No Positive Criminal Reform, Please. We’re Liberals.


You’ve probably heard about the case of a man who was sentenced to a handful of months in jail for a sexual assault conviction. You may or may not think that’s a fair sentence, but do please understand that his life is basically over. He’s a convicted felon, and worse, a convicted sex offender. He’ll face massive struggles for the rest of his life because of these two things, so while his sentence may seem brief, bear in mind that it is, in many ways, a life sentence.

“Just like the one his victim has!” you might cry. “Revenge!”

And revenge is what we’re going to get. Not against him, of course, though having a bunch of armed protesters show up at his house is just fucking creepy. Seriously, knock that shit off, you guys.

Where was I? Oh, yes. Revenge. Because of this incident, and a perception, that isn’t entirely accurate, that rich white men get off with much easier sentences than other people do, a new law has been proposed in California that broadens the definition of rape (fine), and mandates stricter minimum sentences (not fine).

This really is a terrible solution to this problem. You know what’s going to happen with stricter laws regarding this? I’ll give you a hint: rich white males will still get around them. Poor black males? Not a chance.

And as liberals, we’re supposed to stand up for the oppressed, right? That feels, at first glance, like what we’re doing; standing up for women. But poor black men will suffer from this law far more than rich white men, and of those two, who do you think is the more oppressed? Anyhow, I thought we were supposed to be against longer prison sentences and against standard minimums.

This is a bad law. This is a bad solution to this situation, as is the recall effort against the judge in this case.

The solution here is a wholesale reform of the legal process to make it fairer. To make it so that poor black men stand the same basic chance in court as rich white men. This law will not do that.

If you believe in reforming the judicial system then you have to embrace logical, rational decisions that will benefit many and harm few. Changing the laws to punish one person (who won’t be punished under these laws), does not accomplish that. This does nothing but make life harder for a people who already have hard enough lives as it is.

 

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