While sitting here working on a Newtown Patch column, I've also been following the saga of Lindsay Lohan on the Today show.
Over the past months as Lindsay weaves her way in and out of courts and rehab centers, I've heard many people speak of her with great derision.
Phrases like "spoiled little rich girl", "pampered celebrity", "attention-loving prima donna" and more frequently come up in the conversation.
But I see something different. I see a very troubled young lady who has looks, money and talent destroying her life.
What rational explanation can there be for rich people who steal or exhibit addictive behaviors? In fact this applies to anyone, not just the rich, although I suppose a case could be made for a person who steals out of desperate need.
Lohan needs intensive treatment, not jail. More jail time will only satisfy those people who call for a punitive approach to changing behavior. It does not help the 'victim' who in this case also happens to be the person charged.
People who commit Lohan's kinds of offenses hurt no one but themselves. Obviously, in the case of the stolen necklace, restitution needs to be made but that would be financial restitution--not prison time.
Our system of Crime and Punishment and the penal system in general needs a thorough overhaul. But it won't happen.
Law and Order are hot button issues that politicians would be nuts to touch. So on and on it goes, our prisons fill up only to return the same unchanged criminals to the streets.