The Heir, the Judge and the Homeless Mom: America's Prison Bias for the 1%
A DuPont trust-fund creep gets probation. A black woman looking for a job cries in jail for a week. Something's wrong here
In 2009, when Robert H Richard IV, an unemployed heir to the DuPont family fortune, pled guilty to fourth-degree rape of his three-year-old daughter, a judge spared him a justifiable sentence – indeed, only put Richard on probation – because she figured this 1-percenter would "not fare well" in a prison setting.
Details of the case were kept quiet until just the other day, as Richard’s ex-wife filed a new lawsuit accusing him of also sexually abusing their son. Since then, the original verdict has been fueling some angry speculation – shock, horror - that the defendant's wealth and status may have played a role in his lenient sentencing.
I hate to shatter anyone's illusions, but inequality defines our criminal justice system just as it defines our society. It always has and it always will until we do something about it, beyond just getting upset at local news stories.
America incarcerates more people than any other country on the planet, with over 2m currently in prison and more than 7m under some form of correctional supervision. The people who make up this outsize correctional population do not typically come from the Delaware trust-fund-creep demographic: more than 60% are racial and ethnic minorities, and the vast majority are poor.
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