Rehabilitative Justice

If the law is unable to look at the larger systemic problems of itself; we as citizens must. If politicians choose to look in other directions we need to send them in other directions.  As citizens we seem to have ignored this aspect of society. We are drawn to the calamities that make headlines but it is difficult to see the entire system that surrounds these and many other crimes.

Part of my journey with justice was clearly retributive. If ever I had given cause for punitive measures it was provided without smile. I don’t care about your view of an eye for an eye but no matter your view shouldn’t it accomplish something? It can only be in the public interest to create a fair and rehabilitative system of justice. Retributive justice has been around long enough to demonstrate its efficacy and efficiency. Is it either?

The main premise of retributive justice is that punishment deters the individual from re-offending and others from offending to begin with. If such a fallacy had a shred of merit we would by now have little crime and recidivism would be an anomaly.  Wouldn’t even the past five decades suffice for deterrence to have put crime on the verge of extinction? Most in the correctional system would have eliminated themselves from crime for fear of more of the same. Those who have witnessed this retribution for 50 years would have provided little fuel for this population to remain the same. We pat ourselves on the back for being tough on crime while ignoring the fact that such measures should have made themselves redundant.

I saw the bowels of the justice system and until I entered the Forensic system I saw little good coming out. I saw the broken walking in and the broken walking out. If the justice system was a mechanic you would find a new one rather than give it money to expand. Rehabilitative Justice seems logical to me, unlike our present mechanic its purpose is to restore to good condition through therapy and education. I can hear whispers that criminals are not deserving of therapy let alone education. I can see your logic but as a society why would we bounce around the same people when we can take hold of them and change them? It costs $ 113,974 a year to incarcerate a prisoner in Canada. Training and education would be a five thousand dollar gamble but I think it could be more efficient than mindless degradation and denigration.

I believe that anyone who needs therapy should receive it. Mental health is a medical condition which should be approached as we would a broken bone. I knew one inmate who was made to eat his meals from a dog dish by his father. As a society his offence removes him from anything progressive and in essence we treat him as his father did. When he is released we expect him to interact with the world in an appropriate fashion.

Perhaps it’s not about sense but rather “cents”. If you want an idea of whom retributive justice and its outcomes serve, check out the average income of a lawyer, a judge, a police officer, a parole officer or a correctional officer. Someone profits from feeding, clothing and housing these populations as well. Crime in fact does pay.

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