Friday August 29, 2014

Be still my bleeding heart


I was not surprised Monday’s session of Yorkton provincial court was unproductive news-wise. It has been that kind of week.

As usual though, there was still something to write about. It always breaks my bleeding heart when I see young people on a negative path. In this case, it was a girl who had been charged back in January 2013 with shoplifting from Walmart. She must have been at least 18 at the time because it was on the adult docket, but she couldn’t be more than 19 or 20.

She was back in court because she had not completed alternative measures. This is a great program, which diverts people (usually first offenders) from the justice system. There are many different types of alternative measures, but it usually involves some kind of victim-offender mediation and programs such as counselling or addiction treatment to help offenders deal with personal issues that may be underlying causes of their crimes.

As Judge Patrick Koskie is fond of pointing out, “It’s the best deal you’re ever going to get in this court.”

Asked why she didn’t complete it, she didn’t have a reason. When pressed, she said, “I just didn’t do it.”

I don’t know anything about this girl, but it occurs to me there has to be something broken in a young person’s psyche to simply blow off a great deal such as alternative measures and wind up with a criminal record and $390 in fines, $100 plus surcharge for the theft and $100 plus surcharge each for two counts of failing to comply with an undertaking.

And the kicker here is that the merchandise she stole was worth less than $10. I know it’s hard sometimes at a young age to fully appreciate the consequences of one’s actions, or inaction, but this is a real shame.



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