James Turner on the YCJA

Read this case

Do you think the punishment was just? Why? What’s the big issue? Do you think it is the responsibility of the criminal justice system to solve the problems (such as this one) of society?

Abdul Rahim Mah Jemei
Abdul Rahim Mah Jemei, 22, was murdered on March 16th, 2011

-Becca and Derek


5 thoughts on “YCJA Case

  1. I don't think the sentence was fair. Serious crimes constitute serious punishment, regardless of age. That being said, we're talking about a youth, and as such the aim of the system is to rehabilitate and reintegrate, as well as to keep society safe. We need to find a consequence which is meaningful for this person, so a longer sentence would make sense. However, we also need to treat him with respect, and give him a sense of responsibility and accountability for the community. I think with a longer sentence, serious counseling, and community integration once he's been rehabilitated, these aims could be achieved. As I see it, it shouldn't be the job of the judiciary to fix society's problems. Many of the problems in society can be fixed by nurturing people from an early age; the sooner we can start to institute better programs for children, the less crime and suffering we'll see, not only those benefiting directly from the programs, but for the entire society. If we think about how expensive our jails and the judiciary are, and compare it to how expensive a social program would be for a community, clearly the less expensive, and surely the more moral option is to institute such programs.

  2. I agree with Stephanie in that the heinousness of this crime warrants a more serious penalty, but one that will make an effort to rehabilitate the offender. I'm not sure how much good more time in jail will do for him, but that being said, his being on probation for another violent crime makes in necessary to consider the protection of society as well as the rehabilitation of the offender. I think that, in accordance with the breaking of parole along with his committing a second violent crime, his sentence should remain but also include counselling and community service in some form or another. It is important that we make sure that the most is done to ensure that the offender is able to become a productive member of society once his sentence has been served. With his being a youth, there is a higher chance for successful rehabilitation and reintegration and it is important that his sentence is used for such as well as as a deterrent. That being said, it is not, as Stephanie said, the job of the justice system to fix societal problems, but it is their responsibility to use their given power to do what is best for society when the law is broken. Society as a whole has the responsibility to do what it can to prevent youth crime through youth programs and education, but once those crimes have been committed, it is necessary for the justice system to do its part in keeping society safe and helping the offender to become a more productive and well-adjusted member of the community.

  3. I also think that this crime deserves a more serious sentence but at the same time one must consider the Youth Criminal Justice Act and what it really stands for. A main focus of it includes the rehabilitation and reintegration of a youth into society, so as much as people say that he should get more time would it be helping or hurting the situation I personally think hurting. I think that the big issue is really what can you do with a kid like this. He commits a crime he is on probation commits murder then breaks his parole this kid needs help instead of jail time. The responsibility of the criminal justice system is to keep society safe and that could mean finding solutions for people who can hurt society

  4. I do not think the sentence is long enough, from a punishment standpoint. This being said, I do not think it will actually do any good to give him a longer sentence. With enough resources, I think almost anyone can be rehabilitated, but unfortunately, the resources are not there. There is no way to rehabilitate every troubled youth. Upon release, it seems likely that he will re-offend again, and so I do not think he should be released. If we lack the resources to rehabilitate him, and he remains a danger to society, I do not see any good solution, and we might as well keep him locked up. If we could fix the deprivation of resources that breeds this crime, that would be great, but, as before, I believe we lack the resources needed to do that. I think a life sentence is unfortunately the only answer, because at least it will keep society safer, and if lucky, might just serve as a minor deterrent.

  5. I do not feel that the youth deserves the large sentence that he got, yet I feel that there is no alternative way of sentencing this youth in our (in my opinion) extremely flawed justice system than shipping him off to prison. It would be a horrible mistake to let him go – public outcry, potential danger to reoffend and his previous offences make it unlikely that any judge would opt to avoid jail time. While the boy may not "deserve" jail time for what he did, it is perfectly logical that he should receive it, because the criminal justice system is not established in a way to provide rehabilitation unless the criminals are placed into custody. Also, the kid has come into contact with this sytstem before, and it failed in rehabilitating him. It would be extremely naive to assume that it would "fix" him this time, and thus, from a logical standpoint, it makes sense to house him in prison for as long as possible for two reasons – his prolonged exposure to the rehabilitative nature of the youth prisons will make it more likely that he will be "fixed", and he will be kept out of society for as long as possible, minimizing the damage that he can do. So why he does not deserve to be kept in prison, it is a pragmatic and logical decision for a judge to make.I personally do not believe that it is the role of the criminal justice system to fix society's ills. I believe that the criminal justice system is set up to help with the symptom of society's ills – that of the crime itself. If people worried less about punishing murderers and more about the next generation, dealing with poverty, dealing with social issues such as bullying, etc., the number of crimes, and especially violent crimes, would plummet. Therefore, the criminal justice system is merely a "band-aid" solution that can be applied to try and lock up the people who have (for the most part) been wronged by society in some way, or who have been affected by some of society's ills. Nobody is "born bad", we shape them into the monsters they become.

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