Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Novel Study: Touching Spirit Bear Connections to the YCJA

In class we are currently reading Touching Spirit Bear, a novel about Cole Mathews and the series of events that happen after he commits criminal offences. Cole stole from a hardware shop. When a small boy, Peter, told on him, Cole decided to severely beat him up because everyone should be afraid of Cole Mathews. Fear was Cole's power. As punishment, Cole is banished to an island for a year where he will be alone. A spirit bear attacks him. When he comes to a near death scenario he starts to rethink life.

Cole's justice circle decided to banish him to the island and now has to decide what to do since he has come back after two days. So now this justice circle has to make another decision, if I were a part of the circle and I didn't know what happened on the island or to Cole's mentality, I would send cole back to the island. When making the decision I would consider his past, current actions, his offence with consideration of his reasoning for doing so.

Beaten as a child by his father, with a drunken mother that stayed silent doesn't give a child the best possible opportunity for success or maximum capacity for kindness. As we now know Cole's father was beaten too. Even though Cole may have his own child to beat on, I think that he takes what he has learnt and applies it on others. Fear was Cole's power and I think he used it because that was all he knew. Taking this into consideration, as YCJA might, he could complete a program demonstrating effects of bullying or physical damage. Such as working at a kids talk hotline or watch surgeries happening to victims of violent physical bullying. I would likely still sentence him to a year on the island or some other punishment and after have him complete the above. For if he did immediately it may not be safe for the people involved.

When Edwin pushed Cole over, Cole didn't rise with his fists flying, he was upset but his choice was different than what he would have done. However, Cole did lie. He said he was committed to change, but he wasn't. He tried to flee the island and get away. So how is someone expected to believe him?

His offence, of beating Peter to a pulp, was quite serious. Therefore, I would leave it up for custody or Extra Judicial Sanctions which may include may have included the healing circle. After his attempt to avoid punishment Cole should have to deal with a larger force than the community; a judge that will consider the case and not much else. The judge wouldn't consider that Cole was beaten on, but rather that he beat on one of his peers. This would leave less room for Cole to weasel his way out of punishment. In custody he would be under supervision whether it be doing community service or a sentence to jail.

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