Welcome to my Crime and Justice blog! I am a 19 year old criminal justice student at the University of Winnipeg. I advocate for prisoners' rights, human rights, equality and criminal justice/prison system reforms.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Convicted drug dealer, a first time offender, sent to prison!

A lot of guys do stupid things to get a girl.
What Aerock Wade Hallberg did landed him a nearly five-year prison sentence.
Hallberg, 24, was one of 31 people arrested in a year-long police investigation dubbed Project Divide that targeted members and associates of the Zig Zag Crew, the so-called “puppet club” of the Manitoba Hells Angels.
The novice drug courier pleaded guilty Friday to one count of trafficking cocaine.
Court heard Hallberg was recruited by newly minted Zig-Zagger Benjamin Zapata, 27, of Brandon.
As in similar stings, police enlisted the aid of a paid criminal agent, Zig-Zagger Michael Satsatin, to ensnare criminal targets.
Hallberg was arrested in connection with an $8,000 cocaine deal allegedly arranged by Zapata and Satsatin. The drug exchange occurred Oct. 10, 2009 inside a car parked in a Brandon fast food restaurant parking lot.
Police surveillance of the drug deal captured Hallberg passing Zapata a bag containing 280 grams of cocaine.
Court heard Hallberg was paid $25 for his services.
When police asked Hallberg why he got involved in the drug trade he said: “I did it for the chicks ... It’s nice, man.”
“A cost-benefit analysis of this case would suggest he made a very poor investment in his future,” said defence lawyer Darren Sawchuk.
Hallberg, a former Brandon University business administration student, had no prior criminal record.
Justice Brenda Keyser credited Hallberg 10 months for time served, leaving four years remaining on his sentence. As a first-time, non-violent offender he could receive parole after serving just one-sixth of his sentence.
“I have some optimism for you, unlike a lot of people in your situation,” Keyser said. “You got sucked in by ‘the chicks’ and the money, which was a bad deal.”
Zapata remains before the courts.

I completely disagree with federal prison terms for people convicted of a relatively minor drug offence, such as this. This man was a business student, had no prior record and just made a mistake in life. I do not feel he should be in prison. How will prison help him? This article does not even state whether he had a drug addiction himself. 

He is a first time and non violent offender. I feel that prison should only be reserved for select violent, high risk and dangerous offenders, with more aggravating than mitigating circumstances. In this case, this man had a bright future and made a mistake and I feel, that he definitely did not deserve a prison sentence, as it is a victimless crime. Nobody was harmed or killed in any way. 

What will this man learn through prison? Prison is a breeding ground for crime as drugs and gangs are very prevalent. Prisons are the schools of crime where pro-criminal attitudes and values are prevalent. There are no positive role models to learn from. This man will likely only become more entrenched in the gang and drug lifestyle from spending time in prison, which will significantly increase his chances of re-offending when released. 

Overall, a poor decision on the Judge's half.  

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