The guy doesn’t have poor impulse control. It sounds like he sat there planning this for thirty years.
Tragic all around. The guy never had a chance. He was locked up for murder as a child of 15, spent 30 years in the horrifying American prison system. That’s not a formula for a healthy, well-adjusted adult.
I wonder if a different sentence when he was 15, and maybe not being tried as an adult, could have created a different outcome here.
Throwing him in a hole for 30 years seems to have kept him from killing anyone else during that time, but appears to have done absolutely nothing to address the underlying anger. I wonder if there was any attempt at treatment or rehabilitation.
With no intervention, 30 years just lets the vintage from the grapes of wrath turn to wine, aged in a barrel seasoned by whatever abuse he suffered in prison as a 15 year old.
He finished his entire original sentence, so the Pardon and Parole board is off the hook, but at some level this speaks to the ineffectiveness of long sentences.
Taken as an isolated variable, the length of incarceration seems to be more about satisfying society’s desire for retribution than about changing the behavior of the convicted.
For clarity: none of what I have said should be construed as excusing or condoning the murders he committed.
The prison system, with it penchant for privatization, has virtually zero incentive to reduce the future prison population.
Clearly everything would have been different. Butterfly effect and all. But nobody will ever know if the world would have been a better place, or worse.
The kid’s crime was pretty awful - I dunno if he deserved to be locked up until late middle age. What’s more important to me is, did the sentence make us better, or worse? The question nobody has asked since the 1980’s - how to we make the America, and the world a better place?
More like a ‘less than zero’ incentive.
45 is “late middle age”? Ouch. Okay, yes, I suppose so by literal definitions of life span and middle, but still…
Poor judgment and impulse control got him in prison, most people get some time off for good behavior or out on probation, if it was a nice round 30 years, that sounds like he served his whole sentence, which also implies a difficulty controlling himself, and of course, now he’s killed someone within 48 hours of getting out. Such people make it hard to believe in reform (which I still do), though there will always be broken people.
I know I lknow - but 45 x 2 = 90.
A very rough estimation of the cost to incarcerate him for 30 years is $900,000. He re-offended in less than two days, so I’d say we didn’t get much bang for our buck in his case.
If we’re willing to spend nearly a million dollars to confine a person for half of their productive lifetime, it just makes good economic sense, IMO, to take some steps to ensure they don’t simply repeat their crime when they are released, if only to protect the “investment.”
And yes, I winced when I typed out that last paragraph; I’m not so coldly rational as to be able to examine this in purely economic terms.
I really think I’m agreeing with the general thrust of your post, so please don’t construe my pull-quotes as adversarial. I’m trying to wrap my head around a really awful narrative, wondering what we can learn from it, how we can prevent other stories from playing out the same way.
On an aside: When you say “since the 1980’s” do you have a particular event in mind, or sort of an aggregate of the decade?
Some people are just fucked up and there is no fixing them.
And I agree with you, point by point. As for the 80’s, well I suppose there was one administration that sort of stands out. Can you imagine any President since then making the Great Society speech, or putting a man on the moon?
Looking at the science of solitary confinement, there is really no reason it should be continued. Look at the science of “enhanded interrogation”(what other nations call torture) and again, it’s something that should stop yesterday.
Where this guy is concerned, I have no doubt that the science could easily tell us what we’re doing wrong. But again, nobody cares because these human beings don’t count as people when the laws get made. They’re yet another way for some industry to make some money from a captive client base.
It doesn’t sound like that at all to me.
I dunno. It makes it hard to believe that people can be reformed by throwing them in a hole for 30 years. That doesn’t really say anything about whether real reform is possible, though.
I’m 49 you insensitive clod
To imprison someone for 30 years, then release them, only to have them kill again immediately doesn’t seem like it made anything or anyone better.
To me, it’s hard to imagine how putting a 15-year-old in prison for 30 years is going to make things better in any case. A 15-year-old with poor impulse control who made a terrible mistake isn’t going to be made better by 30 years in prison. A 15-year-old who is just plain going to kill again regardless of what we do is just going to kill more people after 30 years (or in prison).
It strikes me that our system doesn’t make any effort to tell the difference and just treats everyone the same. I feel like we could be doing a better job. The problem is that a law that lets us lock people up forever will be used by overzealous prosecutors/judges to ruin lives without a good reason and a law that divides people into rehabilitative or punitive programs will favour the rich and condemn the poor.
The justice system just fundamentally isn’t about getting the best results for society. It is about people competing for personal glory and career advancement.
I made some pretty shitty decisions when I was 15 years old. Sure, I didn’t go out and shoot somebody, but in fairness I imagine if I lived in a society where guns were as readily available as they are in parts of the USA it wouldn’t have been an impossibility. I certainly had a temper and got my arse handed to me multiple times when it blew up and I picked a fight with someone bigger and tougher than me; perhaps if I’d been able to easily get a gun after one of those incidents I might have shot and killed someone in a fit of rage. Who knows, I’m pretty sure most teenagers suffer impulse control issues and I was certainly not alone in my school in having anger issues.
There were consequences to my actions when I was young and angry, but thankfully none of them lasted 30 years. I’m now nearly 30, I’ve done alright for myself. Settled down, wife, young child, paying a mortgage, finishing a degree. Contributing to society you could say.
This guy, this guy never had that chance. Instead for some bizarre reason* a fifteen year old kid was trialled as an adult, and then given a bloody long sentence. Other people have commented that he was probably a bad prisoner, if he’d been well behaved he probably would have been out earlier. That might be true, but what the hell happens to a 15 year old boy in a prison full of adults? I can’t imagine its pleasant. I can’t imagine it produces anyone that is even remotely “well adjusted”. The only thing a system like that can produce is terrible outcomes.
This isn’t a surprising story, its a fucking tragedy.
*I’m sure his skin colour had nothing to do with it though…
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