COLUMN: Adler – Banishment as punishment

- August 3rd, 2012

Judge to felon: Hit the road, jerk

by Charles Adler

Twenty-three-year old Dylan Chysyk is a low-life career crook. A meth addict in Mission, B.C., on a mission of crime.

He’s been a one-man crime wave with 90 vehicle break-ins in just six weeks. Town officials, cops and residents are fed up and they finally received some justice with a twist. A judge declaring Chysyk is now no longer allowed within the Mission city limits.

He’s been banished. And he’ll get arrested if he returns.

Banishment — an idea Toronto Mayor Rob Ford put on the table as a way of fighting back at gang members with illegal guns. Kick them out of the GTA and don’t let them come back.

It was a suggestion that heaped a lot of ridicule on Mayor Ford and was given a very cold shoulder by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

I don’t think banishment is such a bad idea at all. And I’ll tell you why.

Banishment may seem like biblical justice that’s out of date and out of touch with the modern world. But you know what? New age “hug-a-thug” campaigns don’t seem to be working.

Banishment may not hold as much weight as it used to. In ancient times, getting kicked out of a community on the edge of survival was a death sentence. But now it may offer just a little dose of humiliation on today’s pampered prisoners. It’s a perfectly legal part of Canadian law so why not use it more often? Banishment can be tagged on to any parole conditions.

Critics will point out that banishment only makes a criminal someone else’s problem and it’s failed spectacularly in the past. In the 1980s, California “banished” a parolee, giving him a one-way bus ticket to Florida, where he later murdered a woman. That’s a terrible and unacceptable tragedy.

But I’m not saying we empty our prisons of capital criminals. They deserve to stay in lockup in the interest of public safety.

What I am suggesting is that for a certain type of repeat criminal, this could be the ticket to shaking up the system, and shaking some sense into the criminal mind. For me, it’s a little humiliation-based, Old Testament justice.

But it should also satisfy the bleeding hearts because it could provide some tough love rehab.

How? One of the biggest causes of recidivism is a convict returning to his old lifestyle. Moving back to the same neighbourhood, with the same unsavory associates. Going back into the same old rut makes a return to crime nearly inescapable.

So what happens if every community kicks out Canada’s career criminals? What do you do with the con nobody wants? Perhaps penal colonies wouldn’t be such a crazy idea. It worked out quite well for Australia. Maybe we need a few “mini Australias” in remote areas of Canada. We’d at least know that law-abiding Canadians would be safe.

Banishing career criminals is a valid option when all else fails. Instead of a revolving door for low to mid-level repeat offenders, let’s catapult crooks right out of town. A little shock rehab, a humiliating kick in the butt that bumps a convict from his rut. Time to infuse some old school justice into our modern system.

Both the criminals, and the victims, need to know we’re serious about cracking down on crime. It’s Canadian common sense.

Categories: Politics

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