Crime and Punishment

I cannot express strongly enough the revulsion and frustration I feel when I think of the sentence handed out to Graham James. The words of the judge describing how she came to her decision make it worse.

The word justice plainly means receiving what is fair or due. How could this sentence be thought of as just? How could it be considered appropriate treatment for this man? He sexually assaulted children hundreds of times. Imagine the mental and moral gymnastics the court had to perform to allow themselves the thought of this man being released after 8 months. His crimes covered years. He had tried to evade the law for many of them. His contrition could have easily been contrived. He could have just been thinking of himself as he told the court how sorry he was for all that happened. Why are we so institutionally gullible?

And please do not use the judge’s weak moralizing about sentencing not being about revenge. Or the equally pathetic assertion that nothing the court can do will undo the damage done by the convicted criminal. Who believes that either of these things are required? Language like this is insulting. We want justice. Not revenge. We know the past cannot be changed. We want the damage to be recognized. We don’t want to be lectured on how to be civilized by a judge whose decisions cheapen the permanently damaged lives of the victims, in this case and others.

Much has been written about the possible harm Prime Minister Harper‘s law and order approach is going to have on Canada. I would be one of those who think his approach to the drug issue is misguided. But seeing how the sentencing options have been proscribed and the assumptions that are being used by the judges involved, it is easy to understand those who want him to take an axe to the entire rotten structure.

If the judges in cases like this one do not appreciate what is required of them by our society, (Which is only justice!) if they so completely misunderstand the seriousness of what has occurred, then take away their freedom to forgive the unforgivable on our behalf. Institute mandatory minimums in sexual assault cases involving children. Now.

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