Letter: Throwing away the key not the answer
This is in response to what I read in the Gazette-Journal titled "Make the punishment fit the offender" (Readers Write, Sept. 2, 2010). It truly disturbs me that someone wants to throw every person with legal troubles under our state prisons. Obviously rehabilitation is not in this woman’s vocabulary. Sure, everyone should suffer some sort of consequence for breaking the laws. But throwing someone in their 20s with a drug problem in prison for the rest of their life is definitely not the way to go about it.
I think the judges and commonwealth’s attorneys fully understand this; that is why they are in the positions that they are in. I thank God for that, because if someone like Mrs. Lund were in these positions, they’re would be a lot of good people rotting in prison. I don’t think the reason behind the repeat offenders is because of a lack of punishment. If anything, it’s because "law-abiding citizens" like Mrs. Lund throw addicts into prisons with criminals, drug, gangs, etc., and then think that’s going to fix the problem.
Have you ever thought of trying to repair a problem? If it was your Honda or Lexus having problems, you would. But someone’s son, brother or father, you’d rather just throw (them) away, never to be seen again by society. You contradict yourself when you say criminals use the blame game and blame home life or drug use as the root to their legal problems. Then shortly after that, you turn right around and say morals and values have to be taught at home, that parents have to set good examples for their children.
Not everyone is blessed to have great parents. I guess some may see that as God’s mistake by putting that child on this earth. Maybe if some weren’t so cold hearted, the underprivileged would have the blessing of being fixed by society since that’s all they have. Or then again, we could just throw them in a cage for the rest of their lives.
As for the example used in the letter, I’m guessing that she knows the individual in question. So I suppose she also knows he has two beautiful children that he cares deeply about. I’m sure it doesn’t bother her that he has to see his two sons through glass every week. And that his eyes are filled with tears after doing so.
The man didn’t take a life, he didn’t rape anyone, he was only hurting himself. I think he deserves to one day be with his children again, especially if he’s making an effort at changing his life. Obviously the judge felt the same way. He was sentenced to five years at a therapeutic program which is run by the Department of Corrections.
So whether or not you think your tax dollars should be used to help the people of Virginia become better people, the lawmakers of this country do. His guidelines recommended a sentence of two years; he was sentenced to nearly double that. He will not be thrown into a crime-ridden prison, but somewhere that’ll help this repeat offender get his life on track. I think justice has been served.
I see him trying to change his life every day while incarcerated. I see him attending Bible studies, helping others and trying to lead a Christian life, regardless of his circumstances. This man has already been sentenced; he is doing this for his own good. He is not just trying to pull the wool over the sheep’s eyes … or, in this case, the court’s. He could be doing whatever he pleases, the same things that you say are a given when he’s finally released. But I see someone trying to make a change in his life.