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Eagle

Your opinion: criminals who have served their sentence

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There is a bit of a furor in a part of Canada right now because the citizens have just found out that one of the parents whose kids attend the local elementary school is an infamous criminal. She was convicted of abducting, raping, and murdering two teenagers as well as her own sister. She entered a plea bargain to help convict her husband and received a reduced sentence of 12 years (video tapes surfaced later that proved her willing involvement but by then it was too late). In any event, she was released about ten years ago and has since changed her name and had three children.

 

Do you think people in the community have a right to know someone with this type of criminal past is in their neighbourhood, or should the person have a chance at a new life once they serve their time? Would you feel comfortable knowing your children were friends with a convicted killer's children and perhaps had spent time at their house?

 

Here is a link to the story:

http://www.edmontonsun.com/2016/04/19/quebec-town-upset-to-learn-karla-homolka-living-among-them

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Because of the nature of the crime, yes I think the community should know.

 

There is nothing about serving time in the prison system that would rehabilitate a person who would commit such a crime. I wish real rehabilitation--backed by research and experience--were undertaken by the criminal justice system, but I am not aware of that being generally true in any country in the world.

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I remember the case you're referencing. Horrifying. You raise good questions.

 

My feeling is that just because someone has served their time does not wipe the slate clean as if the crime never happened. Yes, people are entitled to rebuild their lives as best they can. But serving time does not mean one magically regains the trust of society. I wouldn't trust my children around a pedophile who'd served his or her time. I wouldn't trust my company's retirement fund to someone who embezzled. I'm truly, truly sorry for her children, but people are not obligated to put their family at risk by having them anywhere near this monster. Not sure how to reconcile the competing needs. But in the case of truly heinous crimes, yeah, I think people have the right to know.

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There is a bit of a furor in a part of Canada right now because the citizens have just found out that one of the parents whose kids attend the local elementary school is an infamous criminal. She was convicted of abducting, raping, and murdering two teenagers as well as her own sister. She entered a plea bargain to help convict her husband and received a reduced sentence of 12 years (video tapes surfaced later that proved her willing involvement but by then it was too late). In any event, she was released about ten years ago and has since changed her name and had three children.

 

 

 

 

She sounds like a real sweetheart...when she changed her name she took the surname of a movie serial killer. 

 

The community should know...so they can avoid her. 

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I would not judge the kids because they did nothing wrong. I would not trust the adult who did that or feel comfortable letting my kids play at that house. Not all crimes can be rehabilitated and she did not serve enough time for what she did. She should not get to change her name and go on with her life like it never happen. I hope they are keeping a close eye on how those kids are being raised and what she is up to.

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Ugh. I hate this case. I think there was miscarriage of justice with her plea. 

Generally speaking wrt your question - I think it should be case by case. As a rule, I think once you've served, you've paid your retribution to society and it should be over.  But her? Jeeez, no. 

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I think it depends on the crime. I think any violent crime should have a searchable database. Employers, corporations and banks have this information- why can't a citizen trying to determine the risk within their neighborhood? For non-violent crimes, I think it becomes a little more fuzzy, but there are many types of "non violent" criminals who are still scumbags. I don't think sex offenders should have the market cornered on having to register in a database. A serial rapist is dangerous, but so is a serial armed robber, and it's pretty obvious that it varies greatly from state to state (and country to country) how severely those crimes are dealt with. So yes, I think communities absolutely have a right to know if a violent criminal has moved in, regardless of the fact that their "debt" to society has been paid. Forgiveness and intelligently dealing with someone are two totally different things, and paying your time in prison is also different than successfully integrating into public life. Perhaps after their probation is over I would feel differently. 

 

As for the children- I actually experienced this first hand. One of our children befriended someone in elementary school. I thought something was familiar about the name, but blew it off as being a small neighborhood and just had heard it before. One day when my mother accompanied me to the school she saw the girl's parent and nudged me by saying "do you know who that is?". At that point it all clicked. This parent had been a national news story for an attempted crime- it was not actually carried out- and some fancy lawyering got this person off. When it happened it was on every TV outlet there was, but that was the blessing of elementary school- the kids were oblivious and most of the parents it seemed kept their mouths shut so the child was unaffected at that point. We had already let our child spend many afternoons at that house, and while unsettling, since the crime didn't involve children, and was incident specific,  we did not feel this person was a threat and allowed the children to continue the relationship as previous until we moved, and never alluded to the parent in any way about the situation. It was one of those things that was a reality check, and I had to see past the event to the person- if that makes sense. Had it not made the national news, we would have never known, and not knowing you would think this person was the most awesome, best role model EVER. But that has taught me that EVERY situation is truly unique and there's no way to generalize about what one would or wouldn't do until you're in it. 

