Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Ok, so today I heard a story on the radio about a woman who left her three children (the oldest of whom is 3) alone at her apartment while she went to try to see a Jerry Springer* taping. After FIVE HOURS, the oldest one knocked on a neighbor's door for help. Police were called, charges filed, and the mother is spending 30 days in prison. (The kids will be entered into the foster care system.)

My question is: 30 days? I know nothing about this woman except this incident. Maybe she's ordinarily a very loving and protective mother. Maybe she understands that losing her kids is the worst thing that could happen to her. Maybe serving 30 days' time will convince her to get whatever help or support she needs (assuming, of course, that she can afford it).

But maybe not. I have to say, my gut reaction to this was that she deserves much worse. If she'd had the care of MY child, I wouldn't be able to think of a punishment harsh enough for abandonment. And why should her children have any less protection than mine?

*The DJ's punchline: "... and now Jerry Springer would like to have her as a guest on the show."


Rude Cactus said...

I guess I can see both sides. I mean, really, she should be punished. But I'm not sure what good jail will do. Frankly, I think we need to get more creative in the way we punish those convicted of crimes. Nothing seems to serve as much of a deterrent.

Julie said...

Good point. I'm amused (in a not-that-funny kind of way) by the current debate about "activist judges."

I LIKE activist judges who search for creative solutions to the cases appearing before them. Obviously, there's a real potential for this to cross the line. Nonetheless, sometimes we need to take the it's-so-crazy-it-just-might-work approach: