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.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Man breaches conditional sentence with more graffiti vandalism

Michael Hudey didn’t last two weeks on house arrest before he was back out on the street painting the town red, black, green and blue.
Now the 24-year-old graffiti vandal will have to serve the remainder of his two-year conditional sentence in a jail where the only thing he can paint is a colouring book.
Hudey “thumbed his nose at the court and the community,” Judge Lynne Stannard said Tuesday.
“The ink had barely dried on the conditional sentence order when he was involved in these breaches,” she said.
Hudey pleaded guilty last year to 50 counts of mischief to property in connection with a “tagging” spree along Tache Avenue and Provencher Boulevard but was spared jail after convincing court he was a changed man.
Hudey claimed his arrest and the responsibilities of new fatherhood “opened (his) eyes” to the error of his ways.
“What I’ve done to society is pretty much unacceptable,” he said at a sentencing hearing last year. “In a way it seemed like a faceless victim kind of thing ... I didn’t have anything to lose before but I do now.”
Hudey’s contrition was short-lived. On March 14, just 13 days after being granted a conditional sentence, Hudey was at it again, tagging a dozen businesses in the 3200-block of Portage Avenue. Hudey’s tag of choice was “ARM” which he later told police stood for “ass---- rocking markers” or “another reckless mind.”
Police arrested Hudey March 30 after he was found causing a disturbance outside a Fort Rouge home, drunk and in possession of graffiti paraphernalia.
“It is astonishing he would engage in this behaviour,” community prosecutor Susan Helenchilde said Tuesday. “It was certainly the Crown’s great hope he would be able to abide by this conditional sentence order ... He seemed to have turned a corner.”
Hudey blamed his problems on alcohol and asked Stannard to sentence him to two years in prison where he could access counselling programs. Stannard said she could not sentence Hudey to a longer term of imprisonment than had previously been ordered.
Stannard — the same judge who granted Hudey a conditional sentence — didn’t hide her anger as she left the courtroom. Neither did Hudey.
“This is bull----,” he muttered before returning to jail.

I completely disagree with prison in this case! I believe that prison should be reformed with improved conditions and then, only the most dangerous, violent offenders who actually pose a threat to society, should be held there for more intensive rehabilitation. 

This offender, does not fit those characteristics. Minor offenders should not be held in prisons as prisons for them, are like the schools of crime. It is a negative environment which does not foster rehabilitation, increases recidivism in minor offenders, and minor offenders often become involved in drugs and gangs as a result of the negativity and pro criminal attitudes and behaviours inside prison. They are often released more dangerous and no more rehabilitated than when they came in. How will prison reform this man and rehabilitate this man? What purpose will prison serve for him?

I think this offender should be given another chance at freedom with the conditional sentence imposed again. The substance abuse programs in prison are largely ineffective as they lack funding and do not have enough resources for all inmates because of the overcrowded conditions. I believe that this man should have been offered substance abuse treatment in the community which is proven to be more effective, along with a fine for the vandalism he caused, community service work and employment assistance along with the requirement that he is employed during the days and also a curfew. I think that this type of sentence with those conditions would be much more meaningful and appropriate than prison.    

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