Home Editorials Dave Webster
What We Can Learn From History
The goals of our justice system to prevent crime and to protect society are not being fulfilled that well. I would call the justice system in Canada tried and found wanting. In other words, it is failing. We have out-of-control crime. Drug addiction, drug overdose deaths and drug related crimes are at an all time high. In an article in the September 1, 2021 issue of Maclean’s Magazine, Michael Friscolanti revealed that very 49 minutes there is a drug overdose death in Canada. That translates into 29 people per day and over 10,500 people per year. Most of those who die are considered young, most likely under 40. The late native lawyer, Harold Johnson, in his book Peace and Good Order, said he processed about 1500 files per year as a prosecuting attorney in La Ronge. He said of those 1500 files, 95% were because the persons involved were intoxicated at the time of the offence.
The purpose of a criminal justice system is threefold: to protect society, punish criminal offenders and rehabilitate criminals. The two main goals of the justice system are to prevent crime and protect society. The three main entities of the justice system are the courts, the police and corrections. If we were to give Canada a grade on a scale of 1-100 on how successful our justice system is, where would you place it? I would say our justice system is a huge, floundering monster that is very hungry and expensive to feed, that badly needs reform. I would call the justice system in Canada a system that is not delivering any longer what it was designed initially to do. Of course, this can be debated but just the common sense approach to what is going on today tells us something is wrong. In our seeming catch and release system of justice, convicted felons are in jail and back out in the public before their sentence times are expired. Crime is turning more violent by the month, gangs and drugs addictions and theft of all kinds seem out of control. The prison system delivers an important element of the total justice system if it is done properly. Now, before we go any further, there is no perfect justice system anywhere but there is one coming soon when Jesus returns. Prison success is measured by recidivism which is: when an inmate once released returns to prison for another crime committed. Our jail and prison systems in Canada cost each taxpayer about $550.00 per person, a total of about $5,000,000,000 (5 billion). The big challenges in the prison systems of Canada are retention of staff, recruitment and burnout of staff. The prisons are overcrowded and those working in the prison systems are hoping for better answers and solutions for an improved system. So far there are not many better answers but, in this article, I am going to try to deliver a couple of ideas for consideration.
The purpose of a criminal justice system is threefold: to protect society, punish criminal offenders and rehabilitate criminals. The two main goals of the justice system are to prevent crime and protect society. The three main entities of the justice system are the courts, the police, and corrections. Well, we can see that the goals of our justice system to prevent crime and to protect society are not working too well. I would call the justice system in Canada a colossal failure.
The 1826 edition of the Webster Dictionary was probably the most important dictionary to help forge the English language into American English. Noah Webster, the dictionary author, was a solid Christian man who was saved or converted at 58 years of age after attending public gospel meetings. After his conversion to Christ, he had a burden to help people—in a very illiterate America at the time—to read and understand literature. His objective was that people would have a dictionary reference to help them read and understand words that were used in the Bible. He started the dictionary project by taking words used in the Bible and defining them using a Bible verse to show how the word was used. Today, the modern versions of his dictionary have omitted all references to the Bible verses. That is the norm it seems for almost every source of literature and educational resource today. Removal of God and His book the Bible has been the agenda in our educational institutions for decades and we are paying a great price today for doing so. If our schools would return to the original Webster Dictionary it would be a profitable move to getting our educational institutions back on a better path for our country.
I have had a few good lawyer friends through the years. I will never forget what one of them told me a few years ago who had a successful law practice in Prince Albert and was in the process of entering semi retirement. He said, when I entered the legal profession we practised law and to be successful you had to know law. Today you need to learn how to negotiate and make deals. He said, law has become a system of negotiation of sentence settlements it is not about law and justice anymore like when I started law. I first want to make a disclaimer here that I do not profess to be an expert in law. I am not a lawyer, I have had 11 years experience as a Justice of the Peace in Northern Saskatchewan. In those years I was able to get a perspective of how our legal system works and to see the frustration of so many RCMP who work in the system. I was also a pastor of a small church in those years. We would often have RCMP visit or attend our services. One great memory was when one of the police officers doing his time in the north told me after attending our services for a time that he had accepted Christ as his personal Savior. He said now I see everything from a different perspective and that is what the new birth by the Holy Spirit does in a persons life. Of the many things the new birth does it enables a spiritually blind person to see things from a spiritual perspective that he could not see before.