Sunday, December 22, 2019

Parole Reform

I had one of those Coen brothers strange moments the other day listening to the radio when I heard a segment on parole reform in Minnesota.  Specifically, the movement to place a cap of five years on parole for any offence other than homicide and sexual crimes.

The reason? The current system is too arbitrary. How many months of probation someone receives for the same crime varies from judge to judge and district to district. For example, average probation is, "3.3 years in Hennepin County, but 5.9 years in Ramsey County".

So why did this give me a Coen brothers moment? Certainly not because I disagree that arbitrary parole lengths are unfair and need to be corrected.  What gave me a surreal sinking feeling is that parole reform is such a popular cause compared to alimony reform.  Very few seem concerned with the fact that alimony awards are several orders of magnitude more arbitrary that parole. Alimony can range from zero to life for the exact same situation. And the person paying not only didn't commit a crime but often, like in my case, is the victim of crime. There is no consistency whatsoever and unlike parole where a person simply needs to check in with a parole officer every once in a while, alimony requires that a person work for the benefit of another.

I have to pay a massive amount of money every month until the day I die to a person who left me, never used a dime of her income for the children, was not the primary parent during the marriage, is perfectly able to make as much money as me (as was determined the vocational evaluation), was not awarded custody of the children post-divorce and who clearly committed crimes against me. I can never retire no remarry as that that would risk my new wife having to pay alimony to my ex-wife should I become disabled. The insanity of it is mind boggling.

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