A case in Delaware is raising an old philosophical debate: Is prison for punishing someone or getting them treatment?
Robert Richards IV is unemployed, but he’s doing OK, being the heir of the DuPont fortune and all.
He’s also a rapist who isn’t going to jail.
He raped his three-year-old daughter, but after his conviction, a Delaware judge refused to send him to prison, declaring it wouldn’t be good for him.
According to Delaware Online…
The fact that Jurden expressed concern that prison wasn’t right for Richards came as a surprise to defense lawyers and prosecutors who consider her a tough sentencing judge. Several noted that prison officials can put inmates in protective custody if they are worried about their safety, noting that child abusers are sometimes targeted by other inmates.
“It’s an extremely rare circumstance that prison serves the inmate well,” said Delaware Public Defender Brendan J. O’Neill, whose office represents defendants who cannot afford a lawyer. “Prison is to punish, to segregate the offender from society, and the notion that prison serves people well hasn’t proven to be true in most circumstances.”
O’Neill said he and his deputies have often argued that a defendant was too ill or frail for prison, but he has never seen a judge cite it as a “reason not to send someone to jail.”
“Sex offenders are the lowest of the low in prison,” the defense attorney said. “He’s a rich, white boy who is a wuss and a child perv. The prison can’t protect them, and Jan Jurden knows that reality. She is right on.”
He’ll attend a sex offender treatment program instead.