I just read this story about a 56-year old woman in Pennsylvania and her 35-year old daughter who were busted for stealing a Walmart gift card from a 9-year old who’d set the card down on a shelf as she was being helped by an employee. On her birthday.
To avoid jail time, the women agreed to a more unusual punishment: for 41 and a half hours, they will sit/stand in front of the courthouse holding a sign that reads “I stole from a 9-year old on her birthday. Don’t steal or this could happen to you!”
So I’m wondering: does the punishment fit the crime? My first reaction is to say yes. Jails are overcrowded. Public humiliation — and worse, online humiliation — that’s a pretty decent alternative. Now, if the women had been forced to twirl the sign, or pretend to air guitar with it, then I would have said too much.
What say you? Is it time to start finding more creative solutions to California’s crime problem?