Saturday, October 8, 2011

6WS - The justice system blows my mind

Facebook, the papers and the news are this weekend full of stories about the Australian teenager arrested in Bali this week for drug possession. 

My 'mothers' heart has gone into shock and I wonder how as a parent, you wouldn't go insane when your 14 year old son has been locked up, in a foreign country notorious for it's harsh sentences?

Those poor, poor parents. Their son, fourteen years old and arrested for possession of 6.9 grams of marijuana - that's apparently about $28 worth. That's grams people, I can't even think of something which is small enough to be comparable in size. In Bali you get less jail time for bombing a nightclub and killing hundreds of people than you do for being in possession of drugs.

There are many stories being circulated and one of them is that he bought it from someone on the street who said he hadn't eaten for a length of time and needed money and that the kid was set up. Who knows whether this is true or what the real story is.

I understand the country has drug laws and we all know through the news and the drama surrounding Sharpelle Corby that drugs are a no-no in Bali. But we don't know the full truth around the circumstances and shit after all, this poor kid is only 14 years old.

My youngest child is 14 years old. I get worried about him catching the bus with his mates, riding his bike around the streets or going to the shopping mall with friends. I couldn't even begin to imagine how I would cope with him being locked in a prison cell with hard core and dangerous criminals in one of the filthiest, most disgusting jails in the world.

If all of us got locked up for making an error in judgement as teenagers, then most of us would surely have criminal records. Don't get me wrong, because I by no means condone drug taking and I don't take them myself. Reality is - we all experiment with things as teenagers, we all mess up in one way or another. The fact is we're all kids at one time and we're all still learning.

He's 14 years, he's not trafficking drugs, how can talk of 6 years or even 14 years in jail be even considered with any seriousness. The news stations are reporting that the Australian Government is doing everything in it's power to correct this situation and I hope for once they actually get something right and get this kid home to Australia.

I would bet my life savings that in the future, this kid never so much as breathes the wrong way and will surely become a model citizen because I'm betting he's had every ounce of bravado and experimentation scared out of him.

Would love to hear your views on this subject, because I'm absolutely blown away by this one.

Cheers, Fi

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  1. Hi Fi ~~ I hadn't heard of the Bali tough stand situation nor of this child's arrest.

    In most U.S. states here age 14 automatically places him in the Juvenile Justice system and things would be more lenient on him.

    I remember back in the 'hippie days' when the law had "throw down roaches." Most of that has stopped now.

    There still are 'tough cop' situations of which some I am familiar. One must plead guilty to a felony and then accept defered adjudication to stay out of prison. With this hanging over the innocent youth's head there is no alternative except accepting this phony setup.

    Happy 6WS and cheers,

  2. It is shocking, indeed, and should be fought against. But I ask myself what was a 14-yr-old doing alone in a country where the draconian laws are well-known? Where were his parents?

  3. When it works, the justice system is, well, just! When it doesn't work, it's a nightmare.

  4. 'Justice' is about as abstract as a concept can get. Thus, hoping for 'just' outcomes is highly speculative and optimistic, and the results always open to debate and interpretation.

    Thought-provoking post.

  5. Viv makes an excellent point.

    Why didn't the boy just give some money? He didn't need to accept the drugs.

    I am not unsympathetic: my own son is fifteen; but I suspect there's more to this story than we know.

  6. That does seem super harsh! Poor kid and parents!
    Have a great weekend and a happy 6WS!

  7. Crazy world we live in! Thank goodness for 6WS to lighten things up a bit:)
    Thanks for dropping by!

  8. That's a frightening story... I will have to read more about it, I didn't know. Here in the US, I wish we had no drug laws. We don't "outlaw" TV, Internet, or Food addictions and those are no less harmful...

    Anyways, I hope your spirit lifts through the day.

  9. I cannot even begin to imagine those parents nightmare....I had no idea Bali was that strict...they must have some reason?

  10. I'm not sure my previous comment went through. I do feel badly for the kid and his parents. However, when you're in a foreign country and you make a bad decision, you may have to pay for it the hard way. However the kid came to purchase the drugs is a shame and I'm sure he's sitting over there wishing to God he made a different decision. Part of the problem about being a teenager anywhere is that they think nothing will ever happen to them. Unfortunately in Bali, and other countries as well, they just don't care if you're 14 or will be punished. I do hope they get him out of there and back home to his family soon.

  11. sadly, what this amounts to is how willing is your government to fight for the rights of its citizens abroad...this reminds me of those US hikers in Iraq, who were just released...

  12. It's a brutal world out there.

  13. You mean there really is one out there?

  14. I hadn't heard about this, but your thoughts are very similar to my thoughts about it. I understand Bali's laws, but I also understand the boy is only 14 years old. I can't imagine the horror of it for all involved, the boy, his parents, etc. My son had a bit of trouble with the law when he was in his teens before he turned 18, adulthood, of course in the United States. He had to do the usual, probation, work program, etc to get it off the record but it was an education for him of what the system would be like (and worse) if he continued to make poor choices when he turned 18. I'm sure this young man would benefit from a program that shows impact of his poor choice, but not prisonment for many a year. Such a sad situation all around!


  15. depending what kind of extradition pact Australia has with Bali, it may complicate the matters.

    where were the parents?? in a foreign country, you keep an eye on your kids, period!! it may be a place for holidays, but responsabilities remain. i dare not imagine what awaits in jail for that kid. he'd be scarred for life!!



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