We’ve gone overboard in punishments
I write in regards to “sexting.”
What these juveniles have done is without a doubt an unintelligent thing to do. Should we deem them sex offenders for the next 10 years and have their lives changed forever?
Historically and currently, this state makes juveniles register for inappropriate adolescent behavior without thought to their developmental stage or the rest of their lives.
Why have we strayed from the intent of the juvenile justice system? We register and place youth on the Internet as young as 12 years old.
Should we be treating them the same as adults? Where is our common sense?
Are these kids really sex offenders? I think not.
In regard to the victim of this event, did she understand or realize the ramifications of her action? Poor child. I am sure she never considered how far-reaching her initial actions would take her. We need to educate our children and let them know what the consequences of sexual behaviors are.
Schools need to take a proactive approach to this and not dismiss such activity as less serious than substance abuse. We, as a community, owe them a right to the education of certain behaviors and the legal consequences.
Somewhere within the moral panic around sexual offending, we lost sight of the continuum of such behavior and have gone overboard in our punishments. A sense of logic needs to prevail.
CHRIS MARX, Olympia
Alternative sentence is available
For two decades, the juvenile justice system has increasingly moved away from a system aimed at thoughtful re-education for youth to a mean-spirited, adult, criminal justice model.
The front page report about two 13-year-old girls and a 14-year-old boy being charged with felonies that could require that they register as sex offenders and be sent to an institution for (imprudently and immaturely) sending a nude photo on their cell phone is a timely example. This report cited a recent study finding that 20 percent of our teen age youth have committed this same offense.
There are alternatives to systemic revenge, i.e., charging with felonies, branding for life, and expensive institutionalization.
One important alternative is provided by the Community Youth Services agency in Olympia. Diversion to their newly developed restorative justice service gives willing offenders the opportunity to genuinely express remorse for their offense directly to the victim, gives victims the setting for expressing the degree of their hurt directly to the offender, and gives both of them the supervised space to negotiate a plan for the offender to make amends.
This process humanizes all of the parties involved, powerfully and effectively educates them, gives needed satisfaction to victims, and allows offenders restoration to the community as full-fledged, law-abiding citizens.
This service has been provided elsewhere in the U.S. and extensively in other countries where numerous studies have all shown significant success.
JEWEL GODDARD, Olympia
Our priorities are askew
There are many ways we can judge the values of a community. We can look at its budget, we can look at its buildings and we can look at its punishments.
What does it say about our community when we give a man 13 years in prison for robbing a bank and give another man three years and five months for kidnapping and raping a 12-year-old on Christmas Eve?
It says that we believe what we keep in banks is more precious than keeping our children safe.
JULIE HANNAY, Olympia
Court’s decision was wrong, historic
A recent Olympian editorial was right on. The U.S. Supreme Court 5-4 decision overturning 100 years of law and precedent to give corporations free rein to spend unlimited amounts on elections is likely the most remarkable decision in my lifetime, and I’m old.
I’d wager this decision will be historically linked to the Dred Scott decision of 1857, which fomented the Civil War, among worst in American history. This is a landmark decision, bigger probably than Brown v. Board of Education, or Roe v. Wade, and it is dead wrong.
The Greedheads have won. Allowing unlimited corporate spending in all phases of U.S. elections ends American democracy as we have known it.
No longer will the $25, $50, or $75 my wife and I have chosen to contribute to candidates we support be relevant. And it wouldn’t be if we could afford $250, $500, or $750.
Boeing, Microsoft, GM, any large corporation could cancel that and the donations of thousands just like ours with a single ad buy.
Think about that. If Rep. Dave Reichert’s voting record isn’t what Microsoft wants they can spend $10 million, $20 million or $50 million to replace him with someone precisely in tune with their corporate goals.
Our representative democracy has just, in its wisdom, concluded our senators, representatives, president, judges, dog catchers, anyone running for elective office, can be bought by the highest corporate bidder.
You were alive when this outrageous decision came down. It will be discussed your entire lifetime.
WARREN CARLSON, Olympia