EDITORIAL – A little less rehabilitation and a lot more punishment

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THERE’S SOMETHING SERIOUSLY WRONG with our drunk driving laws. The man who ran a red light and slammed into the marked cruiser of a Langford, B.C. RCMP constable, killing her, has been granted a six-month day parole two years into his sentence.

Kenneth Fenton was given four years in prison after his conviction in July 2017 for impaired driving causing death. That in itself is a disturbingly light sentence, but being granted a day parole is adding insult to injury.

His actions took the life of Sarah Beckett, a 32-year-old mother of two. The Parole Board of Canada decided it’s OK for Fenton to be out of jail if he doesn’t do drugs or drink and doesn’t drive.

The rationale for day parole is that if the inmate takes part in the community he or she is better prepared for full parole. Beckett’s husband Brad Aschenbrenner is understandably unhappy, both with the parole and with the four-year sentence.

To quote Aschenbrenner: “There’s something wrong here, and it’s not right, and it has to get fixed.”

The judge who sentenced Fenton said he was guided by other sentences given those convicted of drunk driving causing death.

Each year in B.C., about 68 people are killed in motor vehicle accidents involving impaired driving. Our legal system provides for much greater penalties.

A common refrain is, “no amount of jail time can bring back the person who was killed.” But aren’t victims and their families entitled to a reasonable level of reprisal?

Our justice system is based on the honorable premise that everyone can be rehabilitated and that everything should be done to achieve that. But the Sarah Beckett case makes you think we need less rehabilitation and a lot more punishment in our system.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (7760 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

4 Comments on EDITORIAL – A little less rehabilitation and a lot more punishment

  1. Oh Mel you are being way to hard on offenders. Indeed what you are suggesting could be deemed cruel and unusual punishment. Our Justice system is not designed to protect public safety, hold people accountable or allow victims the right to justice. If that were the case many lawyers would be out of work judges would actually be accountable for the decisions and Politicians would be responsible for their appointments. How dare you suggest that the sacrosanct justice system is anything more than perfect because then you are suggesting that the Hug-A-Thug system cannot or will not police itself. For shame and also a truthful touch of reality.

  2. Pierce Graham // August 20, 2019 at 9:35 AM // Reply

    Gilbert and Sullivan got it right: Let the punishment fit the crime. The man should be behind bars for most of, if not all of, his life . That would be commensurate with the damage his ignorance and selfishness inflicted

  3. Any form of distraction behind the wheel of an automobile should not be tolerated. Steep fines, jail time and removal of driving privileges need to be implemented swiftly and without mercy towards the callous, inconsiderate ones causing much damage and needless pain and suffering. The administration of so called “justice” as it stands presently is not justifiable.

  4. Mel, a good article, our judicial system is a total joke as the “snowflake community” run it, as there is no deterrent when you break the law as when there is “time served” pre-sentence is included in your time. The judges give the minimum time to get out on parole, very few do their full time. Also as soon as they get sentenced they get more rights then you and I, it should be the opposite, they should have no rights as they broke the law.

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