Sep 4, 2016

Sunday Focus: "Book 'Em". The wide variety of punishments

The Library of Congress
   A North Alabama library is threatening customers who fail to return books with big fines and even jail time.

    The News-Courier originated the story, though it has now gone international, with a story in the London Guardian.

“Sometimes we hear, 'I lent my library card to my cousin,' .....I just want to ask, 'Would you lend your cousin your credit card? If they go and get $700 worth of clothing and you're responsible for the bill, would you do that?"

     Does it seem to you that the punishment we impose is sometimes out of line with the action being punished?
     President Obama commuted or reduced the prison time of hundreds of prisoners during his two terms...more than the previous ten president's combined. He did it because, frankly, the sentencing in the U.S. Justice system is out of wack. There was a racial component to his action, the undoing of unfair sentencing in previous decades, with "crack cocaine" crimes punished more harshly than "regular" cocaine.

     He did not commute the sentence of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, convicted of crimes that a hundred of so former state Attorneys General say were not crimes at all. Yet he remains in prison for another year.

     A judge got into hot water recently for sentencing a Stanford University college student to six months in jail for his sexual assault conviction.  There is a continuing effort to have the judge kicked off the bench, though criminal justice officials say that's not appropriate. The student was just released from his jail term.


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