criminal justice system
The bail process has long been a discussion of reform within the Canadian criminal justice system. The discretionary nature of bail decisions offers opportunities to explore the systemic barriers in the pre-trial process and their broader connection to disparities throughout the criminal justice system.
The current system has tremendous shortcomings -- it abandons victims, leaving them to heal alone, at times powerless, and without any meaningful answers. There is a better way to help victims heal and to hold offenders accountable for their acts while empowering them to improve their lives. That alternative is restorative justice.
In a moment of boredom, two teens in Lanark County, Ont., smash their way into a hardware store and help themselves to the goods. Police nabbed the pair soon after. But instead of going before judge and jury, the teens faced their victims in a citizen-run "restorative justice" forum. It's an approach that's gaining popularity across Canada, showing there's more than one way to be tough on crime.
I think about a teenage boy named Bounmy, who left his village in Laos to find work in neighbouring Thailand. He signed on to work on a fishing boat, with the assurance that he would be paid for all of his work once the boat returned to shore. He was tricked.
All people are sinners and all are good and bad in differing degrees at different times. I am not a moral relativist and am a believer in law and order, the confession and repentance of sin, and the punishment of crimes. But I also believe in forgiveness where the adjudicated penalty has been served, there is remorse and a determination to avoid past misconduct.
Who needs to pay $200.00 a ticket to see Les Misérables in theatres, when we can get free, premium seats in our own courtrooms? Unreasonable fines and the threat of jail for a person's inability to pay a court-imposed fee affronts the spirit of our sentencing principles, is immoral and unconstitutional.
Richard Kachkar's not criminally responsible verdict has divided observers. They feel that justice was not done, that the jury was duped, and worst of all, that Kachkar's life is going to be spared while that of his victim was not. But an NCR finding is not tantamount to escaping justice. And it is not a ticket to freedom.
Our current federal government's approach to dealing with crime and helping victims has been simple and simply wrong: keep people in jail longer, increase sentences, expand mandatory minimums and focus on punishment, not prevention or rehabilitation.
Ontario's Attorney General is directing the province's Crown Attorneys to report instances where police officers have lied while under oath. It's the best news to come out of the criminal justice system in a long time. Sort of. The police will then decide whether to charge one of their own, whether to discipline him or her internally, or whether to do nothing at all.