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.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Province apologizes for timing of announcement on Li

More guards, but no fence for Li's walks on grounds of mental health centre

The province apologized this morning for releasing, on the anniversary of Tim McLean's death, information on new security measures that will allow his killer, Vince Li, to walk the grounds of the Selkirk Mental Health Centre.
"If the timing of this information has caused one ounce additional pain to the McLean family, I certainly want to offer my profound regret for that," Health Minister Theresa Oswald told reporters this morning. She said the timing of the announcement was inadvertent.
"This is a family that has endured pain (that), thankfully, very few of us will ever know and no family should ever know," Oswald said. "And so if more information about the development of Mr. Li’s treatment on this day, or any day, hurts that family further, I think we should all feel regret for that. And certainly I do."
Li was found not criminally responsible last year for the July 30, 2008 beheading of 22-year-old McLean on a Greyhound bus near Portage la Prairie. He admitted responsibility for the attack, but a judge found him to be suffering from hallucinations and untreated schizophrenia at the time, which left him unable to appreciate or control his actions.
His doctors have said Li has made tremendous progress in the past two years at the centre, and two months ago the Criminal Code Review Board ruled that Li could begin taking two brief supervised outdoor passes a day.
A public uproar ensued and the province announced that Li wouldn’t be allowed to leave the centre’s secure forensic unit  additional security precautions were in place
Friday, the province issued a press release describing the new measures, adding that it would take an additional two months before they would be in force and Li would begin his strolls.
The new plan does not include the construction of a fence around the grounds that some in the community had called for.
Two more full-time security officers have been hired and will be dedicated to escorting forensic patients, including Li,  when required under disposition orders. A clinical staff member will also escort patients in such cases.
The walks will be restricted to periods when staff numbers are at their peak.
All risks will be assessed by the treatment team before Li — or any other patient requiring such security measures — is given a pass to walk the grounds.
The Selkirk centre says it has shared its security plans with the RCMP and will advise the Mounties when the walks begin.

The majority of the public is ignorant and uneducated regarding the severity of Li's mental illness. They are advocating for execution, deportation, imprisonment and denial of human rights, which are all merely revenge, not justice. Li's actions were unintentional and his disorder is to blame. He should not be deprived of his human rights. Fresh air and sunshine are beneficial to his treatment. Confinement can often worsen mental illnesses. Being allowed 15 minute walks outside, escorted by two security guards, would not pose a risk to anybody. Where is the compassion and sympathy for the mentally ill?! Obviously what Li did was horrific and gruesome, but he was experiencing a psychotic episode and was unaware of what he was doing at the time, therefore, he cannot and should not be held responsible. Legally, he is not a criminal and he should not be treated worse than one. Here in civilized societies, we don't fence in and deprive the mentally unstable of their human rights. That is completely inhumane, cruel and barbaric. Public opinion should never trump knowledgeable opinion and decisions made by the review board who considered public safety in their decision to allow Li walks. Forgiveness is the only way to move past this horrible experience. Certainly, not an easy thing to do, especially in a society that worships revenge and retribution. 

The reason he's not behind bars is because he has schizophrenia. I would suggest you do some hard research on mental illness, as you admit you don't know anything about why he's not behind bars.

Were he in jail, without meds and/or therapy, he would most definitely hurt a staff member or another inmate. Do you want that? I should hope not. I believe he should never be released, but for goodness sakes it's just an escorted walk. Maybe there should be a fence, but if he's taking his meds, and has increased security guards, then I'm not too worried about anything happening.

There's a reason why we're proud to be Canadian. Because we value a little thing called human rights. We are also supposed to be evolved enough to recognize mental illness, although some of us seem to still be down there in medival times.


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