Thursday, September 20, 2007

What's prison for, anyway?

Daniel Biechele, 30... the manager of Great White... who lighted the pyrotechnics that caused a fire that killed 100 people in a Rhode Island nightclub [, the Station, in West Warwick] in 2003 was granted parole on Wednesday. He will have served less than half his term.
Boy meets band, boy manages band, boy inadvertently slaughters a century of fans, boy goes to prison. I don't know a lot about him, but I imagine Mr. Biechele killed all those people out of negligence, rather than malice. And he was sentenced to four years in prison, but will have served two when he is released in March.

Why do we send people to prison? Is it to rehabilitate them?
In prison, Mr. Biechele, of Winter Haven, Fla., was a bookkeeper for an organization in Woonsocket that helps disabled children and adults.
But, what if you're a nice guy to begin with, you make an error in judgment, and something very bad happens? You're accountable, you go to prison. But, all it can do is clarify to you why you were already staying out of prison. So, why would you ever qualify for parole? You'd think if that were the goal of gaol*, the sentencing judge would be able to set a time period when you started.

Is it to reduce the risk to society by interrupting your pattern of pyrotechnic band managing? How do they know that that's accomplished? Is it to hide you from vigilante actions by your victims' families, or merely to punish you? Again, I'm not sure I see the logic of parole. If we just let you go once you start loving Big Brother, I don't see what we'd do to people who love Big Brother going in. If we're supposed to be warning other band managers from negligently handling pyrotechnics, well, this sends the wrong message.

I'd like some clarity on why we imprison people.

* -- sorry, just had to work 'goal of gaol' in..

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