Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A stereotype gone too far?

I've never been a big fan of playing the NIMBY card and this latest news story is just another example of bias gone awry.

At issue is the relocation of a halfway house in Calgary from a residential area in Victoria Park to an industrial lot in the Manchester Industrial Park. Already, residents who live more than 3 blocks away (and that sounds closer than it actually is) are complaining and will try to block the relocation.

Frankly, I'm tired of this. While I readily admit that I would be concerned if a halfway house were going to move into my neighbourhood, I think we have to start to ask ourselves if this bias against rehabilitated criminals has gone too far? After all, if an industrial area isn't a suitable location for such a resource, what is? How far away does such a facility need to be from parks and homes before everyone is happy? These folks are in fact trying to re-integrate back into society after serving most of their term and proving that they are deserving of serving the rest of their sentence in a halfway house, or Community Based Residential Facility as they're known by the John Howard Society (JHS). Are they going to be able to integrate if their residence is far away from civilization and transit?

I believe a better attitude is to work with the JHS to make sure that residents' concerns are being met and perhaps the JHS could educate folks as to why their residence is such a necessary stepping stone for reformed convicts. But to suggest that being within blocks of homes and a park is a 'temptation' is painting the residents with a very wide and unsightly brush. Let's face it, if reformed criminals weren't allowed to live among us, they would have little chance of success in becoming productive members of society again.

2 comments:

ApaulO ARTik Agrinaut said...

Insightful.

Karl Plesz said...

Thank you. Coming from you, that means a lot.