It’s easier to confirm prejudice than contradict it

A sparkling example of analytical writing in the local newspaper last Thursday by Bob Plecas, a retired bureaucrat with a penchant for critical thinking.

He was waxing eloquently and accurately on bleeding-heart community leaders from mayors to police chiefs to unthinking citizens “bleating over the closure of the youth jail” in Victoria. The main complaint of those crying foul is that juveniles under arrest or sentenced to  prison  will soon have to spend at least one night in a greater Victoria adult cell block before being shipped for longer detention to a Prince George or Burnaby juveniles-only facility.

A sad case of affairs indeed and at first glance worthy of every shout of protest – until Plecas turns on the cold water shower of reality. He asks what communities living beyond the boundaries of Greater Victoria have in common from Port Alberni to Port Hardy, from Kamloops through the Okanagan going south and to the coast going west?

They all have juveniles who misbehave and find themselves in trouble with the law. And none of them have youth jails. Greater Victoria protesters apparently think it okay for juveniles up-Island, or from villages, towns and cities in the Interior to spend a night or two in their local community lock-up – but that Greater Victoria “juveniles” should be spared such harsh treatment.

Plecas ended his piece with a plea to knee-jerk Greater Victoria protesters to temper their “sense of moral superiority with common sense.” I wish him well in that particular dream but fear the majority of people living in Lotus Land have lived and fostered their feeling of entitlement far too long to give it up now.

It would be nice if every community could have a juvenile detention facility, nice but ridiculous to expect. The chattering classes in Greater Victoria seem unaware they are demanding continuation of a social service other communities have long learned to live without.

Or maybe they are aware but think “we live in the Capital city so rate more comforts than folks up-country.” Our daily newspapers appear to agree that capital city dwellers are “entitled” when they rush, as they did on the juvenile detention centre closure, to join the unthinking babble of selfish protest.

Makes me think Alexander Cockburn was right when he wrote back in 1974: “The first law of journalism – (is) to confirm existing prejudice rather than contradict it.”


  1. Interesting. I have often wondered about the small town and the big town jails in BC. are set up and the average number of inmates per day/night, how many per cell.

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