Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Don't Let Rafferty Ever Leave Prison: Editorial Exchange: Don't Let Rafferty Ever Leave Prison

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Don't Let Rafferty Ever Leave Prison: Editorial Exchange: Don't Let Rafferty Ever Leave Prison

Article excerpt

An editorial from the Waterloo Region Record, published Mat 15:

To the Parole Board of Canada, May, 2037:

Dear Tribunal members:

It is your task to decide whether Michael Rafferty should be granted parole after spending the last 25 years in prison for kidnapping, raping and murdering eight-year-old Victoria (Tori) Stafford. As you judge his request, please consider the perspective of people who lived in southern Ontario so long ago when these atrocities occurred. And after you have done so, please deny Mr. Rafferty's plea for freedom.

We cannot say how successful Canada's penal system will be in rehabilitating him. We hope that after the passage of a quarter of a century he will have admitted his crimes, apologized to the family of his victim as well as the general community which he frightened and scandalized. Perhaps prison psychologists and counsellors will instil in him a basic sense of morality while treating his unquestionably depraved state of mind. We doubt this will be possible. To gaze into his blank, remorseless eyes after his arrest was to recognize a force both sinister and incorrigible.

Yet whatever progress the system and its professionals can achieve in this regard, we would submit that Mr. Rafferty can never be rehabilitated to the point at which he can safely and justly be released into open society.

The magnitude of his wrongdoing is simply too great to allow this to happen. Canada was right to abolish the death penalty decades ago. However some transgressions of not only law but fundamental human morality demand the next most extreme punishment -- the confinement of the guilty party in a penal institution until that individual dies.

Mr. Rafferty violated the most basic standards of decency upon which any civilized society is founded. Physically strong adults are responsible for protecting younger, weaker and more vulnerable members of the community. Yet on April 8, 2009, Mr. Rafferty, as a 28-year-old man, preyed on a defenceless child, depriving her of freedom, personal integrity and, ultimately, life itself. The lurid details of his actions require no repetition here. It should be sufficient to state that Tori Stafford endured great mental anguish and severe physical pain. …

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