The media reports today have been awash with the story of the release from prison of the Sanford university student who was sentenced for taking sexual advantage of an unconsious woman. He could have been sentenced for up to 14 years, but instead received a sentence of only 6 months....this morning he was released after serving only 3 months of that time.
I don't know the circumstances or the exact details of his case and yes, only 6 months seems to me, as well as to many others, to be a ridiculously short amount of time for sexual assault. In some respects I understand the outrage coming from people about his early release from a sentence that all ready seemed just wrong!
However, think about it.
The young fellow is, I believe, only 21 years old. What good would it do him to remain in isolation in jail, kept away from the other prisoners who would attack and rape him because he was in prison for sexual assault? How would either isolation in solitary or release into the hell of general population contribute to him ever becoming a productive citizen on the outside when released in his mid-30's? As it is, he will be on parole for a very long time. He must register as a sex offender and that designation will follow him for the rest of his life. Whether he has spent 3 months in jail or 14 years, his life is ruined. The consequences for what he did will never leave him, will prevent him from having the kind of career he no doubt was training for in university. What woman of sound mind and character is going to want to marry this man? What are the chances he will ever get to be a husband and father? He will only be able to live in any neighbourhood or city until the neighbours discover the secret of who is actually is. Petitions will be signed to keep him from living in place after place, he will be open to harrassment and abuse of all kinds no matter where he goes. He has been released from one prison only to have to live his life in a different sort of prison. There will never be the type of forgiveness and restoration of his life offered to him that perpetrators of other crimes are sometimes fortunate enough to experience post incarceration.
He may have had a short stint in a prison cell, but his life is going to be hell on earth for as long as he lives. Believe me, he is continuing and will continue to pay the price for his actions. The prison experience will never end.