With all of the new laws and bills pertaining to the young people of this country when it comes to crime prevention and the way the government of Canada intends to deal with all of this I find myself concerned for the children of this generation. I do of course believe that anyone committing crimes should be punished for them, but I believe that to simply throw a child into an institution without trying to rehabilitate, educate and turn around that young life is to just create a bigger problem. You maybe asking yourself who am I to say such things and what of all the government studies done by their experts and I say that you get from a study what you are looking for and that numbers can be read and interpreted anyway you want and mean whatever you want them to. I have lived the life of crime and feel that I know why I took my first step into the life of crime with the rest of my friends and I will tell you a little about it and hopefully convince you that this new get tough on children committing serious crime will not work, but will in the end put unskilled, uneducated, prison hardened young adults back on the streets of this country, where they will commit crimes more sophisticated, more vicious and more often than when they went in as children.
Being poor is no fun and I grew up poor, not the poorest, but poor and I wanted the things that I could not have. I remember me and my friends wanting things like leather gloves, winter boots that we did not have to put a Weston plastic bread bag in to keep the water from wetting our shoes. We wished that we did not have to wear our older brother’s hand me down clothing which had been repaired with patches. We wished for fruit like oranges, pears and peaches that we could see in the grocery store window but were too expensive for us to ever get. We wished for an ice cream on a hot day, take out from the restaurant and homes without roaches and rats as roommates, but when none of our wishes came true we decided to make them happen and this began our long journey together and then apart into the life of crime, juvenile detention and ultimately ending with most of us going to jail as adults at one time or another, with some of my friends still in there.
I remember walking with my brother to school when I was about 8 years old and us looking in a car window and seeing a pair of driving gloves, it was hot out and the window was down and with a little encouragement from my brother I opened up the door took the gloves and we ran the rest of the way to school. We shared the gloves and it felt so good to have something we wanted as opposed to what we needed, or could afford. We did not know that we had taken the first steps into a life of crime.
Not too long passed before my brother and I came upon a soft drink truck with its side doors open making deliveries and we decided to help ourselves to another thing that we could not afford to have and again we got away with it and were now feeling that the way to get what you could not afford was to just take it from those who had it. We were not violent yet, but we were on our way. You see being poor does not stop the desire to have nice things, a nice home, or things that taste good to eat, it just heightens ones desire for them and what everyone else takes for granted we the poor feel we would just like to have even if it is just once. I think that until the advantages of the rich are brought within reach of the poor and the gap is narrowed crime will be always there as the bridge to all of the things that everybody needs to feel good about themselves and survive.
In time we robbed purses from women to get cash, stripped roofs of copper to resell to scrap yards and broke into businesses at night to steal the things we needed, or get things for resell to people in our neighborhood. We were sent to every juvenile detention center in Quebec and one in Ontario and in all of them there was no schooling, no counseling except from the other inmates and what they taught was not going to make us better citizens when we come out. As I have stated many times before I ended up running after hours houses and selling swag and drugs before I was 14 years old. By 18 years old I was living with a 36-year-old woman, an ex-prostitute and learning how to take money from women as a pimp and gigolo. I had become an uneducated, unemployable bum and a real menace to society, in spite of all of the juvenile detention time. I am one of thousands of children that passed through a system that did not care to give us chance in life and only sought to punish us and because of it society paid dearly. The taxpayer had to pay for our incarceration, the tax payer had to pay every time we did damage to their property and with higher insurance costs and finally the taxpayer had to pay when we got their children involved in crime with broken hearts. This is what happens when there is no preventative work being done to prevent crime and the government seeks only to punish.
By the time I was a man in the eyes of the court I was running 2 body houses in the greater Montreal area and had a partial interest in 3 others and I thought that I had realised my dream of never again having to look at the price of things again, that is until I got busted for living off of the avails of prostitution and the system took everything that I had acquired away from me. None of the rich men and women that frequented these houses were ever arrested for buying sex. None of these rich men and women ever had their pictures turned over to the press to be shamed publicly like I was. It seemed to me that I was the only one being punished by the law. All of my ill-gotten cash was taken from me; my name and picture was publicised in the Hello Police paper for all to see. It made me feel that it was okay to do crime if you were rich, but again if you were poor you would be made to suffer like in every other circumstance, so if that was how life was why not enjoy the good times to the fullest and then just do your time when it came, because this was just your fate the fate of the poor. I did do time in jail and again the only programs that were available to improve oneself were only possible to get into if you were doing long time, or never getting out, so what good is that when trying to change, or rehabilitate a short time stay guy or gal? Serving time does nothing to change a person’s life for the better without counseling, job skill training and a chance of a real honest life when the inmate gets out. If the person remains unemployable then what choice do they have but to go back to their old life of crime?
What I am getting at is this government approach to crime will exacerbate the problem not solve it. This government has cut all of the programs that were working such as the jobs for inmates programs, the farming programs and any hope of pardon for a lot of inmates. They have decided to keep children in jail longer and even put them in adult prisons. Releasing a prisoner of any age from any institution with no chance for a pardon, no education, no counseling, no job skills is a mean thing to do to society and the inmate. I can guarantee you that 90% of these inmates will be going back to prison, because all that they know is crime. How much destruction and pain they cause while out there depends at how much they learned while in jail. My point is this that the rich and the government have put themselves above the law and on a pedestal when it comes to dealing with the poor and the crime that is committed by the poor. We are aware that the rich so-called white-collar criminals that are responsible for ruining our economy with their greed, a treachery go to nice places to play golf and such for their crimes while we get to dodge bull queers and jail house gangs. If all hope is taken away from the criminal and they are given no chance to improve then you will get more crime not lessen it. The poor have nothing to lose they think that jail is in their future anyway no matter what they do and this makes the poor dangerous to you.
If you make it hard for me to get and education and thereby make it impossible for me to find work and feed my family, cloth them and provide them shelter I will find all of these things in the only way that is left to me and if this means taking it from you and your children this is what will happen. The government can neither afford to lock up all of the poor that commit crimes nor ignore that what used to be the middle class has become the poor. Mark my words a time is coming where the line between crime and survival is going to get real hard to distinguish and there will be a need for penal colonies and then we the poor will become unmanageable and it will be you who are trapped in a prison of angry poor people that you forced into a life of crime. A prison you have built for yourselves over many years and you will be forced to see us, forced to try and help us and forced to give us a chance at the things that you have denied us for so long.
- Crime bill to crack down on sex offenders, violent youths (ctv.ca)
- Safe Streets And Communities Act / Bill C- 10 (archemdis.wordpress.com)
- Tories pushing crime bill through committee (canada.com)
- Crime (socyberty.com)