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What to do: young offenders

March 18, 2010 Articles, Letters

The Globe & Mail: Letters to the editor (March 18, 2010)

What to do: young offenders

I was arrested twice as a young offender (Tory Bill Proposes Publicizing Names Of Violent Young Offenders – March 17), so I read carefully the proposed changes to the legislation.  For the most part, harsh sentences do not deter crime and actually work against rehabilitating offenders.  My brief time in incarceration only ensconced me more deeply in the criminal culture: While in detention, I befriended hardened offenders.  Most of the people I met in juvenile detention were good persons, who just happened to come from unfortunate backgrounds (poverty, dysfunctional families etc.).

I always wonder how much talent our country is wasting by not making these young offenders do something productive with their lives (e.g. getting them involved in sports/arts/culture), rather than leaving them to wither in detention.

I eventually went on to get a PhD at Princeton after graduating from the University of Toronto.  Teenage years are rough for everyone.

K.L. Chan, New York


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