Every week (and sometimes it seems like every day) the newspapers report on sentences that they suggest are too lenient. Often they quote victims who feel that the enormity of the crime is not sufficiently reflected in the sentence. But one wonders at what point victims would feel that justice had been done. One hears – he will come out after 10 (or 20 or 30) years, but I have lost my daughter for ever. But could any length of prison sentence vindicate their suffering and loss?
If we feel that the length of sentence is the only or the best way to do justice to the victim and offender, then we are likely to be dissatisfied and hurt by almost any sentence. We need to find other and better ways of honouring victims that do not rest upon the weight of the punishment.
Nathan Filer writes ‘… some things are too big. Any punishment is an insult to the crime.’ Nathan Filer (2013) The Shock of the Fall, London: Harper Collins: 260