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.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Teens jailed for unprovoked attack on senior, fueled by intoxication

Three Winnipeg teens have been jailed for a cowardly attack on an 64-year-old stranger who was randomly targeted for violence.
The victim suffered extensive injuries in June 2009 while walking down a North End street just after midnight. He was sprayed in the eyes with bear mace, kicked and punched to the ground and slashed on the shoulder with a machete.
He didn't know any of his attackers, who were drunk and had just left a nearby house party when they passed him in the street and jumped him without any provocation.
The man was originally taken to hospital in critical condition and spent weeks recovering. He still suffers long-term damage include vision problems and lack of mobility in one arm.
The 17-year-old boy who triggered the attack appeared in court Wednesday and was given a 14-month sentence of custody and supervision after pleading guilty to aggravated assault. He will have to serve at least two-thirds of that time behind bars until he can be released into the community. He had been free on bail since shortly after his arrest and hugged both his parents before being led away by sheriff's officers.
Crown attorney Susan Baragar said the boy was armed with the pepper spray and initiated the fight by spraying the victim. The others then joined in before they all fled the scene. None of the accused had any prior criminal record.
The youth who was carrying the machete was recently given 18 months of custody and supervision, while the other boy who used his fists and feet received a 13-month sentence. All three have also been placed on supervised probation.
The victim was not in court for the sentencing hearings but did provide a written statement detailing his injuries and recovery.

None of the teens had any prior involvement with the criminal justice system and they were intoxicated during the attack, which is most likely what fueled the attack. Longer prison sentences are not in society's best interests as they have been shown to increase the chances of re-offending and decrease the likelihood of successful reintegration. Prisons are also known as the schools of crime, especially for teens, where they often learn new skills and how to avoid detection. Prisons do little to facilitate or encourage rehabilitation and reform. Prisons consist of negative environments, pro-criminal attitudes, values and behaviours. Youth prisons also have many teens from all different security and risk levels, which means non-violent offenders will be housed with violent offenders and that is dangerous. I agree with the 14 month sentence, as this teen mentioned would pose some risk to society, especially when intoxicated. I also believe that while on probation, he should be required to participate in substance abuse counseling, violence prevention and risk management programming and emotion management programming.

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