- Politics and Social Issues
The subject of commuting sentences of criminals
Recent events/decisions have surfaced in the news that President Obama has made a decision to commute the sentence of an individual who has served over 20 years. The basis for this decision he states is that the individual is non-violent even though he was in charge or at least a leader in an organization that committed violent crimes. The authority to make this kind of decision is well within the office of President. The point to be made is that individuals have authority to make decisions every day but whether they should is what each individual must decide.
Decisions made by the President have a greater impact on the country than those of individual organizations. Having the authority to make certain types of decisions individuals must decide whether to use that authority along with considering the impact if any. Commuting sentences of criminals that have been through our judicial system is not a decision that should be made lightly. Commuting sentences may be a good thing in some cases and may involve some compassion but compassion with regards to criminals should be for the victims not the criminals. Presidents have a history of both commuting and issuing pardons for criminals across this country. This action is irrespective of which political party occupies the White House.
There is a process from what I understand where the President is advised by at least part of his staff in making decisions about commuting sentences of criminals or granting pardons but in this case the decision lacks logic. As previously stated decisions involving the release of criminals regardless of the crime for which they have been convicted may have some logical basis in some cases but this is not one of them. Releasing individuals with this kind of background will have a negative impact on the safety of every individual who comes in contact with him or the organization in which he has played a leadership role.
Within our judicial system and prison system there are individuals who have been sentenced to life without parole with respect to the crimes they have committed. Justice is served when criminals are put behind bars but that justice is eroded when criminals who should not ever be on the streets of our country are given freedom through actions of any government entity. The problem of commuting or pardoning criminals is that it is a slap in the face of our justice system and the victims of those affected by their crimes. Some victims will never see the light of day as there are no longer living while others must live the rest of their lives without members of their families or friends. The question to be raised which cannot be answered by those who are no longer living is if they would agree with the decisions being made to pardon or commute these sentences. We are a compassionate country in many respects but that compassion should not be so misguided that criminals who should remain behind bars are let go to impact society again.