An Ol' Broad's Ramblings
I must admit, when I saw this headline, I was quite happy to see that someone was finally taking notice of an epidemic that has plagued society for way too long!
Then, I read the content!
The state House of Representatives approved tougher penalties for domestic violence, including a minimum of 30 days in jail for second-time offenders.
30 days? SECOND TIME OFFENDERS? I’m speechless!
House Bill 2389, a measure put forward by Gov. Bill Haslam in January, passed the House Wednesday morning on a 98-1 vote. Lawmakers generally supported stricter punishments for domestic violence, and the only concerns raised about the bill dealt with the cost to local jails and that it did not require first-time offenders to receive counseling.
In my opinion, this bill doesn’t go near far enough, but there was one person who voted ‘nay’, Rep. Eddie Bass
D-Prospect, District 65. The answer as to why is below. The concern about cost to local jails is also a question…when does the life of a woman become more important than the cost to the jail? And why not charge the offender, you know, the guy that beats the crap out a woman, rent for his time spent in said jail? Why not give FIRST time offenders 30 days, and insist on ‘counseling’? Not that it does all the much good, because generally, those who abuse once, find it so easy to abuse again, and again! But there are a few who might realize they have a problem and actually WANT to deal with it. It is possible.
The measure mandates a minimum sentence of 30 days for second offenders and 90 days for people convicted three or more times. Along with shifting supervision of felons and tracking sales of prescription drugs and methamphetamine precursors, increasing penalties for domestic violence was a major element of the anti-crime package Haslam announced before the legislative session.
90 days. And what is the penalty for the person who ends up in the hospital? Or the morgue? 120 days? Are they serious? Have they never seen the damage, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally, that is done to victims in such crimes? It’s not just the woman, or in some cases, the man, who suffers long term damage. There are usually children involved, whether or not they receive abuse as well, there are scars that go deep, and only with a lot of help, will those scars start to heal. They never go away completely. And in many cases, the cycle continues with those who witnessed the crimes.
Supporters said tougher penalties are needed to combat Tennessee’s high rates of domestic violence. Tennessee ranks fifth in the nation in the rate by which women are murdered by men, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Violence Policy Center.
And do these supporters consider 30 or 90 days “tougher penalties”? I sure don’t! Do you know there is not one single shelter in this entire area for battered women? Nowhere for them to escape, and attempt to start a new life, with aid and guidance? NOTHING! I know, because I asked. Why? No, I’m not battered. Now. But I wanted to volunteer my time to help. Nothing! I wanted to start one, but I have no money, and evidently, there isn’t much interest in helping get one started. I didn’t know where to go to ask, but those I did speak to, said they’d check around, and then….nothing.
State Rep. Eddie Bass, D-Prospect, cast the sole vote against the measure. Bass presented an amendment before the vote that would have required the state to foot the full $5.8 million cost to incarcerate offenders longer in local jails.
As I said previously, charge the offender for the cost of housing their sorry asses.
His proposal was rejected. Supporters noted that they already had agreed to reduce the penalties from Haslam’s original proposal — 45 days for second offenders, 120 days after that — to save money.
While they’re ‘saving money’, how many women will be beaten to death? To say I’m more than disappointed in our legislators would be an understatement. Oh yes, I’m glad they realize their is a problem and have taken a few steps, but those steps do not go far enough. If I had my druthers, I’d vote for public flogging, in front of all the offender’s friends and family, co-workers, neighbors, and anyone he, or she, has come into contact with throughout their entire lives. After flogging, stocks and pillory. Then jail, which, of course, they would pay for themselves!
Abuse isn’t just physical. It’s also mental and emotional. Those scars run deep, and Tennessee just helped to make them deeper!