Viewpoint: Crime and Punishment

As Seven on Your Side News reported a few days ago, Jones County Assistant D.A., J. Ronald Parrish was outraged at the news of the State Parole Board releasing a Laurel man who was once sentenced to death for murdering his wife. 
 A 1992 jury found William Giles, Jr. guilty and imposed the death sentence for sexually assaulting and killing his wife. The Supreme Court overturned the conviction on the grounds that he could not have sexually assaulted his wife because they were married.  After that Giles pleaded guilty to murder and got life in prison. 18 years later he could be walking the streets a free man. I share Mr. Parrish’s outrage.
In another controversial decision, the Parole Board released a man who murdered an Ole Miss graduate student and her unborn child in 1986.  Douglas Hodgkin served only 22 years of a life sentence for taking the life of Jean Elizabeth Gillies and the baby she was carrying.
According to a study by the Pew Center, one in 69 adult Mississippians is in prison, putting the state at number 2 on a per capita basis behind only Louisiana.  One in 38 adults is either behind bars, on probation or been paroled.
That is no reason to go soft on crime or let dangerously violent criminals out of jail because of overcrowding.
That’s why we welcome the news that the Mississippi Senate wants to make it more difficult for convicts to get out of prison.  Legislation approved today in the Senate would require the governor to hold a public hearing before exercising a pardon.  The bill would also require a unanimous vote by the 5-member state parole Board to release anyone convicted of capital murder or a sex crime.
I say we create more jobs in the corrections department if need be.  Put construction workers back to work building jails.  But keep our society safe from these predators at all costs.
I’m Jim Cameron…write and let us know what you think.
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