give any specific examples, because we have to protect the right to privacy of these criminal thugs, while their victims try to rebuild their lives.

Correctional Grunt, that's quite the story you tell, and yet I know you would like to disclose so much more. Can you not give more details as long as no identification is given? The public has a right to know.

Joe Wamback was on CTV last night. He was almost in tears. He said that the young offenders get so much in terms of counseling and education. The victims' families get zip and often end up in divorce and with other issues due to the lack of funding for counseling.

This has to change.

paulsstuff said...

"I can't wait for Gayle to read it. Where are you Gayle???"

I haven't seen Gayle post on any blogs for a few weeks. Hopefully everything is OK with her.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Gayle is normal and taking a vacation like the rest of us should have? I think we're the idiots.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I do hope Gayle is alright.

She may actually have more important things to do today than read my blog. ;)

maryT said...

Isn't there a song-Breaking up is hard to do-
We need a new song, breaking up is dangerous for you. How many women have been killed by jealous husbands and boyfriends, after the female has left the relationship. And, how many kids have been killed re custody fights.

tori said...

jo,

I was reading this:
http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/publications/files/reports/2005envscan.pdf

on pg 74 in- the endnote- it states that "the number of repeat (young)offenders is not known" and that the last stats that tracked this was back in 1999-2000 where it was found that 102,601 youths were processed and that 2/3 of them resulted in convictions. Of those convicted, 35% were repeat offenders.

Am i reading correctly??? There are no recent stats that track recidivism rates for youth??? That can't be right...

Correctional Grunt said...

Tori, you have no idea how many times I read the police briefs in the paper to see a twenty-something former "resident" of the youth facility where I work making the "news" as an adult. It happens a lot more than you think. I think that they won't show us the stats because of the abysmal failure their coddling of these young criminals really is.

Many of the people who work at the local adult lockup I attend common training with never fail to mention the stories that they have one of our former inmates coming in. They go in, shoot their mouth off to whoever without a care in the world, proclaiming loudly about their RIGHTS. This lasts about ten minutes, at which time they show up at the office bars and clutching their face and complaining that they "fell down" while some of the prisoners on the range massage bruised hands.

I can't even count the times I've tried to warn them what the adult system is really like, but all most of them do is flash a gang sign and say "yeaaaaaaaahhhhhhh", because it is, well, the "thug life", and its cool.

And Joanne, sorry, I wish I could give more details, but as they say, the devil is in the details. its not very difficult to extraoplate ID based on some details. I can't risk losing my job over that. But you know, I should keep a journal. There might be a book in it, lol. ;)

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks, CG. Between what you've said here and a comment that a doctor left today on another post, I fear that our province is going down the tubes.

But thanks for your insight. It is greatly appreciated.