The Homolka Debate

There is a bit of a debate going on in Canada right now with regards to the release of Karla Homolka. In actual fact, there is a good chance that Americans may know a little more about the case then do Canadians, as there was a news blackout in effect when she and her exhusband were originally tried.

If you are interested in the background, you can read about it here: Bernardo Timeline. In short, Karla Homolka and her exhusband were accused on raping and murdering two teenage girls in 1991. In order to make sure that Bernardo, her then husband, was jailed for life, the Crown attorneys made a deal with the devil, giving Homolka only 12 years in prison for her part in the murders. There is so many unanswered questions, including what exactly was her role in the death of her sister, for which she will not be charged.

Now Homolka is due to be released on July 5th, and there is a great deal of concern. Just last year the National Parole Board ruled that she is likely to commit another violent crime. But a deal is a deal, and she is making plans to live in Quebec. Today she is in court to see what, if any, restrictions will be placed upon her once she is released.

The debate comes in here. Some people believe that she has served her time and should be released without any restrictions. Others, and I am in this camp, feel she should face restrictions, especially since she has shown no remorse and taken on no blame. My view is coloured partly because the two girls she killed were close in age to me and lived in a city very nearby. I remember clearly the fear I felt all those years ago. My parents wouldn’t let me go anywhere alone for a long time afterwards.

Although generally I believe in allowing released prisoners to live their lives, there are times when I think it is wise to place restrictions. If there is a serious risk of re-offending, as there is in this case, then I think restrictions are acceptable. I am wondering where my feelings fall with respect to the Rede. Clearly Homolka has caused a great deal of harm, to the girls she helped murder, to their family, as well as to all those who lived in fear because of her. How much punishment is enough? How much does my faith require me to forgive and to believe her protestations that she has changed are in good faith?

Interested in what other Canadians think, check out this CBC Newsworld page: Viewpoint.

  1. There was a similar debate going on in Australia not so long ago, the basic jist was should convicted paedophiles be allowed to return to society if they have refused any kind of rehabilitation while incarcerated.

    To be honest, having been part of this exact issue I don’t believe they should be released. Doing the time doesn’t mean you’re fit to return to society.

  2. My Perception of the Homolka Case

    Right about now just about everybody in Canada and many throughout the world know about the Karla Homolka case CNN.com. After being sentenced to 12 years for manslaughter in the slaying of two schoolgirls in Ontario and the 1990 death…