Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Not quite sure

The headlines in the Sydney papers today are about whether one of murdered heart surgeon Victor Chang's killers should be released "early" from prison after serving his minimum sentence of 18 years. At this point, it would be good if we knew more about sentencing and minimum requirements worked. One of the more amazing things about the debate though is whether people commit more of a crime if they murder someone who could have done great good if they had not been killed. A comment on the reaction line of a radio station this morning suggested that people who kill drug dealers should get a shorter sentence. They stopped short of suggesting such killers be given a reward (or would that be a bounty in this situation?).
It is an emotionally charged issue, one to which there are no easy answers. But it has raised an issue about process. Apparently, Victor Chang's family were not invited to the initial hearing about his killer's release. Maybe that needs to be done as a matter of course from now on - regardless of how long ago the crime was committed.
It would be interesting to see if this raises new call for the re-introduction of capital punishment: dead men (and women) don't get early release ... or do they?

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