There have been two very high profile cases recently where damage to a glittering sporting career and risk of terrible consequences to mental health have been suggested as something worth considering when sentencing.
Forget martyrs / remember victims
The idea that having to go to prison to serve time for a crime you have been found guilty by a jury is detrimental to the life of the person being sentenced should even be considered as a valid reason for not giving the full sentence allowable by law is offensive to the victims and families affected by those crimes.
Prison being an unpleasant experience and it having an impact on your future is kind of the point. That’s why it’s a sanction and deterrent. This is fancy way of saying “if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime”.
This isn’t to say there shouldn’t be rehabilitation but delivering sanctimonious seminars absolving yourself of responsibility and shifting blame or conducting teary TV interviews does not count as rehabilitation.
Amongst all this handwringing and phony contrition there is no remorse for the victim or the impact on their lives and those left behind. The only concern is about the perpetrator’s future.
It’s notable that these high profile cases involve sportsmen. It seems absurd that potential damage to a sporting career is even entertained as a mitigating factor for sentencing.
In no other field would you even think that this would be justifiable.
“I accept that my client may have been found guilty of murder but I ask you to consider he is really, really good at maths”.
There’s an old Monty Python sketch where the gag is the judge in a multiple murder trial asks the defendent if he has anything to say before judgment.
Yes, Sir. I’m very sorry.
The joke is that after issuing a flowery apology promising that he won’t brutally mass murder again and thanking all the police for their time and remarking on what a splendid job they all did the bashful judge issues a sentence of six months (“but suspended!”) as the courtroom sings for he’s a jolly good fellow.
This is meant to be a comedy sketch not a training video.
The scary thing is that you can take that sketch swap out the word murder for sexual assault and you pretty much have what happened now.
If you watch or read the transcript of the sketch you’ll notice something else in common with the real world example. None of these flowery words are directed at the victims or their families.
That’s not funny.