Keep criminals behind bars

A Nova Scotia man who was convicted of drunk driving and killing a young man and woman has been granted parole

A Nova Scotia man who was convicted of drunk driving and killing a young man and woman has been granted parole despite admitting that he will likely continue to drink and drive.

Wait, what?

Yes, that’s right, a convicted drunk driver has been released even though he said he will continue to drink and drive.

In 2007, Michael Gerard Cooper was convicted of killing 19-year-old Angela Smits and her boyfriend, 20-year-old Michael MacLean while operating a motor vehicle intoxicated. On Jan. 21, Cooper was granted parole after serving seven years for that crime, even though both he and the parole board stated he is likely to re-offend.

Numerous conditions have been placed on Cooper in addition to his release.

He is to refrain from consuming, purchasing, or possessing alcohol, entering any place alcohol is sold or consumed, is under a lifetime driving ban and must adhere to a curfew by remaining in his home between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

One could argue that these restrictions are in place to prevent Cooper from re-offending. However, Cooper has already demonstrated he has little regard for the rules.

Breaking any of these conditions would be against the law and could land Cooper back in prison. But, drinking and driving is against the law too, and look how well that turned out. Not to mention, Cooper has said he would continue drinking and driving no matter what conditions were placed on him.

Why do we keep letting people like this out of prison?

This man committed a crime, was convicted, said he will probably commit crimes again, but we are still going to let him out of prison so that he can go ahead and do that.

Let’s not forget either how unfair Cooper’s sentence is to the families of the people he killed either. Cooper isn’t just guilty of drinking and driving, he is guilty of killing two people while doing so.

Seven years, for ending two lives that were just beginning?

Such disproportionate sentencing is not unprecedented either.

Remember the 12-year-old girl who murdered her family in Medicine Hat? That girl was sentenced to 10 years, the maximum allowed under youth law, but she only served three years in prison.

After that, she was moved to a group home and when she became old enough was even allowed to attend Mount Royal University to pursue a postsecondary education before her plans were leaked and she changed schools.

We cannot allow such injustices to continue as they have or allow ourselves to be put in danger by continuing to release high-risk offenders.

If this is a case of the law stating that Cooper has served his time and therefore must be released, we need to change that law.

Keeping him in prison seems a far better alternative than giving him the opportunity to get drunk and kill someone again.