Criminal Justice III


I have written about our criminal justice system before and maybe some of you are getting tired of it. However, it is a subject that just refuses to go away. Our new government, under PM Stephen Harper, promised during the election campaign to crack down on some of the injustices perpetrated upon us, the free and law abiding citizens of Canada. A very conservative view that harkens back to the adage that if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. Let’s hope he was serious about this.

Let’s start off with Ms Robin Davis. Here we have a woman whom the judge “described as a common petty criminal” with 20 prior theft convictions, gave her a credit of 3 to 1 for time served while awaiting sentencing in jail. This resulted in her getting one day’s incarceration – the least possible after Davis pleaded guilty to two counts of theft and two counts of unauthorized credit card use. Ms Davis apparently had endured conditions at Windsor Jail that took away her “basic dignity.” “Conditions at the local jail were more abysmal than usual,” Justice Douglas Phillips said. She had to deal with overcrowding and soiled mattresses including periods when she shared a single-bed cell with two other inmates. Gee, with 20 prior convictions, you’d think she’d know what she was letting herself in for. Now a bunch of these losers are threatening a civil action with Ms Davis seeking seek $350,000 in the lawsuit. Sam Vucinic, Davis’ lawyer, and obviously one who perpetuates all those lawyers jokes we share around the water cooler, said more than 15 inmates have contacted him about the jail’s conditions.

I really don’t care if the whole jail population has contacted him, I don’t think prisoners have any rights, other than to a fair and speedy trial, once they are nabbed. Especially after 20 convictions. Somehow you just know the usual slap on the wrist is not working for this woman. Perhaps instead of lounging all day watching TV and eating bon-bons, the prisoners should be made to clean up their own messes. Of course, then they would have no one to blame but themselves for soiled mattresses and once they got sick of cleaning them, there would be less overcrowding as there would be fewer repeat offenders.

Ken Golish, president of the Essex Law Association said local lawyers will likely seek reduced sentences for their clients because of Phillips’ ruling. While allowed in our justice system, a three for one credit for time served is unusual. Perhaps if they eliminated this 2 for 1 and 3 for 1 and made the criminal do the full sentence after being found guilty, that would cut down on recidivism too.

I have to take my hat off to the sheriff in the southern states (sorry, his name escapes me) who puts his prisoners in pink clothes, houses them in tents and makes them work on a chain gang. He’s got the right idea. I don’t believe he gets too many repeat guests other than the truly hardened criminal who just refuses to wise up.

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