Pun­ish­ments should fit the crimes

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

Many of you read my story in the pa­pers a few weeks ago about the dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects of sex­ual abuse. One of my great­est frus­tra­tions is how the jus­tice sys­tem deals with sex­ual as­sault cases and the length of sen­tences given to such crim­i­nals.

In Satur­day’s pa­per, there was a story of a man who was de­nied pa­role, he was im­pris­oned for drug charges and hav­ing weapons. I ap­plaud this de­ci­sion, but it frus­trates me be­cause it seems that sen­tences given out for peo­ple who sex­u­ally abuse chil­dren are not taken as se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing the dam­age caused by such a crime.

In Oc­to­ber of 2015, The Guardian pub­lished a story about an Is­land man who has sex­u­ally abused his daugh­ter for years. He was sen­tenced to 10 years in prison, as he should be. Yet the jus­tice sys­tem seems to think it is OK to grant him day pa­role. Why? This not only puts the vic­tim in a dan­ger, it also puts ev­ery child on the Is­land in dan­ger. Why does he de­serve day pa­role?

In April 2016, an­other Is­land man was sen­tenced to four and a half years in prison for sex­u­ally mo­lest­ing three young girls. In Jan­uary 2017, a man was sen­tenced to nine months in jail for sex­ual as­sault. Clearly our jus­tice depart­ment is not tak­ing the sex­ual as­sault of women and chil­dren se­ri­ously. The im­pact on the vic­tim of these crimes is long-term, the sen­tence should be as well.

Sex­ual as­sault is a crime that had deep psy­cho­log­i­cal and phys­i­o­log­i­cal ef­fects on the vic­tims. It can take years of ther­apy to deal with the neg­a­tive im­pact of such a crime. The sex­ual abuse of chil­dren, I feel, is even more harm­ful be­cause chil­dren do not have the abil­ity to un­der­stand what is hap­pen­ing.

It is time for our lead­ers and our jus­tice depart­ment to look at the im­pact of such a crime and give out sen­tences that are mer­ited. This has to stop.

Anne Gal­lant, Kens­ing­ton

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