THE SMOKE SIGNAL

THE SMOKE SIGNAL

THE SMOKE SIGNAL

The justice system needs more empathy

While being sentenced at a Nevada court on battery charges, defendant Deobra Delone Redden lunged at the judge, injuring her. On top of the likely increase to his sentence, Redden drew a significant amount of negative press upon himself. However, much of the published news neglects to mention the comment the judge made after the defendant listed all of the changes he has made to his life and pleaded with her for a minimum sentence.

“I appreciate that, but I think it’s time that you get a taste of something else, because I just can’t with that history,” said Clark County District Court Judge Mary Kay Holthus in a manner that can only be described as patronizing and full of feigned sorrow.

It’s important to understand the situation from Redden’s point of view—he practically poured his heart out in front of the judge, but rather than receiving any form of sympathy, he received a disgustingly irreverent comment on top of time in prison. Perhaps, with the history Redden has, time in prison is a fair punishment. However, he does not deserve to face sass from a judge who is ridding him of his freedom for the foreseeable future.

Judge Mary Kay Holthus’s disregard for the freedom she took from the defendant indicates an overall lack of humility afforded to criminals in our current justice system. Unfortunately, this is simply a product of America’s justice system working as intended—keeping people incarcerated as often and for as long as possible. Prisons force prisoners into cheap labor ($0.08/hour), fail to rehabilitate them and leave them with little choice but to return to the same life upon release; why should it be a surprise when judges fail to see criminals as humans?

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They judge dozens of criminals every single day, many of whom are repeat offenders. They are likely desensitized to the human side of their work, as they incarcerate almost 7 times as many people as Europe under our system. We must change our current prison system to bring humility rather than profiteering.

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About the Contributor
Soren Stephenson, News Editor and Layout Editor
Soren Stephenson is a senior at Hart High School. He is currently serving as the News and Layout Editor of the newspaper. He is on Hart's varsity tennis team, and in his free time he likes to spend time with friends and family, play pickleball and listen to music. He also serves as the president of Super Auto Pets club.
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