Governor Matt Blunt issued a press release today regarding proposed legislation to apply the death penalty to "forcible rape and forcible sodomy when the victim is less than 12 years old.
I disagree with Governor Matt Blunt's position but offer an alternative solution. Prisoners convicted of such crimes should be given the opportunity to drink hemlock - they should have the right to kill themselves.
Associate Circuit Judge Tony Williams stated in open court last week that child molesters and wife beaters were two classes of people who create the greatest challenge to "correctional institutions".
Recently, I had a chance to speak with guards for a Taney County prisoner by the name of Ronald Darling. He was recently convicted of sodomy with an infant. Daring is on suicide watch while in the custody of the Taney County Sheriffs department. The expense of guarding him around the clock means other prisoners have less attention dedicated to their needs - including medical services. Darling was given a 20 year sentence after a successful prosecution by Jeff Merrill, the Taney County Prosecutor's office.
Though Darling has been convicted he hasn't fully taken responsibility for his actions. He stated to a guard that he was a victim of abuse as a child.
Because of his crime against children, Darling isn't safe in the presence of other inmates. Given the opportunity they might take his life. Due to this fact his entire sentence will be served in protective custody - an extra expense to save his own life.
Many prisoners are fathers and some are victims of sexual abuse themselves. It's not uncommon for sexual abusers of children to serve lighter sentences than drug crimes. As a result harming such an inmate is a badge of honor, perhaps a way to reconcile their own past and insurance that such people will never be able to walk the streets again. Criminals views are often harder on crime than the legislatures who dictate how criminals should be punished.