Treat criminals like criminals

I’m sure you know the name Brock Turner. Usually it is accompanied by an eye roll as people reflect on the insanity that is the outcome of his trial. The Stanford swimmer was released last week, three months early from his pitiful sentence after being charged for rape, sexual assault and attempted rape.

I would like to reiterate how pitiful this is.

This whole thing leaves a sour taste in my mouth and is incredibly reminiscent of Ethan Couch, the “affluenza” teen, who also served a laughable sentence for killing four as a result of drunken driving.

I am positive I’m not alone in feeling more than frustrated people like Couch and Turner can rape and kill people and then walk away with hardly more than a slap on the wrist.

The reasoning behind the leniency in sentences like these usually stems from the argument they come from lives of privilege, and putting them through 20 years of prison torment would not teach them any lesson and prevent them from leading redemptive lives.

I understand mistakes are made by people every day, and we live in a world where forgiveness is a favored trait, but when the outcome of the mistake involves the lives of four other people being stripped away from them, 10 months of probation will not suffice.

Yes, Couch lived  luxuriously which prevented him from understanding the repercussions of his actions, but that does not excuse that people lost family members the night he got into the accident while under the influence. Someone lost a child, a sister. Meanwhile, Couch disregards his probation and hops over to Mexico.

With Turner, he did not take responsibility for his actions and was under the influence, but seems unscathed by the fact he took advantage of a female acquaintance. His father wrote a letter saying it is a steep price to pay for “20 minutes of action” out of his 20+ years of life, perpetuating the thought that Turner should be given leniency and freedom despite the fact his victim did not receive that same courtesy from him.

We live in a society that often overlooks what the victims and families of victims may actually want and focuses on what is convenient for the seemingly promising young member of society who made a mistake.

From Turner’s case, a bill was proposed to require a mandatory prison sentence for those who sexually assault someone who is unconscious or intoxicated, a step in the right direction  to protecting victims’ rights. The woman who was raped by Turner has to live with what he did and know her pain was overlooked by a court that failed to protect her.

We may have failed the families of the kids who died that night in Couch’s car and the girl assaulted by Turner, but now we can acknowledge leniency is not the answer. It will not give back lives or return innocence and will definitely not teach the lessons that should be taught. We need to stop protecting the perpetrators and start treating them as the criminals they are.

About Chloe Tokar

Managing Editor

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