Criminal Justice

A few days ago, there was an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about a young woman whose dead body had been found. I know—we’re all used to seeing such news reports, but we should still be appalled each and every time.

The article went on to discuss the background of the perpetrator. He had been convicted of the rape-murder of a teenage girl, as I recall, back in the early 90’s. He had been convicted of several other crimes along the way, including at least one instance of parole violation. It listed the terms of all his convictions, and if you added up the years of the separate sentences, he should have been in prison until maybe 2025 or so.

Our criminal justice system has become a joke—a horribly sick joke, but a joke nonetheless. We assess a criminal a sentence, and then we let him or her out after serving only a fraction of the time assessed. If he or she is found guilty of two or more crimes at the same time and assessed sentences on each, more often than not they are applied concurrently, resulting in the second crime’s being a freebie—no punishment at all.

If the man who killed this young woman (I don’t remember whether or not he raped her first, but I think he did) had been made to serve the time assessed to him, he would not have been available to commit this crime. Her family would be enjoying her life instead of mourning her death.

This story is far too familiar. We all hear all the time about crimes committed by people who would have been incarcerated but were let out before their full sentences were up. How long are we going to tolerate this?

When I was growing up back in the 1950’s, murder and rape almost automatically carried either life in prison or death as their consequences. How have we gotten so far away from this? Nowadays, it’s not unusual to hear of a five-year sentence for murder. Really? Is that all a life is worth?

When’s the last time you heard about someone actually serving the full sentence assessed for a crime? Why do we sentence criminals if we don’t mean the sentences? Are we just kidding? Isn’t it time to get serious about criminals? We need to go back to the choice between life and death for rape and murder. We need to remove the term parole from our justice system.

If a criminal knew he or she was going to be put to death or incarcerated for the rest of his or her life, our murder and rape rates might go down. If a criminal knew ten years meant ten full years and twenty meant twenty, all sorts of crime might decrease in frequency. Criminals thumb their noses at our whole system, and it’s time for this to stop. Let’s take all this leeway out of the hands of judges and pass criminal laws with teeth in them.

What do you think of a system that lets criminals out long before their terms are up, allowing them to return to their lives of crime? What do you think of sentences of four or five years for murder?

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We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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4 Responses to Criminal Justice

  1. karenmcfarland says:

    I do not live in Texas, David, but it seems like the world has gone a bit mad, doesn’t it? There isn’t much like it used to be. It reminds me of Lu 21:26 where it says, “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth…” But then it says in verse 28, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” I believe that all of this, including our failing criminal justice system, is just part of the sign that our deliverance is near. I must say that it is refreshing to see someone who is sensitive to the injustices of this world. Hang in there David. I hope things change for the better soon! 😊

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  2. Sharon K. Walker says:

    I definitely think our criminal justice system needs to be improved. I have often thought the same as you: If this criminal had been incarcerated for the full length of his sentence, then the victim(s) would not have become victim(s). Of course, there are always exceptions in which an early released person, leaves the criminal life behind . Regretfully, the rate of recidivism for criminals is far too high.

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    • Thanks, Sharon. I also realize there are cases where criminals reform their ways, but I don’t believe it’s a good plan to make a mockery of criminal justice just in hopes that some will do so. We have a duty to protect the public, too.

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