Thursday, February 11, 2010

16 days did not a rapist make

Sometimes you have to wonder if they really think before they react. On NPR this morning "Calif. Prison Early-Release Program Stirs Controversy":

The first sign of trouble came last week when the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department released 22-year-old Kevin Peterson, who has a record of violence, after he had served only half of a four-month sentence for violating his probation. Peterson was out for less than a day when he was arrested for attempted rape. Sheriff John McGinness said he had no choice but to release Peterson 16 days early. what you are telling me is that had you waited 16 more days this........:
  1. Would not have happened
  2. Would still have happened but the Sheriff would not be at fault
  3. Would still have happened but California Lawmakers would not be blamed
  4. Would not be an issue because no one would have even known about it
16 days is early release? 16 days would have made the difference between rape and no rape? Complete rehabilitation was almost at hand but Arnold got a bit premature and let out a man with "a history of violence" 16 days early. This is supposed to be such an outrage not because he committed this crime but because he was released early and committed it.

News flash, guys with a violent past, guys who violate parole often will, more than not, go out and committ another crime. They don't call them repeat offenders because they have gas. 16 days had nothing - nothing - to do with this. Had he been kept five months instead of the four and committed the rape within 24 hours of release would we still be having this discussion? No.

The fault is not in early release, the fault is in the lack of control and concern this Peterson guy has for his fellow human beings. Better judgment may have been warranted in this case, and as often is the situation, the law is followed to the letter and not to what is best. 16 days was not too early, 16 days was not the issue, 16 days is not the Sheriff's fault, Sacramento's fault, or the Governor's fault.

16 days, 32, 64, 128.......unless you give all prisoners life without parole for any crime they commit you will always have some that go out and commit a crime. They never learn, don't care, are stupid, or lack good judgment and in some form or fashion will commit another crime 24 hours or 20 years from their release. Does it really matter? Its a crap shoot when you release someone regardless of how much time they have spent locked up. But like craps there are ways to place your bets that reduce your risk and increase your success. That's the issue that needs to be addressed, not 16 days.

But no, 16 days allows the "throw the key away" crowd the ability to say "see! this is what happens!" And the news, even NPR, picks up and runs with it never illuminating the real issue at hand. If we are to be a compassionate society then we must forgive. However, we must also take into consideration public safety. There is no crystal ball to look into to determine who will and who will not commit a crime once released. There will always be errors unless we want to be error free in which case you had better pray you never get locked up because you aint never going to come out. Win for society, win for the victim, win for the lawmakers! The only person that losses is the criminal, you know guys like Martin Luther King, Mohandas Gandhi, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash....

You get the picture.

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