The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

November 7, 2008
A Brit's take on Prop 9: Victim's rights and parole

With all the attention on Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage, it's refreshing to see that someone has noticed the passage of Proposition 9.


Leave it to a Brit to clearly express its insidious effect.


Mary Beard, a professor of classics at Cambridge University and classics editor of the Times Literary Supplement writes:


Even worse in my view, was the passing of Proposition 9, a Victims Rights Initiative (paradoxically bank-rolled by a rich Californian currently indicted on fraud and drugs charges).  It reduces the possibilities for prisoners' parole, adds to the vast Californian prison population and gives victims of a crime a greater voice in the judicial and punitive process.  There's something truly dreadful about this.  Sure, we should support the victims.  But one of the whole purposes of a state legal system is to break the link beween culprit and victim -- to stop punishment from being vendetta.


And a reader responded to her in the comment section:


Couldn't agree more about Prop 9.  People seem increasingly to believe that the civil and criminal court system has some role to play in their individual emotional sense of grievance.  It doesn't.  Which is not to imply that victims don't deserve sympathy, or that criminals do.  But it's precisely NOT what courts are for.  One of the great projects of civilization is, as you suggest, containing revenge.


Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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