"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Lam Chopped

The State of California's Correction people are crowing over their big catch. They tracked down a prison escapee after 38 years. They found him living in a trailer park in Oklahoma, working the sort of odd jobs you can get without having proper ID.

Now this guy was no murderer or rapist, just a thief three years into a five year term. For the past thirty-eight years, he has never had a single run-in with the law that would have led to his being fingerprinted.

Do you think that a man like that needs to go back to jail to complete his sentence? Perhaps even have years tacked on for 'Escape'? I don't.

The part of prison that is punishment was certainly fulfilled by thirty-eight years of living hand-to-mouth, forced to skulk in the shadows. The part that is rehabilitation was certainly accomplished by keeping his nose clean this long.

If I was the judge at the hearing, I would release him for time served (and suspend the sentence for the 'Escape' charge). If I was the governor, I would commute the rest of the sentence.

A little common sense and a little heart would blend nicely at this juncture. The vast majority of today's prison inmates were not born when this guy escaped. Let's not, as a society, be so crass as to observe the letter of the law in this instance.

8 comments:

Tlaloc said...

Decently compassionate of you, Jay.

Jay D. Homnick said...

Oy, now I'm reconsidering.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

Because you're jewish, Jay, I was expecting something rather Solomonic. All I got out of this post was that you're a reasonable guy.

I wish I could disappoint like that...

Jay D. Homnick said...

Oh, I'm Solomonic all right. On the question of "Should bin-Laden be tried in Afghanistan or New York?", I say: Cut him in half and try half in each venue.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

... I knew you had it in you.

Hunter Baker said...

You've issued the same solution that would surely have been reached by Luther and Calvin, both of whom called for equity and the law of love to override the letter of law when it yields injustice.

Jay D. Homnick said...

In Yiddish they say: "If you go on a straight path, you meet good people."