Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Another GREAT American Justice Story - NOT!

OK - here is the setup - a young adult (age 17-18) convicted of a drug crime in 1975.  Sent to prison for 10-20 years, served 1 year and walked away - escaped.  She literally walked away to a new life.  Got serious in life, got married had kids and moved to Carmel Valley in Southern California and was recently found out by an anonymous tipster.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20080430-1101-bn30fugitive.html

But here is the part of the story that is crap.  She has spent that last few years of her life being a good person and mother - and now the DOJ wants her to finish her sentence.  Which is 'partially' the correct thing (in my opinion).

I really think the DOJ should address not only the legal issues and the legality of the issue at hand, but they should also re-dress the humanistic side of things.  Laws are left open to certain interpretations and as such are given a certain amount of lee-way in the way they are applied.

The DOJ could look at this woman and say she has led a good life, cleaned herself up, raised a family and is a good member of society - "Why the hell would we, now, send her back to prison?"  What possible gain would that have.  The only possible gain I see that the continued institution of her incarceration will serve as a deterrent for other detainees.

But in a day and time when 25% of the entire world incarcerated individuals are U.S. based prisoners - I can think of nothing better to say than LIGHTEN UP. 

It is time to review our penalties for crimes.  A Victimless crime should be prosecuted, should be judged, but putting white collar or minor drug related offenses or other small infractions behind bars does not lead to rehabilitation.  You and I are kidding ourselves if we think people are rehabilitated in jail today.  A Jail is a place to sit and rot away and should be kept for those persons who cause injury to others.  It is time to take the victimless crime and put those people on parole and make them do community service.  Let us subsidize our economy with free community service based labor from people who know they did wrong and keep them out of jails and away from the career criminals who will only further victimize those people in jail.

Time to revamp our penal system.

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