For Life

Jerry Sandusky was sentenced today.

I’ve done a handful of Penn State related posts and songs over the last 18 months about it all. Mercifully, this might be the last.

Our sentencing structure is so weird. He received a minimum of 30 years without possibility of parole with a maximum of 60 years. At his age, it’s plainly a death sentence.

But as a matter of principle and equity, it has always struck me as strange that we treat, somewhat less severely, acts which sexually torture a victim and create permanent psychological, and sometimes physical damage, from murder in the first degree. I’m not sure it’s reasonable to view the relative wrongs differently. Retribution, of course, cures neither — death nor damage.

And, I’m not a vindication guy. But, to the extent our criminal justice system is designed to administer punishment in proportion to the relative heinousness of the various possible crimes, I’m just saying that 45 counts of child sexual abuse feels a lot more like life without the possibility of parole than it does anything else.

These things are typically and stringently dictated by the statutory system in the relevant jurisdiction. I mention it illustratively. This differential in treatment is built into the underlying policy of our sentencing schemes — that on average we tend to say the conduct of a person like Sandusky is somehow less worse than a mass murderer.

I suspect his victims have had days where they would adamantly disagree.

There has been nothing lighthearted about the songs related to this topic. But, among them, this one seemed most wistful. Hopeful, maybe, even.

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced by Diaz from Hungary.

Today’s song blog here:

Dorm Dreams

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