In regards to the sentencing of a former county clerk for theft from the county, I must take issue with the statement by the district attorney that “the primary purpose of the criminal justice system is to obtain restitution for the victims.”
In this case, as reported in the Times (May 23), the perpetrator was not given prison time for the felony because she took with her to court payment for the amount she stole and for the cost of the investigation. What a precedent to set!
Is one to now assume that they can take whatever they want and, in the event they are caught, they can just return the goods, get some community service and probation and be on their way?
I believe that the sentence rendered, which was the sentence recommended by District Attorney Lee Darragh, was wrong. Furthermore, his understanding of jurisprudence is lacking if he truly believes the statement that he made.
Yes, restitution is important, but criminal punishment should also rehabilitate the criminal so that he or she will not re-offend, and it should deter others from breaking the law. Serving only one of these three ends is not sufficient.