Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Touching Spirit Bear - Connections to Real Life

In class, we've been reading a novel called Touching Spirit Bear. It's about Cole, a boy with a past of lies, violence, and anger. When he severely and violently beats up a kid at his school,  Peter Driscal, it's the final straw. He is offered a chance at a system called Circle Justice: "a system based on Native American traditions that attempts to provide healing for the criminal offender, the victim and the, community" (Goodreads). If he doesn't go to Circle Justice, he goes to jail. 

This post is all about how this book is much like reality (specifically Canada's Youth Criminal Justice Act), and considering Cole's circumstances. 

If I were a part of Cole's "Justice Circle," there would be many factors to take into account when giving his a consequence. First of all, his past. Cole had been basically beat up and yelled at his entire life. He was raised in anger: the source of his own anger. Cole began to blame everyone else for his own actions, just as his father did. For example, Cole's father hit him because he was angry at his own life. And who does he blame? Cole. Cole was pretty much taught to be angry and blame everyone else…technically it wasn't his fault. No matter what, Cole is still a minor and still has difficulty seeing long term consequences, as all young teens do. That is another factor that may affect what kind of consequence he faces, and a factor that the Youth Justice Committees in Canada emphasize the importance of. 

Another factor to consider is Cole's history with the law. It's obvious that Cole's gotten in trouble with the law before, but he keeps doing it again. While this may be Cole's own fault for not taking responsibility and making positive choices, the fault also lays within the court system. The court system is simply meant to address justice in a way that is the same and "fair" for everyone. It does not consider individual circumstances (like we are now!) and how that may have affected the offender in the crime. This is a reason why things like Justice Circles are more effective! To me, Cole's crimes are basically a cry for help. However, the law just isn't doing it. In order to really help Cole, I feel that he needs a consequence that will help him to understand himself and others in the world.