Giving Persons a Chance to Change

Giving Persons a Chance to Change

This morning I read an interesting article regarding convicted killer Sara Rowe. In 2006 she was sentenced to life with no parole for 12 years after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the death of sex-trade worker Ruchael Friars. At trial it was heard that Ms Friars was beaten, burned, cut, strangled, had her eyes glued shut, her hair cut, and the word “Rat” carved into her forehead. After completing 10 years of her 12 year sentence, Ms, Rowe has been given leave (I am sure highly monitored) to attend and aboriginal healing ceremony.

How, as a society, reconcile punishing the offender but yet looking at the person as an individual capable of rehabilitation?

Personally, I think that very few people belong in a cage. Those that do should remain there for life and be studied and interviewed by a highly trained group of academics so that patterns in behavior and thought patterns can be established. Only then may we be able to figure out and prevent sociopsychological behavior.

However, we can’t just turn around and say, “So you murdered someone? You get that it was bad? You’re ready to change? Great- be on your merry way.”

Notably, Ms. Rowe is not aboriginal herself. But seriously, who cares? If the members of the First Nation are willing to go through the ceremony with her and teach her their ways then good on them.

We need to make a more concerted effort at all levels of corrections system to integrate and work towards healing and reconciliation for all parties affected by crime while balancing a need for justice and correction of unwanted societal behavior.

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