Saturday, November 21, 2009

Age and Crime

Apparently a husband and wife admitted to spying on the US and reporting to Cuba for 30 years. They've even spent some time with Fidel Castro giving him intel. The husband has been sentenced to life in jail, while his wife will serve no less than 7.5 years. Here's the kicker for me, they are 72 and 71 respectively. The BBC site doesn't say when they stopped spying, but they spent their evening with Mr. Castro in 1995.

They committed treason against their country, but are aging. Does the punishment fit the crime? Should they be stuck in jail for something they did (potentially) a decade ago? Did the wife get a lesser sentence because of her gender? (Sexism can work in one's favor too).

I, of course, don't have any of these answers, but these questions struck me as I was reading. I think that since our punitive system is that, punitive instead of corrective, their age shouldn't matter. If we had a corrective system, then I don't think they should be corrected, because their ability to commit the crime has been greatly diminished.

Whether or not sexism played a part, I'm guessing yes. She could have been the brains behind the whole match, but most are reading this article thinking, "He was an official in the army. Oh, that poor woman getting stuck with that." Either way, I think 7 and a half years in jail are going to irreparably damage her health, and they will most likely be separated. That might be more damage than the actual jail time.

What I'll never know is why someone would actually do this.

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