Removal of Persky will make things worse, not better

By Chandra Bozelko . . . Harassment and assault of women is a serious problem and we need to correct our culture to eliminate it. But the recall in Santa Clara County, California, of Aaron Persky, the judge who sentenced Brock Turner, isn’t the way to change things.

The Brock Turner debacle raised controversy in 2016 when the former Stanford student, convicted of three felony counts of sexual assault, was sentenced to six months in a county jail, followed by three years of probation. “Obviously, the prison sentence would have a severe impact on him,” Persky said when rejecting the state’s recommended sentence of six years in prison.

The backlash against Turner, and by extension, Persky, came mostly from women’s rights activists. It looked and sounded a lot like Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ renewed tough-on-crime agenda announced in 2017: calls for mandatory minimum sentences for sex-based crimes and a sustained effort to remove a judge for, of all things, showing leniency. As someone who was sentenced to 10 years of correctional control (both prison and probation) for nonviolent crimes, Turner’s was a sentence probably better suited for a defendant like me. Knowing that incarceration does little to rehabilitate people, I don’t think Turner or society would have benefited from his spending any more time behind bars other than what Persky ordered.

Removing a judge who’s known for independence and mercy — however misapplied you think that mercy was — only strengthens the prison industrial complex. In order to find easier ways of putting men in prison, including new judges who will sentence convicted sex offenders in prison for long terms, the campaign to stop rape — at least how it’s manifested with the Persky recall — is starting to side more with police and prosecutorial power than women’s rights. Thinking the police and punishment will guide people away from sexual violence is actually not new. Consider that the Violence Against Women Act was actually part of our country’s toughest crime bill in 1994. The concept even has a name; it’s called “carceral feminism” and the #metoo movement has resurrected discussion of it.

This strategy has so backfired that it has resulted in female victims’ being incarcerated during the prosecution of rape cases because the prosecution — and impending punishment — was more important than the victim.

Consider these examples. In 2016, a woman diagnosed with bipolar disorder broke down on the stand as she testified at the Houston trial of the man who raped her. She was the second rape victim the authorities incarcerated in Houston to assure that she appeared at trial.

Read the full piece at CNN

Chandra Bozelko served more than six years at York Correctional Institution. She was the first inmate to write a regular newspaper column from behind bars and her blog “Prison Diaries” has received Webby Awards and recognition from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Since her release, her work has appeared in the New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post, and elsewhere.
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    • #42784 Reply


      Thanks for posting this. Very good article that has topics which were shared pre-election by others and need to be reiterated post-election because they were not heeded prior to votes being cast. This is a sad event in our democracy IMO.

    • #42785 Reply


      I have to admire NARSOL or any orgazination that supports change. Listening to Andy and Larry’s latest podcast about LEO’s and judges was even interesting as some chimed in with views that they didn’t have a good short message to spell out to the public on this sex offender issue thats facing the nation in more ways than one. Sure there’s others issues as well. Is it all about human behavior or change in one’s make-up or character, or I am what I am, or the Flip Wilson phrase, “the devil made me do it”. Should we all say “I am not a monster” or should we all say people make mistakes in human encounters and human errors is in every one of us. I wonder what they would call America’s Sprit of truth today or did Nathan Hale say give me liberty or give me death.

      Where is moral ethics today or for that matter human ethics in a society that seem to go in one directrion and others seem to go in the other. I wonder if stoping a volcano is for public safety or a human nature. Is it a progranda idea or the battle for the races, a cultural move, or human understanding methods gone amuck. Are we still spying on our neighbors instead of loving our neighbors or are we really protecting some because we are all on a human scavenger hunt. I know some say “witch hunt” on here.

      I’ve never met any of NARSOL but the idea of this orgazination is very good in these issues we all face and change leads to all change in all endavors of human behavior. I never met the cast of “Gillian’s Island” but that was a scripted cultural change but the show also tells us about ourselves as humans. Sure we all laughed at that show and sure people some had the hots for Ginger (even Ginger sways the skipper) and all the time the skipper was trying to make sense of all of this doing the best each one could on a deserted island. We all have our gripes with this women’s lib and this sex offender issue even this immigration thing but coming together is whats best to keep a nation or world alive. Actually the show show’s us something about ourselves if one really looks in the mirror.

    • #42831 Reply


      Seems everybody wants to put the blame on someone else today. I wonder were this sex registry issue came from or this woman’s lib movement. We all could go way back when but we don’t want to do that. Maybe we could start with Helen Gurly Brown and move our way forward. Now a lot of women are going to be upset with this comment but so be it truth is truth in a lot of this registry ordeal.
      Sure one can understand the outcry of those women libers Should we understand the outcry of the blacks or any other group coming to America. This was a frat party but the principals are there for anyone to absorb and understand in this (politically correct) America today? I’m sure we all have questions on that one also. Now there are those wanting to oust this judge, but can one really understand principals or true justice or true human rights, wisdom or true color. Now when someone is getting overboard drunk and passing out something is wrong in one’s behavior or even the host for letting her even get that drunk to walk home.
      She was not in control of herself. Even that person should of had some scruples for herself for getting so drunk in a “public” setting of passing out. Now this Judge was fair, some might not agree with the sentence practice but we have both parties that were not responsible for his or her actions. I can’t even make a judgement of who’s hormones were raging during the encounter. Sure we want to enforce our laws but laws do have morals, principals that governments tend to overlook with their human authority at times.
      It seems now women want to get this perticular Judge off the bench. Did the victim overstep her boundries or did turner overstep his? Where were all of those in personal moments during this emotional encounter, were they principally based or based on others encounter to this event that was going on. Should we say he shouldn’t of gotten drunk or he shouldn’t of had raging hormones and just should of went and read a playboy magazine. I think someone said it takes two to tango. I wonder if that was at a frat party.

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