The Case of the Two Petty Burglars

Take the case of two petty burglars. Petty burglar one, pb 1, commits his burglary in 1995, and he steals $200 worth of property, gets caught, is charged with a first degree felony, and receives a sentence of 4-25 years. He goes to prison and makes major changes in his personal attitude, earns a college level degree, and has a spotless institutional record, and parole rolls around and the board says "Well, you have done very well in your institutional adjustment, and we are happy to see that. Keep up the good work and we'll see you again in two years." So, six years into his sentence, he comes up for parole again, and the board notices that he had a minor incident that happened just a few weeks ago, and he had to do some time in the "hole." "Well, you seem to have slipped a little here, and we can't see releasing you just yet...see you in another two years." So, by 2003, our felon has served nearly one-third of his maximum 25, and twice his minimum. The first year into petty burglar one's sentence, 1996, the season of merriment approaches, and petty burglar two, pb 2, is out roaming the streets, sort of like "Home Alone" inept burglars, and he steals all the goodies under the Smith's Xmas tree, totaling $500 and is caught. He is charged with a second degree felony, sentenced to the 7 years allowed, and goes off to prison where he meets our first petty burglar. Pb 1 is still behaving and trying to impress the parole board that he is reformed and no longer a threat to society. Pb 2 is inside scamming and jamming, fighting, and spending a lot of time in the "hole." He is so bad that he gets sent into admininstrative segregation, a place reserved for habitual troublemakers while they are in prison. Meanwhile, pb 1 is coming up for parole again, and in a tussle for his life, short to the board, he is charged with fighting, found guilty and placed in the disciplinary segregation unit. Again, the board turns him down. So, having received a 5 year continuance, pb 1 sallies forth to his cell and is accosted by yet another inmate. He has no desire to fight, but his safety and his life demand of him that he does. And, he is given yet more time in the "hole," and the days, weeks, months, slip by and he is released into general population again. With four more years to go before the board will deign to hear him again, so by 2007, our pb 1 has done nearly one-half his sentence and no end in sight. Where is pb 2 during all this time? Still in the ad seg? Oh no -- he was released after he maxxed out on his seven years. He spent most of his time in trouble, has only a GED, and he "walked" in 2003. He will probably walk in on another family Xmas and pb 1 may yet see pb 2 again...from inside the fence. In the year 2004.

Why FADS Exists

This scenario is the type of disparity in sentencing that FADS opposes as being unjust and irrational. What we have is two similarly situated felons who have widely differing punishment for crimes of similar impact on the community. The only difference is the time at which the different burgalaries occurred: one, the $200 first degree felony before the enactment of SB 2, and the other, the $500 second degree felony after the enactment of SB 2. OUR question to you is -- is this fair? Which burglar would you want released on your community -- the one classified as more dangerous under an old law, or the one that is truly dangerous? This scenario, unfortunately, is occurring across Ohio, because of the power of the parole board, the non-retrospective application of SB 2 guidelines, the lack of wide-spread protest from inmate families, the powerlessness of the inmates to affect any meaningful change, and the apathy of the public to the fact that huge amounts of money is being spent in tax-payer dollars to keep this unequal, unfair, and ineffective two tier sentencing structure afloat. We, the tax-paying families of the incarcerated, must begin to speak out, and you, the tax-paying members of communities at risk, must speak up.

We are FADS. We shall remain in force until the changes we seek are accomplished