A week long course on exorcism

250 catholic priests have just started their week long course in Rome this week to learn how to do exorcisms. This is a really controversial practise because it not only supports the idea that people can be possessed by evil demons but can also lead to people with mental health or psychological problems being treated in such a way.

This is how an exorcism happens:

  1. The person who is possessed may be bound, and holy water should be used.
  2. The priest will make the sign of the cross on the person at several times throughout.
  3. The priest calls on saints, prays and reads excerpts from the Bible in which Jesus drives out demons from people. In Jesus’ name, he asks the possessing demon to “yield to God” and “depart”, as many times as necessary.
  4. Once the priest is convinced the exorcism has worked, he prays to God to prevent the evil spirit from bothering the afflicted person further, and for the “goodness and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ” to take hold of the person instead.

He leaves a trail so he can prove where he’s been

The story of Anthony Ray Hinton is one which highlights the risks of the death penalty and the racism which means that even though African American and Hispanics make up just 36% of the population they make up 56% of the prison population in the USA. He spent 28 years on death row for two murders he didn’t commit.

When you have to give the different points of view about capital punishment (the death penalty) an often mentioned argument is that innocent people might get unjustly killed. Anthony Ray Hinton’s story gives much weight to this opinion.

Crime and Punishment on ITV

Tonight there’s aired the second part of a two part documentary by Gordon Ramsay about cocaine. This Autumn you’ll also be able to watch  An Hour to Catch a Killer with Trevor Macdonald; Ross Kemp in Jail; and Serial Killed with Piers Morgan.

ITV is always entertaining and hard hitting with its documentaries. Make sure you check when each documentary is being broadcast or catch up on ITV Hub.

Community Service for Rooney

The Everton footballer Wayne Rooney, formerly of Manchester United, has been given a 100 hour comment service and banned from driving of two years. Drink-drive multi-millionaire Wayne Rooney was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £85 victim surcharge. But now the question is what form will the community work take and where will the probation service send him? Will he end up litter picking or painting a park wall?

rooney

Other celebrities who’ve ended up doing community service for their crimes are singer Boy George, model Naomi Campbell, singer George Michael, footballer Joey Barton, and TV presenter Kirsty Gallacher. Some people believe that celebrities doing community service only ends up benefitting the celebs who have increased paparazzi exposure.

Naomi Campbell’s community service for hitting her housekeeper in the head with a mobile phone ended up more like a catwalk show:

naomi

Would a custodial sentence have been a better punishment?

The Morning after Drinking and still Drunk

Kirsty Gallacher, a Sky Sports presenter, was found to have 106 micrograms per 100ml of breath when the legal limit is 35 micrograms per 100ml of breath. She had been out drinking alcohol the night before and then after getting a taxi home she drove in her car to go and pick up her kids for a day out at Windsor Castle. Police spotted her driving all over the place and then stopped her, to discover her drink driving.

drink driving

drink aware 1 hour

In court today her punishment for being found guilty of drink driving was a two year driving ban which could be reduced by six months if she opted to take part in a driving safety course at a later date. She has to do 100 hours of unpaid community service and was ordered to pay £85 in court charges and a separate surcharge of £85.

booze-units

Kirsty must have been drinking a lot the night before for the alcohol to be so high in her system. The NHS recommends that if you drink alcohol, you don’t do it excessively:

01J_BOOZE GRAPHIC

As a teenager it is really important to keep away from drinking alcohol. It can lead to risky behaviours, such as driving when you shouldn’t, or having unprotected sex. Moreover drinking large amounts of alcohol at one time or very rapidly can cause alcohol poisoning, which can lead to coma or even death.

Is it fair that a woman avoids a custodial sentence simply because she’s an exceptional student?

An Oxford University student who stabbed her boyfriend could be spared a custodial sentence because of her “extraordinary” talent, a court heard.  The aspiring heart surgeon called Lavinia Woodward stabbed her Cambridge-educated boyfriend, who she met on the Tinder dating app, in the leg before hurling a laptop, glass and a jam jar at him during a drug-fuelled rage at Christ Church college, Oxford. The 24-year-old admitted to a charge of unlawful wounding at Oxford Crown Court, and the offence which would normally carry a custodial sentence, might not result in prison because the  Judge Ian Pringle suggested she may be spared jail because of her academic record. 

He said: “It seems to me that if this was a one-off, a complete one-off, to prevent this extraordinary, able young lady from not following her long-held desire to enter the profession she wishes to, would be a sentence which would be too severe.”

Is this fair? Would the same mercy be given to another defendant with the aim of becoming a care assistant, or one who was a checkout assistant at Tesco with aspirations towards becoming a supervisor? The Daily Telegraph even questions whether there is an increase in the punishment by merit!

Francis FitzGibbon, the chair of the Criminal Bar Association, told the BBC’s Today programme the case was “unusual”. “The judge must take into account determination or demonstration of steps to address addiction, so it sounds as though he’s giving her a chance and I think the judge would do that for anyone wherever they came from in the right circumstances. I don’t know if her future prospects are the critical factor in this. Maybe if she does really badly [on her drug rehabilitation] he’ll think again.”

Drug Policy Alliance in US argues why US Drug Policy All Wrong

In 1997 when US actress Rachael Leigh Cook was a box-office star someone thought it clever to summarise America’s drug problem with a frying pan and an egg. It was a cringeworthy Public Service Advert which a few weeks ago was rehashed as a Public Service Advert for the Drug Policy Alliance, again with actress Rachel Leigh Cook a frying pan and eggs, but pointing out how wrong the US’s current Drug Policy is.

drugs

“It is gratifying and promising to see the evolution in Rachael Leigh Cook and in the American public over these last 20 years,” Tony Newman, director of media relations at the Drug Policy Alliance. “The war on drugs is a disastrous failure that has ruined millions of peoples’ lives, especially people of color. Let’s hope this ad is seen by as many people as the original and inspires folks to end this unwinnable war.”In the advert Rachel Leigh Cook holds a frying pan and eggs of two different colours to demonstrate the racial disparities in our criminal justice system when it comes to drug crimes.

“The war on drugs is ruining people’s lives,” Cook says. “It fuels mass incarceration, it targets people of color in greater numbers than their white counterparts. It cripples communities. It costs billions and it doesn’t work. Any questions?”

For any Year 11 student revising about drugs for their GCSE RS exam watching the advert is worth 5 minutes of their time. There are often questions on the exam paper about how to punish people who take illegal drugs. Obviously we know how we can refer to religious attitudes (eye for an eye, the Golden Rule, love thy neighbour, forgiveness, situation ethics, Buddhist precept of no drugs or harm, karma, affecting your ability to follow religious teachings) and the aims of punishment (reform, deter, vindication for laws being in place, reparation, protection, retribution) but how drug policy can also affect generations of people and their efforts to get educated and pull themselves out of poverty should also be considered.