Short. Sharp. Sentences.

posted by Brian Judge on Jun 17, 2011 in Prison TV Blog | 0 comments
Short. Sharp. Sentences.

By Ricky Atkinson:  In 1987 I found my self in front of a judge considered the most lenient in the Ontario judiciary - - - Judge Cannon. I was facing a bank robbery charge where, although I was considered the leader, I did not enter the bank; I was parked blocks away monitoring the score with police scanners and walkie talkies. I jumped at the chance to plead guilty in front of this judge because I assumed he was a judicial a pussy cat and would live up to his moniker of “One Day Cannon”. 


He turned out to be a judicial lion and I received a thirteen year sentence in the penitentiary. My point is, that by initiating mandatory sentences we take away the power of a judge to use their discretion in handing out a sentence. Justice Cannon was tuned-in to the public abhorrence over a series of robberies that had taken place across the country. As the judicial representative of the people he reacted accordingly and hammered me.


The police and their representatives in government always try to convince us to lose faith in our Judges and to place more faith in a system without judges or fair trials. Often the police will give an interview about how soft Judges are and on how the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protect criminals. And then the first time one of them is charged with a crime they scream Charter arguments and beg for kid glove leniency by the judiciary.


After serving fourteen years I was released into the community two years ago and have done well.  Working hard, paying taxes, I honestly believe that I have overcome the devils that raged within me and I now see our sun in a far different light. I am a good example of our systems failure but also its success.


I haven’t change my evil ways because of the fear of harsher laws or tougher prisons.  I have never feared either. I changed because I was given a lump of clay and asked to make something of myself.


After spending five years in a prison pottery room producing works of art, I decided that making art in the free world was far more rewarding then making it in prison and for me and most criminals it gets to be that simple; a matter of choice, because there were choices to be had.


Stopping crime starts with readjusting the behaviour of children, giving them choices, guidance; lets create a community with them rather than slapping them in prison for the most minor affairs and hoping that punishment turns them into happy productive citizens.


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