There has to be a better way

So last week, a 23-year-old man named Stephen Anthony Charlie pleaded guilty to procuring a 15-year-old girl for the purpose of prostitution

There has to be a better way

So last week, a 23-year-old man named Stephen Anthony Charlie pleaded guilty to procuring a 15-year-old girl for the purpose of prostitution.  He chose his target well. The girl was a high-risk, vulnerable teen who had already discovered how low some men can go when they have a chance to dominate and terrorize a weaker person.

By all accounts, Charlie offered the girl an opportunity to escape one abusive relationship (the man she was staying with was charged with repeated assaults against her; she was addicted to drugs and alcohol, had no money, job or any parental support) and enter into another.

According to the provincial court records, Charlie wooed the girl and then made her turn tricks via the Internet to support his lifestyle. The story is as old as time and it never gets any better with the retelling. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of those morality tales that suddenly gets rewritten with a happy ending. There is no mention of counselling, rehabilitation or mentoring to turn either of these lives around. One goes to jail and the other continues down a path that will in all likelyhood lead to an early grave.

The judge in this case decided three years behind bars was a just sentence for Charlie’s crimes. Although he was sentenced to three years for procuring, three years for aiding and two years for extortion, the last two crimes were freebies as the sentences are to be carried out concurrently.

Pity that instead of the Tories’ ridiculously draconian plan to get tougher on crime, we can’t use the charges that are already on the books to rehabilitate our inmates. If three years is a fair sentence for the crime, fine. Send Charlie to jail for three years and let him experience what lack of freedom is all about. When that three years is up, there is still five years on his sentence. For the second three years, send him to a half-way facility that specializes in addiction, counselling and reintegration. Educate and teach him a needed and employable skill. Through weekly meetings with such groups as PEERS and the Men’s Trauma Centre, show him that women aren’t whores and how his actions affect another human being.

With two years left, depending on how he has adapted and changed, reintegrate him into society. Don’t dump him at the gates of the prison with bus fare, but offer employment and residency and let him walk those first steps back to freedom. As for the girl, patch over those cracks she has fallen into and offer her the same support, education and counselling that society should never deny one of its broken children.

We have failed her. And with our various levels of government spending too much damn money on the wrong things, such as the HST debacle, we will undoubtedly fail even more. We need to stop looking for ways to build more prisons and instead seek solutions that work. M

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This image released by SYFY shows Meredith Garretson, left, and Alan Tudyk in the new series "Resident Alien." (James Dittinger/SYFY via AP)
B.C.-shot ‘Resident Alien’ invader gets lift-off with viewers

New Syfy series catching on, proving TV doesn’t have to come from premium cable

The original artwork created by local artist Emily Thiessen, is featured as the Commercial Alley’s eighth installation. (City of Victoria)
 The original artwork created by local artist Emily Thiessen, is featured as the Commercial Alley’s eighth installation. (City of Victoria)
Victoria calls for artists to fill Commercial Alley gallery

Competition open to artists in the Capital Regional District

Cowichan Valley author Teresa Schapansky’s books for young readers have become a phenomenon on Amazon. (Submitted)
Cowichan author tops Amazon charts

Award-winning author Teresa Schapansky learned of a need for low-level readers in the classroom

Nadia Rieger restocks some of the art supplies at the Crows Nest Artist Collective. Their move to stocking more art supplies over the course of the pandemic was a response to increased demand, which she thinks shows people have been turning to creating art to cope with mental health struggles due to lockdowns and restrictions on other activities. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Vancouver Islanders using art to conquer COVID blues

It seems people have been turning to their creative sides to stay mentally and emotionally healthy

Chris Bullock, Parksville artist, stands next to his ‘Mermother’ series, on display at the McMillan Arts Centre until Feb. 29. Bullock himself will be at the MAC from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. every Saturday until the end of the month. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville artist Chris Bullock’s unique illustrations on display

‘I’m heavily influenced by old comic book styles from the 1950s’

VIU music instructors Hans Verhoeven, Ben Henriques and Ken Lister (from left) are presenting a weekly jazz performance series with pianist James Darling (not pictured). (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
VIU music instructors presenting online jazz concert series

Musicians getting ‘back in shape’ performing American Songbook standards

Nanaimo’s Todd Cameron won the $1,000 Fan Favourite prize in Vancouver radio station CFOX 99.3 FM’s one-minute movie contest for his version of ‘The Big Lebowski.’ (Photo courtesy Todd Cameron)
Nanaimo man’s 60-second stop-motion ‘Big Lebowski’ remake wins fans’ choice award

Todd Cameron takes home $1,000 prize in Vancouver radio station contest

Kathryn Calder, City of Victoria’s artist in residence, is facilitating a performance and songwriting workshop for youth. (YouTube)
Online music workshops available for Greater Victoria young artists

Artist in Residence Kathryn Calder to host songwriting, performance series

Protection Island’s Valley Hennell has been inducted into the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame. (Photo courtesy Ronan Lannuzel)
Protection Island resident inducted into B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame

Valley Hennell recognized for 50-year career as writer, producer, manager, publisher

Most Read