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    • In Canada we have a person who is currently about to receive day clearance to go out into the community and in 2014 he murdered 5 people at a house party.

      "Matthew de Grood, the young man who was found not criminally responsible for stabbing five people to death inside a Brentwood home in 2014, told a review board on Friday that he is 'sorry' for his actions and will do anything to make amends."

      Mr. de Grood was found to be suffering from a mental health issue and found not criminally responsible for his actions. It is my understanding of mental health conditions such as psychosis that a person often deserves to be rehabilitated and transitioned back into society. What about other situations where the person is guilty? How do we decide who and who can't be rehabilitated? Do we really believe people can be rehabilitated? Are our justice systems, prison systems and social programs consistent with the notion that all people can be rehabilitated? Some can? Very few can? Or none can? What does science have to say about this? What are your thoughts and experiences?

    • Wow, cvdavis, what an article. The families of the victims were using words like we use in the U.S.: "Broken justice system."

      In hopes of Canadians having something to teach us about incarceration, especially since we have the highest incarceration rate in the world, I asked Google about your system and turned up stories like this:

      The impression I get is conservative governments in Canada question whether prisoner reform works well enough to justify the cost.

      I was involved in a wonderful rehab program here in the states called Defy Ventures that I loved, and they could point to some great success stories, some of which I knew. It was very interesting to me because I was once in a juvenile detention center here in the U.S. and through the help of some wonderfully kind and patient people, I got back to a law-abiding life.

    • I can understand (to some degree) how a family would feel if their loved one(s) were murdered and the person who did it was fairly shortly thereafter released from prison or was receiving many rights and freedoms but I think it is NOT a reflection of a broken system. In fact I see it as a system that understands schizophrenia and psychosis. I've had a friend who went into psychosis and was insane for a number of months. It was only after electroshock therapy that they responded to medications and started to come back to reality. This person I knew didn't even know who their family and best friends were. Having seen this first hand myself and then read a few books on mental illness afterwards, I'm on the side of the mentally ill patient in this case. How I'd ever come to terms with it myself if I was one of the victims or somehow affected I really don't know. I'd like to think I'd be logical and consider the facts but it really doesn't account for the emotional feelings one would have under the circumstances.

      I wouldn't expect any conservative government to support prison reform when one of their main talking points when trying to get elected is "we're tough on crime".

    • I think that the victim's families would really be helped by learning about mental illness and seeing first hand what it's like. Going to an institution, talking to doctors, seeing patients, learning about long term outcomes and other such things. While people with schizophrenia and other mental health issues can sometimes become violent and do horrendous acts, the statistics shows that they are in fact on average much less violent than the average 'normal' person.

    • My mother was deeply troubled with Schizophrenia and I think the very hardest thing for me growing up with her, was watching how she believed the scary things politicians say in their campaigns. They got her votes because they scared her into believing conspiracy theories, but in the meantime she became a tortured soul. I thought it was so cruel.

    • ...and here's an example of how Germany deals with violent young offenders which includes people up to the age of 25. I think the laws, prison system, welfare state, social programs, rehab programs and lack of social supports in general will be something that people look back on and think our generation was a messed up one. People in the future will see us as treating people as worse than animals, much like we view the people of the past and how slavery is looked upon.

    • These challenging life experiences can help us to be more empathetic towards those less fortunate so long as we find the internal strength and external supports needed to get ourselves back on track after experiencing them. Life can be cruel and it's our job to make the system more humane for everyone. Imagine a situation where our position in life was picked at random. Where we might end up poor, disabled, have cognitive challenges, be a minority, have no supports or maybe we get lucky and end up one of the lucky ones. Now if you imagine the positions you might end up, you now set up a system that would treat each individual as fairly and humanely as possible no matter where they ended up. That is the best way to work towards a system that works. It helps to imagine such a thought experiment to develop a personal philosphy of how to create a utopian world and yet at the same time help create a template for a real system that works better than the current abhorrent system.

    • When I read these about the prison systems in Northwestern Europe, I can't help but wonder how they would cope with the racial, social, and income differences we face in the U.S. I've read that 4% of Canada's population is indigenous people, but they represent 26% of your prison population. My understanding is Australia and New Zealand have the same problems as Canada and the U.S. do.

      Here in the U.S., we have a lot of desperately poor people who are much more inclined toward crime.

    • Lack of social programs is great at increasing incarceration rates. Give breaks to the rich and trickle down will....lead to more inequality and incarcerations. Tax cut for the rich. Oh no we are experiencing a deficit now. Better cut the already limited and overpriced social programs. More incarcerations. Let's get tough on crime! More incarcerations. And around and around we go :(