Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Four Years Is Not Long Enough for Paul D. Thompson

What is the purpose of prison, and how long should sentences be?

I generally favor restorative justice and rehabilitation over retribution (gee, there are so many "re" prefixes when it comes to incarceration). I tend to think negligence is barely criminal and intention matters a lot. That said, premeditated murder and rape seem like the crimes that should have the longest sentences.

Why, then, is four years the maximum sentence allowable for the recently convicted chiropractor who admitted raping his 80-pound woman patient? Is it because his abuse of her trust (and the fact that he "groomed" her for the attack for years) don't constitute the type of violence some bunch of old, male lawmakers had in mind when they came up with the Minnesota penal code? He didn't jump out at her from an alley or hold a knife to her throat, so four years and an insulting $9,415 payment of restitution just about does it?

What is $9,415 supposed to represent in the life of the woman, who, according to her sister, "was suicidal, hospitalized twice and suffers depression and post-traumatic stress disorder"?

The chiropractor-rapist, Paul D. Thompson, is 54 years old. I have an idea for our criminal courts: When fully adult people commit heinous crimes like this, they should get longer sentences than young people because, by damn, they should really know better. They should have the executive function parts of their brains in working order, unlike the 15-year-old boys we seem to be so fond of sentencing to life without parole.

1 comment:

Gina said...

I think as part of his sentence he must read Patricia Weaver Francisco's memoir "Telling: A Memoir of Rape and Recovery" in which she describes her PTSD accurately and in harrowing detail. Then he needs to talk about the book with a therapist. Rapists, who feel powerless, want power over the woman whom they objectify. They need to learn what the consequences of their actions are for other people, and how their actions affect other people. I've met people who have been shocked to learn that their actions affect others.