28 January 2009

Comparing prison sentences

You know the first story. Here are the details of the latter one:
Roy Brown, 54, robbed the Capital One bank in Shreveport, Louisiana in December 2007. He approached the teller with one of his hands under his jacket and told her that it was a robbery.

The teller handed Brown three stacks of bill but he only took a single $100 bill and returned the remaining money back to her. He said that he was homeless and hungry and left the bank.

The next day he surrendered to the police voluntarily and told them that his mother didn’t raise him that way.

Brown told the police he needed the money to stay at the detox center and had no other place to stay and was hungry.

In Caddo District Court, he pleaded guilty. The judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison for first degree robbery..
Click to enlarge image (credit here).


  1. This trend has been around for a long time ... White Australia started as a penal colony. Convicts could be transported for such heinous crimes as stealing a belt buckle, or a loaf of bread ...

  2. Actually, in my experience, its pretty unusual. This kind of offense is actually called a "welfare crime", where someone does something illegal just to go to jail, where it is warm, dry, and they get food and medical care. There are lots of cases where elderly people who can't afford the medical expenses will commit a similar crime (robbing banks seems to be a favorite) and then hope that the criminal justice system will take care of them. It's a sad commentary.

    Mandatory sentencing practices disrupt the concepts of "justice" all the more as politicians attempt to "deter" certain types of crime with harsher sentences or "mandatory" jail time. Take for example a man just convicted of a federal felony drug possession. He gets five years with a mandatory jail time of two years. Now the prison is out of room and they have a murderer who was incarcerated on a forty year prison term with a fifteen year mandatory jail time. The murderer has already served sixteen years, so they let him out because they HAVE TO keep the drug dealer in for TWO.

    That's lunacy.


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