Monday, July 21, 2008

Dangerous prisoner to get "upgrade?"

Even a lot of women are getting annoyed by a certain tampon commercial with the tag line, "Upgrade." But this is the kind of upgrade that would offend a tampon itself.

This couldn't be happening in Canada. Well, actually it is. Alan Légère who is serving several concurrent life sentences for five murders and several rapes, may actually be upgraded from the SHU (Special Housing Unit), or Supermax prison, at Sainte Anne des Plaines near Montréal and moved down river to a maximum security prison in Port Cartier, near Sept-Îles. People are up in arms about this, especially in New Brunswick where he is known as the "Monster of Miramichi City."

For those too young to remember, a background. Back in 1986, Légère murdered John Glendenning, a shopkeeper in Black Water Bridge, and injured his wife. This trial became famous as it was the first time in Canadian legal history that DNA evidence was used to pin down the killer. Three years later in 1989, Légère deliberately punctured his eardrum to get a trip to a prison hospital on Moncton. He convinced guards to let him use the washroom alone. Using a concealed piece of television antenna, he picked the lock on his handcuffs and bolted.

Légère then went on a killing spree. He sexually assaulted and killed a 70 year old woman, then killed two middle aged sisters before burning down their house, and beat to death a Roman Catholic priest. Finally he sexually assaulted and beat another woman and left her for dead but she survived. After seven months, Légère was captured again and placed in Supermax.

I personally tend to be rather lenient in my attitude towards non-violent and victimless crimes. As I've noted previously, I think simple possession of illicit drugs without intent to traffic should care a fine and not prison time. I also support decriminalizing prostitution to ensure street workers are as safe or safer than the consumers of the "world's oldest profession." Where prison time is warranted for a non-violent offence, I don't have a problem with the so-called "Club Feds" for a first stint in jail. Subsequent visits, however, should mean a higher level of security starting at minimum.

When it comes to violent offences however, especially sexual assault, I think the law should throw the book at the offender if the evidence proves the act was commissioned or omitted. It's these types of people for whom parole should be granted under the strictest scrutiny. Repeat offenders should not get parole at all, and I do support "three strikes" for repeat violent offences.

I am absolutely appalled that our Correctional Service would even consider giving this guy a chance to go from Supemax to Max even if he has been under good behaviour. It is possible to escape from a maximum security prison, as has been proven multiple times. The SHU was designed for the worst cretins of our society such as him and Paul Bernardo among others. Miramichi was put through the wringer not once but twice. They shouldn't have to go through it a third time -- and the rest of Canada shouldn't have to worry about people like him roaming their communities either.

No government, right or left wing, should even give this guy the time of day. I say let Légère rot in the SHU. Don't even give him the dignity of a burial when he ultimately dies -- just cremate him on the spot and bury the ashes inside the prison walls so we don't have to breathe his evil fumes.

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