Tough on crime just for the poor

Letter to the Toronto Star (Sunday, April 10, 2010)

Tough on crime just for the poor

Re:  Former MP Rahim Jaffer connected to conman, April 8

I was intrigued to read that the Crown in Rahim Jaffer’s court case very generously offered the former MP a favourable plea bargain.  When I was 17 years old growing up in poverty and arrested as a young offender, the Crown sought six month’s closed custody (i.e. jail time) for a school fight I got into.

I had to aggressively fight against the Crown and won a favourable ruling (probation with no incarceration) from the judge who presided over my case.  Eighteen years later I am an alumnus of University of Toronto and Princeton University.  I wonder what path my life would have taken had I spent six months in jail.  Seems to me that the tough on crime model only applies to people from lesser backgrounds.

Kai Chan, New York–tough-on-crime-just-for-the-poor

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