Make My Day
CRIME DOESN'T PAY, IT HURTS
by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
SYRACU.S.E, Ind. -- We've all been told that crime doesn't pay, and for the most part, that's true.
Sure, there are the stories everyone has heard, like the Australian burglar who broke into a house in 1997, was attacked by the victims and their dogs, and then sued for physical and emotional damage three years later.
Or the $50,000 award given this past August to the Australian teenager who broke into a nightclub and was beaten by the owner, even thought he had been labeled a "grossly stupid, totally irresponsible drunken lout" by the court. To add insult to injury, the lout's mother was given another $18,000 for "nervous shock" after seeing her son's injuries.
But the rest of the time, crime doesn't pay, even if you are Australian. If you're gonna do the crime, you're gonna do the time - and it's going to hurt - we're fond of telling today's youth.
At least I am. I'm trying to scare the little hoodlums into turning down their car stereos.
Take, for example, Martin Brewer who recently discovered that just being in jail can earn you a pretty savage beating.
According to a story on Denver's Channel 7 Website, Brewer had just finished testifying against Edward Brown for allegedly killing two of Brewer's friends. While waiting to be transported back to the state prison, the Arapahoe County (Colorado) Sheriff's deputies - who apparently have the common sense of a bucket of gravel - placed Brewer and Brown in the same cell.
Not too surprisingly, Brown "allegedly" beat the "living snot" out of Brewer, breaking his nose and giving him a black eye. Apparently the beating was so brutal, Brown also broke his right hand.
According to the story, the two men were placed in the same cell for about ten minutes. However, thanks to the quick thinking of the Arapahoe County deputies, the two men were separated . . . as soon as they realized a fight had broken out.
Deputy #1: Hey, what's that noise?
Deputy #2: Dunno. Sounds like a fight.
Deputy #1: I think you're right. Could you pass me a doughnut?
Deputy #2: Sure. Sprinkles or plain?
Deputy #1: Spr-- Wait a minute! did you say that sounded like a fight?
(Keystone Kops music plays in the background.)
To make matters worse, there was even a court order in Brewer's jail records prohibiting contact between the two men, but the deputies apparently missed it.
"It was an error on the part of one of our deputies," said Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson.
No, leaving the keys in the cell door and a running car outside is an error. This is just stupid.
Now before anyone tells me, "But anyone can make a mistake," let me say that everyone is allowed one mistake like this, no matter how galactically stupid it is.
But not two.
You see, in February of this year, a 16 year old girl was placed in the same cell with an alleged serial rapist by. . . who? You guessed it, the Arapahoe County Sheriff's deputies.
"Obviously, I'm very concerned," Robinson said. "Once again, we've had a case either of laziness or inattentiveness to duty."
Or we could be facing an epidemic of stupidity.
But it doesn't stop there. Let's hop "across the Pond" and consider Britain's Social Exclusion Unit, a group created by Prime Minister Tony Blair to reduce the number of "re-offenders" from Britain's prison system.
According to a July Reuters story, the SEU wants UK prisoners who are leaving jail to sign "going straight" contracts to -- get this -- STOP THEM FROM COMMITTING MORE CRIMES.
Their goal, according to Cabinet Office Minister Barbara Roche, is to ". . . reduce re-offending, because you get too many cases of prisoners coming out of prison having served the sentence and then going straight back and committing crime."
Let me make sure I understand this. The fact that an act is illegal is not a deterrent. The fact that they spent several years in prison for it is not a deterrent. But the fact that they've signed a piece of paper IS a deterrent?
British Prison Official: Okay, Clyde, you have to sign this contract that says you will never rob another bank, and that you promise to be good.
British Prisoner: $&%*@! I was planning on robbing a bank as soon as I got out of here, but now that I've signed this contract, I'll have to get an honest job instead.
Arapahoe County Sheriff's Deputy: Excuse me, are you going to finish that doughnut?
I'm sure there are many people have criticized the SEU's plan as being too naive and idealistic. They probably favor a more drastic method, like the one proposed by Roberto Calderoli, vice president of Italy's Senate. He believes all rapists should be physically, not chemically, castrated.
"Once upon a time one spoke of chemical castration, but personally I tend more toward simpler methods: scissors, and ones that are not necessarily sterilized," Calderoli told reporters.
In other words, the Italians would have their own version of a going straight contract, but they wouldn't use a pen to sign it.
While I don't propose that the American prison system adopts something so drastic and painful as the Italian proposal, or something so inane as the British proposal, maybe they can come up with a compromise.
Like dressing prisoners up as a doughnut, and putting them in a cell with Anna Nicole Smith.