As reporting on court cases in our newspapers have returned after the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a good time to try and dispel the illusion of the justice system that Hollywood has crafted over the years. The first and primary purpose of our justice system is that of rehabilitation and not punishment. The ultimate goal of punishment within the justice system is to serve as a deterrent for any individuals who were thinking of committing illegal activity. From the vast majority of cases that we have seen go through the courts in the area, the majority of them result in the guilty party going on a probationary period.
These probationary periods may seem restrictive at first due to an individual or groups of people needing to report to a parole officer and follow their instructions, but in truth, they are designed to help you return to being a functioning member of society. Depending on the criminal activity that you committed, you will nearly always receive some degree of counselling for free to help you recover and not continue to lapse back into criminal activity. Usually, the only serious restriction placed on individuals who are on probation is a requirement that they do not visit or interact directly or indirectly with the victim. Beyond the obvious case of keeping the victim protected, this restriction can also help the individual who committed the crime. In some instances, some individuals are bad influences on other people, even if they’re not trying to and that can lead them to not think critically in certain situations. Therefore, having them not interact with each other, via these restrictions is usually the best solution.
Another method of dealing with more minor criminal activity is the implementation of a peace bond. This is often used for minor, first the time offences, in which neither party admit guilt. Restrictions are primarily standard to keep the court informed of your information and a no-go order is implemented. Since the guilt was never implemented after the completion of a peace bond, which is generally for 12 months, there is no criminal record. This is, of course, beneficial because possessing a criminal record — regardless of what is — can result in loss of employment in certain fields, as well as a preventative from getting employment in those same fields. However, failure to comply with the peace bond will result in the charge still existing and the requirement for the accused to continue to go through the justice system. Peace bonds are extremely beneficial in this way because they do not punish an individual for a simple mistake that would hold them back for the rest of their life, while still ensuring that it was only a simple mistake and not a case of potential repeated behaviours.
Now, all of this is not to say that we have an incredibly relaxed justice system and people can get away with crimes willy-nilly. In truth, a lot of these concessions that are made only occur in cases of early confessions and are designed to assist people who want to take on the personal responsibility of bettering themselves. Quite often when there are individuals who repeatedly violate the law and show no personal responsibility for their actions, they will continuously find themselves on the harsher end of justice.