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I think any kind of offender notification and registry process should be based on actual recidivism risk. I would want to know a lot more.

 

I also think this sounds like a prime example of why plea deals for testimony can be a miscarriage of justice.

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I think any kind of offender notification and registry process should be based on actual recidivism risk. I would want to know a lot more.

 

I also think this sounds like a prime example of why plea deals for testimony can be a miscarriage of justice.

 

:iagree:  People have a right to know if the offender is likely to be a danger in the future. 

 

As for the specific crime in the OP, it sounds like the person is a psychopath, and that's not the kind of thing that can be rehabilitated. So yes, I'd want to know, and no, I wouldn't let my kid within a mile of that person's house. To be honest, I'd give serious thought to moving out of town.

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Well right to know...you know and other people know.  So the permission to know is obviously already there.  Maybe they don't have a specific registry, but arrests and trial outcomes are generally public knowledge.

 

 

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yes, I would want to know.  she wasn't convicted of something like embezzeling from her employer - but of murder.  if it had been "just" her sister, that could be limited as fratricide, but it wasn't.

 

the other parents deserve to know so they can have INFORMED choices for meeting their children's needs and potentially protecting them.

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Because I don't know about the case, I can say I am not sure.  On one hand, knowledge is power.  On the other hand, fear of something that may or may not (probably won't) happen doesn't seem productive.

 

Obviously she can't be re-tried or re-sentenced for the same crime.  One hopes that nobody wants her to re-offend so she can go back to jail.  She has to live somewhere.  Her kids deserve to be treated fairly.

 

Making her a pariah won't make things better for anyone.

 

Here, the sex offender registry comes with a comment that people on the registry should be treated just like everyone else, so they can rehabilitate themselves successfully.  Can people be trusted to just say "I know this, I'll be careful of this person, but I will treat her with the same dignity and respect as everyone else"?

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one of the things that really bother's me about this is "volunteers at the school have to have a background check" . . . . is the fact she changed her name going to come up in a background check?  is the fact she went to prision for murder going to come up in a background check when they don't have the name she was using when she was in prison?

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A leopard capable of committing a crime such as this is not likely to change its spots. You can't rehab a psychopath.

 

The community absolutely has a right to know.

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Do you think people in the community have a right to know someone with this type of criminal past is in their neighbourhood, or should the person have a chance at a new life once they serve their time? Would you feel comfortable knowing your children were friends with a convicted killer's children and perhaps had spent time at their house?

 

 

 

The title had me thinking this would be about drug charges, teenage relationships, theft, or other things along those lines.  Completely different ballpark, and I would most definitely NOT be comfortable with this!!!

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Usually, I'm on the side of thinking that someone who has served their sentence deserves to live in peace but this case is different. I was still living in Canada when the arrests and trials for these crimes took place, and I remember all the horrific details coming to light. That plea deal was a travesty and Homolka should have been locked up for life and designated a dangerous offender like her husband was. I find it very telling that she's now using the last name of a serial killer, one that she and her murderous partner applied to change their names to before he was arrested. That seems like an odd choice of name for anyone who felt any remorse for her crimes.

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Generally speaking I don't think things like public sex offender registries are helpful in reducing crime.

 

I also think that it is causing more problems if there is no way for past offenders to have something like a normal life.

 

I think I prefer this kind of thing to be done on a case by case basis, looking at what experts think is the liklihood of this person offending again.  I think that is really the only way it can be done well - the downside is that it is open to abuse.

 

In this particular case, I think there are all kinds of reasons to think there could be further problems - but that is my own analysis based on the crime and her actions since - I'm no expert and of course know nothing about her personally.  I'm not sure what the best way to deal with the situation is - in truth there are probably no good answers, especially for her kids. 

 

I don't blame her for changing her name though, even basic privacy would be impossible otherwise.

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one of the things that really bother's me about this is "volunteers at the school have to have a background check" . . . . is the fact she changed her name going to come up in a background check?  is the fact she went to prision for murder going to come up in a background check when they don't have the name she was using when she was in prison?

 

Yes, it will still come up.  It is quite obvious if someone has changed their name. 

 

If they wanted to avoid that kind of detection they would have to take on a new identity which is illegal and much more complicated.

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