After watching several cases where victims relatives gave impact statements and hearing what the Conservatives are trying to introduce into law as changes to the justice code and the parole regulations I feel that the line between justice and revenge has indeed become blurry to say the least. Keeping in mind that the justice system is not supposed to be a place of healing for the victims or their families; they should be seeking qualified medical help for that. Keeping in mind that no impact statement, or amount of verbal abuse heaped on the defendant can undo what they have done. Keeping in mind that these criminals have families and little children that could be adversely affected by the media frenzy that these victim impact statements and parole hearing appearances cause, why do we allow it?
It is one of those things that happened once and we can not seem to stop, because it feels right; we get a sense of doing the right thing. We have convinced ourselves that there is some great healing power in them. Everyone who could stop them is afraid it might cost them an election, so they keep doing what is politically correct, but legally wrong and morally wrong. We know the impact of murder, rape and all of these things and besides what is supposed to impact the judge is the evidence and when handing out the sentence it should be within the limits of the law and based on legal issues not pity for the family. Once a person is eligible for parole I think that it is between him and the system whether, or not they get out of jail and what kind of restrictions are placed on them to insure the safety of all Canadians. Therefore again I feel no need for victim impact statements if it is justice we seek and not vengeance. this impact statement business is politically motivated and although it may make the families and victims feel good this is not what justice is supposed to be about.
I think victim impact statements have a place when trying to create, or influence new law. They should be directed to your members of parliament and not the court. They should be part of who you vote for so that you get the tougher sentencing you desire. You screaming your hatred at a defendant will not stop the judge from giving a 31/2 year sentence to someone who has raped children for 30 years, but voting the right people into office, or out might. I am not saying that victims and their families do not have a right to be heard I am just calling into question the moral and legal validity of it and to what effect it has on achieving what they really are looking for. Do not allow the system to placate you by letting you blow off steam, when what you seek is to stop what has happened to you and your love ones from ever happening again.
Stand up and write your politicians and tell them how this impacted your family and how it will affect whom you vote for if you do not see some changes in law. They are the ones responsible for the weak sentencing and the early parole. Unfortunately there will always be crime, but violent offenders and people who ruin other people’s life through fraudulent scams should not be walking out of jail early and only the politicians can see that this does not happen. Remember also that a lot of times people who rape have been raped; people who steal sometimes are hungry, or feel they have no other choice and some are untreated junkies. Ask your politicians why shelters food banks drug rehabilitation centers are closing, because they have been denied funding. Your answer to justice lies in the halls and committee rooms of Parliament Hill.
When our politicians act the fool in question period and do not address what we need like tougher sentencing and more proactive instead of reactive steps to fight crime, than we lose. When our government is only interested in imprisoning after the fact instead of eliminating what causes crime, then our children get raped murdered and we end up seeking revenge instead of justice. Stay away from the victim impact trap that the politicians have laid out to distract you from the real fight, it is a red herring. Peter them until you get what you want. they make the laws, the court only operates within them.