FacebookTwitter
Hatrack River Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Sentencing of a child molester

   
Author Topic: Sentencing of a child molester
Stephan
Member
Member # 7549

 - posted      Profile for Stephan   Email Stephan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
http://www.hometownannapolis.com/cgi-bin/read/2007/04_19-63/TOP

quote:
Molester gets house arrest : Judge orders him to stay away from children
By ERIC HARTLEY, Staff Writer
A mentally disabled Glen Burnie man who had compiled local elementary school schedules and a list of 100 potential child victims before his arrest last year was sentenced yesterday to 5½ years on house arrest for molesting a child a decade ago.

James Matthew Thomas, 29, told a therapist he was having thoughts about molesting and killing a specific 8-year-old girl who lived in his neighborhood. He also had written journals that graphically described sex acts with children, though police said they were apparently fantasies and there's no evidence that he actually harmed any children after 1997.

Thomas confessed to molesting two children and was arrested in 1997, but prosecutors dropped the charges, saying the victims' family wouldn't cooperate. Charges were re-filed last year after Thomas' therapist brought his disturbing new fantasies to the attention of police and the victims' family agreed to go forward.

Yesterday, a prosecutor urged Circuit Court Judge Philip T. Caroom to put Thomas in jail, calling him "a danger to the community."

"I think that is the only way the court can ensure the defendant does not follow through on the various plans he has," Assistant State's Attorney Kathleen Rogers said.

Judge Caroom said he understood the sentiment among some in the public that child molesters should be imprisoned for as long as possible.

"It seems to me that that would not make Mr. Thomas a person who was less likely to commit an offense again whenever he was released," the judge said. "The treatment is more appropriate for that. ... Sending him to the Division of Correction would in fact make him a victim due to his vulnerability."

As someone who will be having a child in the same county in the coming years the idea of house arrest for this person fills me with a lot of fear and anger.

On the other hand, the argument used by the prosecutor (and those mad at the judge's decision) that putting him in jail or an institution is the only way to protect our children from possibile harm bothers me a little to. As far as I know jail is used for punishment and rehabilitation of past crimes, NOT for putting someone a way IN CASE they do something again. If that were the case every sentencing would involve life imprisonment.

Posts: 3134 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Icarus
Member
Member # 3162

 - posted      Profile for Icarus   Email Icarus         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think jail is about all three. I certainly think that protecting society by removing victimizers is a central part of it.
Posts: 13679 | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TheHumanTarget
Member
Member # 7129

 - posted      Profile for TheHumanTarget           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
AS a father of two young girls, I would be extremely disturbed to find out that someone like this was "confined" in my neighborhood. Does the article go into any details on how this house arrest would be enforced? What kind of follow-up is required during and after house arrest?
Posts: 1480 | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Belle
Member
Member # 2314

 - posted      Profile for Belle   Email Belle         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Given the extraordinary high recidivism rates involved in those who commit child molestations, I'm absolutely comfortable with making any conviction of that crime a mandatory life sentence.
Posts: 14428 | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Stephan
Member
Member # 7549

 - posted      Profile for Stephan   Email Stephan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by TheHumanTarget:
AS a father of two young girls, I would be extremely disturbed to find out that someone like this was "confined" in my neighborhood. Does the article go into any details on how this house arrest would be enforced? What kind of follow-up is required during and after house arrest?

He is not allow to work at or visit any location that could potentially have children such as stores or restaurants. However the article only mentions random checks and searches by probation agents.
Posts: 3134 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dagonee
Member
Member # 5818

 - posted      Profile for Dagonee           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
As far as I know jail is used for punishment and rehabilitation of past crimes, NOT for putting someone a way IN CASE they do something again.
In fact, incapacitation - the physical prevention of a criminal from committing more crimes after conviction - is one of the classically cited purposes of criminal punishment, and it's widely accepted by many who consider retributive punishment to be immoral.

I'm not, at this time, going to address the rightness or wrongness of the view, but I did think it worth pointing out that the argument the prosecutor made is common and supported by a broad spectrum of legal ethicists. It is also a factor explicitly authorized for judges to consider in sentencing in a wide variety of sentencing statutes and guidelines.

quote:
If that were the case every sentencing would involve life imprisonment.
All theories of criminal punishment avoid the "life sentence for every crime" phenomenon by weighing the crime and punishment. Deontological theories weigh the moral wrong of the crime committed against the punishment. Utilitarian theories weigh the harm caused by the type of crime (and the type of crime likely to be prevented by incapacitation) against the punishment.

For reference, the four classically recognized purposes of criminal punishment are retribution, incapacitation, rehabilitation, and deterrence (broken into "general deterrence" which speaks to how the punishment of criminal A deters others from committing crimes and "specific deterrence" which speaks to how the punishment deters the punished person from committing future crimes).

Posts: 26071 | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Stephan
Member
Member # 7549

 - posted      Profile for Stephan   Email Stephan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee:
quote:
As far as I know jail is used for punishment and rehabilitation of past crimes, NOT for putting someone a way IN CASE they do something again.
In fact, incapacitation - the physical prevention of a criminal from committing more crimes after conviction - is one of the classically cited purposes of criminal punishment, and it's widely accepted by many who consider retributive punishment to be immoral.

