Perhaps David Copperfield could explain to the citizens of New Hampshire, how a new law that allows for the early release of sexual predators, somehow makes us safer. Every explanation I’ve heard so far, from Governor Lynch to the Department of Corrections chief Bill Wrenn, makes no sense to me. Sad, too, because I know both men and have praised them in the past for their diligent work protecting the children of New Hampshire from sexual predators. Both men worked hard developing new and more stringent laws to protect our children, but now seem to have fallen into a different mindset.
Anyone who reads a newspaper in New Hampshire knows that, over the last several weeks, the parole board has had the unenviable task of hearing parole arguments, and then having to release many of these criminals early because of a new law signed by Governor Lynch. At the bottom of it all, not surprisingly, is money.
This is designed to be a cost-saving measure, shaving nine months off of usually already-reduced sentences. We all understand the fiscal debacle facing our State, but I have to wonder about the wisdom of this policy. The prisons are overcrowded…I get it. Yet there are hoards of non-violent prisoners taking up space as well. I doubt, though I don’t know, that there are legions of folks that most of us would want to see back on the streets, but I have to believe that sexual predators would be the last on the list.
I have been accused of using this issue as a political football, a charge I don’t understand. I’m not waving anyone’s flag here, just wondering, again, why as a society we are so reticent to protect the most vulnerable among us. We take one step forward, and two back, with a law like this. Members of the parole hearing board have been outspoken and outraged over the decision. They are forced to hear the case, as if it were a formality, and then forced to grant the early release depending on the circumstances and time-served. Now there’s a place to save money. No more parole hearings that are simply a hobby.
I can think of no more violent act, short of murder, than the unwanted violation of another persons body, whether it be a child or an adult. I am surprised, too, that women’s advocacy groups are so silent on this issue. Where is the outrage? Their lips have been sealed tighter than a wizard’s sleeve on this one. Odd. And it makes one wonder, what is the real motivation here?
There have been details about how “tighter monitoring” after the release of these prisoners will curtail any effort to reoffend. One would think, though, how much does that cost? The recidivism rate is high for this group, and short of 24/7 buddy-system monitoring, I can’t imagine how the citizens of this State will be safer with these folks on the street as opposed to behind bars.
Us “small-government” folks, in spite of our intellectual shortcomings, want and expect our government to protect us. That is one of the few mandates of government we expect to be upheld. As a society, the trend has been evolving for years now…let’s make sure the perpetrator gets everything he or she needs. The victims of crime? Not so much.
On the other hand, I am confident this is one of those problems that will solve itself. Sadly, there will be a rape or assault victim involved. Make a mark on this paragraph. As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, someone will be harmed at the hands of a prisoner released early under this program, and then all that “saved” money will go out the window in one gigantic legal case against the State of New Hampshire. It’s not a question of “if”, it’s a question of “when”, and in this case, the State will deserve it.