This is another blog post that I am completing for class. We have been reading the novel Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelson alongside an inquiry on The Youth Criminal Justice Act in Canada. Both things have connections to youth offenders. For this post, I'm going to be making some deep connections between these two things, and invite you on my journey.
Note: This may contain minor spoilers to the novel, so please caution!
If you have read Touching Spirit Bear, you would know that the main character, Cole, was in a fist-fight and was sent to a detention centre. He also faced other consequences/service for recovery, including a sharing circle. What if I was a part of this Justice Circle? What sort of things would sway my decision on what should happen to Cole?
First of all, both Edwin and Garvey have had experience with the very thing that Cole was going through. Both of them had been through the same program because both of them committed an offence. This would be the first thing that gets me listening. What sort of things helped Edwin and Garvey get past this stage in their life? How can we apply this to Cole? However, if none of these things were mentioned, I likely wouldn't be open to the idea of Cole being let back onto the island, et-cetera. He's a dangerous guy, and we need to save the public!
One of the things that I know about the Youth Criminal Justice Act and program, is that they want the best for the youth. That means getting to know them, and understanding what is best for them personally. Since, by reading this book, I am in the mind of Cole, I know and understand him. I do not like him, but I get why he did some of the things that he did. His father's abusive! That's the only thing he's ever known, especially since his mother didn't stand up to him. His father's angry, and he takes that out on Cole. Where does Cole take his anger out? On other people – that's how this began to happen. I feel sorry for him, knowing what's going in his mind. Of course, if I was actually in the book and in the circle I wouldn't know what's in his mind, but since I do I think I would be more open to different ideas. Some specific things that I would consider are:
- Creative Consequences: Taking something he's good at, such as strength, and applying that to his recovery
- Letter of apology: Written for Isaac and his family.
- Donation to a cause of the victim's choice: Cole has enough money, it seems, to complete this. Even if it's only $20.
What do you think should happen to Cole, knowing what's in his mind? What do you know about the YCJA that could connect to this novel? Let me know! And talk to you later... Maybe.