Priminister Stephen Harper has announced his strategy plan to stop youth violence – sentence them life in prison for first and second degree murders. These kids will be 14 years and older, and I have to say I’m pretty enraged. This US-style “crackdown” on violence doesn’t work. It only makes the situation worse, ignores every single social-problem, and instead of trying to create a solution it’s blaming the victim – the child caught up in the violence.
Reporter: Les Whittington
Under his proposed law-and-order legislation, judges would have the option to sentence youths 14 and older to life in prison if they are convicted of first-degree or second-degree murder, Harper said yesterday.
He also said he would legislate tougher sentences for other violent youth crime, such as attempted murder, manslaughter and aggravated assault. And Harper would change the law to ensure that names of those convicted would be made public.
Accusing previous governments of being soft on crime, Harper said: “We have been going in the wrong direction for 30 to 40 years in this country and it is going to take some time to get this turned around.”
Campaigning in Ottawa, the Conservative leader said society’s understanding of the negative affects on young people of living in poverty or broken homes shouldn’t outweigh the need for justice.
“In many cases, deep troubles in the home and in the environment where children are being nurtured does, in fact, contribute to delinquent or even criminal behaviour.”
But “in the end, while I can feel terrible sympathy for those kinds of situations, once a person goes down the route of murder, rape, beatings, killings – none of that becomes an excuse for that behaviour.”
A primary goal of the new law would be to discourage others from committing crimes. The problem with that, says Anthony Doob, a criminology professor at the University of Toronto, is that dozens of studies have shown that incarceration does not work as a deterrent.
“Do we really believe that kids who would commit a crime would do it if they get three years, but they wouldn’t if they got five years? One of the real purposes of having a youth system is to say that kids should be dealt with differently.”
*I will keep this blog up-to-date with responses from the public, activists etc. The elections are coming up, let’s all get educated and vote.