Tue | Nov 20, 2018

Letter of the Day | Sentence reduction days a comfort, encouragement to murderers

Published:Thursday | January 25, 2018 | 12:00 AM


It is difficult for any sane person to get used to, or accept, the idea that a murderer could take the life of someone and then have the privilege of benefiting from the Sentence Reduction Day Initiatives in our courts.

While I appreciate the valid point argued by criminologist Professor Anthony Harriott on Cliff Hughes Online last week; that the alternative to imprisoning murderers would be them getting away Scott-free, I am not comfortable with this sentence discount option that is offered to them without more.

Of course, it is certainly better for murderers to suffer some punishment than no punishment at all. But why should a monster who premeditatedly commits a murder be favoured in this way because he decides to plead guilty?

Since the sentence discounts are the only practical option at this time, and Lord knows we do not want to see murderers get away Scott-free, then the Sentence Reduction Day Initiative should be amended to include the payment of restitution by the murderers to the estate of the deceased and hard labour with their prison time.

The signal that is being sent with this current arrangement is that murderers can wreak havoc on our society by taking lives at will, and engender fear in the minds of law-abiding citizens, then simply plead guilty and get up to half off like some merchandise on sale in a department store. This could be encouragement for the murderers.

Imagine what negative psychological effects these seeming perversions have on the families of the victims. To know that they have suffered a loss at the hands of some heartless, brazen monster who then receives up to half the time off that they would conventionally receive could never be of much comfort.

Murderers will now be comforted to know that they can take lives at will and have an option in the courts that is favourable to them.