I'm not, at this time, going to address the rightness or wrongness of the view, but I did think it worth pointing out that the argument the prosecutor made is common and supported by a broad spectrum of legal ethicists. It is also a factor explicitly authorized for judges to consider in sentencing in a wide variety of sentencing statutes and guidelines.

quote:
If that were the case every sentencing would involve life imprisonment.
All theories of criminal punishment avoid the "life sentence for every crime" phenomenon by weighing the crime and punishment. Deontological theories weigh the moral wrong of the crime committed against the punishment. Utilitarian theories weigh the harm caused by the type of crime (and the type of crime likely to be prevented by incapacitation) against the punishment.

For reference, the four classically recognized purposes of criminal punishment are retribution, incapacitation, rehabilitation, and deterrence (broken into "general deterrence" which speaks to how the punishment of criminal A deters others from committing crimes and "specific deterrence" which speaks to how the punishment deters the punished person from committing future crimes).

In this case I am rather happy to be proven wrong.
Posts: 3134 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TheHumanTarget
Member
Member # 7129

 - posted      Profile for TheHumanTarget           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
He is not allow to work at or visit any location that could potentially have children such as stores or restaurants. However the article only mentions random checks and searches by probation agents.
See...this here is what worries me. If the checks are random, and he's operating independently, then what really have we gained? Is this an effective way of safe-guarding our children against sexual predators?
Posts: 1480 | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ClaudiaTherese
Member
Member # 923

 - posted      Profile for ClaudiaTherese           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I do not know the details of this case, but "house arrest" sometimes/often comes with an ankle braclet tracking device that is carefully monitored. A young man that moved in behind the house where I stayed in college had this, and he was permitted 20 min to get to work each day and 20 min to return. He was tracked quite closely.
Posts: 14017 | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Reshpeckobiggle
Member
Member # 8947

 - posted      Profile for Reshpeckobiggle   Email Reshpeckobiggle         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Belle:
Given the extraordinary high recidivism rates involved in those who commit child molestations, I'm absolutely comfortable with making any conviction of that crime a mandatory life sentence.

I think child molesters should put put away for 20 years minimum. The average sentence for child molesters is 7 1/2 years, and the average time served is 3 years. But the recidivism rate is actually quite a bit lower compared to many other crimes. It is around 3.3 percent within the first 3 years. I don't know what the rate is over any amount of time. At any rate, this translates to 33 children being molested for every 1000 molesters released after serving their wimpy little prison sentences.

I just want to point that out so you don't use the recidivism angle in a debate and then have it get shut down. Or use it, but to point out how many children get molested who never should have been because the person who did it walked after three years.

Posts: 1286 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ElJay
Member
Member # 6358

 - posted      Profile for ElJay           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Where are you getting your numbers, Resh? This page says:

quote:
Studies show different base rates for different types of sex offenses. For example, child molesters have a higher rate of rearrest than rapists (52% versus 39 percent when tracked over 25 years).

One review of recidivism rates (p.7) found: "Incest offenders ranged between 4 and 10 percent. Rapists ranged between 7 and 35 percent. Child molesters with female victims ranged between 10 and 29 percent. Child molesters with male victims ranged between 13 and 40 percent. Exhibitionists ranged between 41 and 71 percent."

Three years isn't very long to measure over.

And from here.

quote:
The initial follow-up of the child molesters found that 42% were reconvicted of a sexual or violent crime during the 15-30 year follow-up period. Ten percent of the total sample of child molesters were first convicted for a sexual/violent crime between 10 and 31 years after release. Not all child molesters recidivated at the same rate. The highest rate of recidivism (77%) was for those with previous sexual offenses, who selected extrafamilial boy victims, and who were never married. In contrast, the long-term recidivism rate for the low risk offenders was less than 20%.

Although the long-term recidivism rates for the child molesters were substantial, the recidivism rates for the nonsexual criminals were even higher, 61% versus 83.2%, respectively, for any reconviction. That nonsexual criminals have higher recidivism rates than child molesters runs contrary to the common assumption that child molesters are a particularly high risk group of offenders. Nonsexual criminals tended to be reconvicted for property offenses and for nonsexual violent offenses. In contrast, child molesters had much higher rates of sexual recidivism (35%) than did the nonsexual criminal group (1.5%). The predictors of sexual recidivism (e.g., prior sexual offenses, victim type) were different from the predictors of nonsexual recidivism (e.g., low education, youth, nonviolent offenses).


Posts: 7954 | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Reshpeckobiggle
Member
Member # 8947

 - posted      Profile for Reshpeckobiggle   Email Reshpeckobiggle         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I got it from the U.S Bureau of Justice Statistics Website. I agree, 3 years isn't much. And I imagine that the lower recidivism is probably due largly to the monitoring that they get. But like I said: any level of recidivism is reason enough to throw these pervs away forever.
Posts: 1286 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Wendybird
Member
Member # 84

 - posted      Profile for Wendybird   Email Wendybird         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Wow, for a therapist to break confidentiality those fantasies must have been pretty bad.

Maryland is not strict enough on molesters. And they allow concurrent sentences. What is the point of four 20 year sentences if the guy gets to serve them all at the same time and gets out after only 14? Sentenced to 80 years but only serving 14 just doesn't seem like justice to me.

Posts: 1132 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2