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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Brilliant and Unusual Punishment

I could write novels bitching about all the problems with our justice system but one of the biggest I see is sentencing. Our Constitution bans "Cruel and unusual punishment" but I think that's been interpreted to mean "every crime gets the same punishment". I don't understand why someone who shoplifts gets the same punishment as someone who assaulted another person. It's either prison time, a fine, or probation for the most part but every once in a while a judge does something brilliant...

In Halifax County recently, Toni King was charged with assaulting a government official, larceny and possession of stolen goods, and being intoxicated and disruptive. She pleaded guilty to resisting a public officer and intoxicated and disruptive with an interesting sentence from the judge: probation, counseling, and A HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT! Toni has to write a 2 page essay titled "How a Lady Should Behave in Public"!

To some that may seem trivial or a waste of time but think about it, she'll have to sit down, think hard about what she did, then write an essay basically describing how she was acting like an idiot and what she should do in the future. It might not change a thing but it could be the insight she needs to turn her life around.

I think if more judges would hand out sentences appropriate to the crime instead of what's on the books as "the standard" we might have more reformed criminals and less repeat offenders.

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