Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Class, race and education have no bearing on sentence

To the editor:

I read with interest the story “Hatfield woman gets jail time for $200,000 fraud,” in which the presiding judge says it was difficult to impose the sentence of two years in jail because the defendant “appeared to be well-educated.” (She will serve 90 days and be on probation.) The fact she is a college graduate plays a part in whether or not she should serve a jail sentence? If she hadn’t been privileged enough to get a college degree and was an eighth-grade graduate or a high school graduate, would her life be less valuable?

This being said, I am appalled at the rate in which we incarcerate people in the U.S. African-Americans are incarcerated at six times the rate of whites and Hispanics are incarcerated at double the rate of whites.

We all need to be aware of our preconceived ideas about other human beings. I make a special plea to those who are in position of authority and have the power to make life-altering decisions in another’s life to be mindful and thoughtful of issues of class and race.

Karen Bivona

Northampton

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