Thursday, April 24, 2014

A story for Jodi Picoult to write

Our blog project group has once again changed by one member, but I'm still calling it Blog Project 3.0. The newest member is Darwin Shrugged, a friend of Froggie's. I recently got to know her better through "52 Stories" and I look forward to what she has to say on the upcoming topics.

This week Moma Rock chose the topic: A man convicted of armed robbery never reported to prison. He was never instructed to. Check out this article. Now they want to send him to prison. Do you think he should still serve the time, or do you think he's rehabilitated himself from his prior conviction? What are your thoughts?

First, read what everyone else had to share on this topic:
Darwin Shrugged
Moma Rock

Have you read any of Jodi Picoult's novels? They usually deal with the law and there's some gray area involved (like neither side is particularly right). Some of this situation reminds me of The Storyteller, which is about a man who was a Nazi during the Holocaust but changed his ways over time. Yet he still felt remorse for his crimes and wanted permanent punishment for them by the hands of someone Jewish. When I was reading this article about how the man got married, became a father and was an all-around good citizen, I immediately thought of that character.

The other thing it made me think of was Orange is the New Black, since Piper had to go to prison 10 years after she participated in a drug smuggling act (even though she was just carrying money). Her life was in a completely different place than it was when she committed the crime. She willingly went to prison to get it done with, but her sentence was a lot shorter than this man's sentence would be.

At this point, it is a lot of gray area, which is the material that makes Jodi Picoult's books so powerful and intense. On one hand, the man committed a crime and could have potentially hurt someone, even if it was just psychological damage. It's still a crime. On the other hand, he has reformed himself and made it pretty clear to the criminal justice system that he has nothing to hide. He's in a different place in his life where he's an adult and a model citizen. If it is a mistake on the part of the criminal justice system, who should have to pay the price? Is it worth sending this man to prison for a crime he knows was wrong and has been trying to make up for in other ways? Or should he have just reported for prison back in that time knowing that he did something wrong and ready to get it over with so he could move on?

I don't know how to make heads or tails out of this situation, it's that tricky. Maybe Jodi could write a story about it and help people come to the right decision in that way, if there even is a right decision. If I were working for the criminal justice system and saw that the mistake was on our end, I would have looked at the situation as it currently stands before making a harsh judgment, but I also would have done something to show that consequences were put into place, whether it was a payment, being put on probation, or having him perform community service for the next few years. I don't know if other situations like this have come up, but it's pretty dreadful to consider. If he had actually killed someone or done major property damage, I think it would have been insanely stupid of the criminal justice system to let him slip through their fingers. However, I think he's paid the price by trying to live his life while worrying every day if he should be watching his back.


Sara said...

I never looked at it in that way, but this WOULD be the perfect Picoult novel! I know, it's such a difficult decision. I really hope some sort of compromise can be made between Missouri and Anderson. Great post!

AiringMyDirtyLaundry said...

Jodi Picoult could certainly write a novel about this. She's amazing. I've read nearly all her books.