Friday, May 19, 2006


Should prisoners awaiting trial receive different treatment from those convicted of crimes? Sheriff Thomas Hodgson of Bristol County, Mass.,thinks not, but when I asked my readers, many disagreed. "The detainee should definitely be treated differently from a convicted felon," writes Don Hull of Costa Mesa, Calif. "Until you are convicted, you are not a criminal, so the sheriff is simply being an SOB to treat detainees as if they were criminals."

Tom Guzzetta of Mission Viejo, Calif., agrees. If a defendant has entered a plea of not guilty, Guzzetta argues, the defendant "has not lost any constitutional rights and should not be treated like he or she has."

But Gail Liles of Windsor, Ontario, believes that too often criminals manipulate the system so that they "have it made due to the time they spend `waiting' for trial."

The pretrial time spent in jail often counts toward a sentence if they're found guilty of a crime, she writes. She finds no justice in these "taps on the wrist," particularly for those found guilty of violent assault.

Check out other opinions or post your own at:

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of "The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business" (Spiro Press, 2003), is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of, a Web log focused on ethical issues.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to or to "The Right Thing," New York Times Syndicate, 609 Greenwich St., 6th floor, New York, N.Y. 10014-3610.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Individuals who are in jail or detention have the enjoyment of the rights guaranteed under the blanket of the U.S. Constitution. They have not been through the exhaustive journey of our complex legal system, and till they are found guilty either by a judge, or a jury of their peers, they should be treated differently. Since Sheriff Thomas Hodgson feels there should be no difference, in treatment, he represents what is wrong with a large number of those in law enforcement. I would like to see Mr. Seglin ask the question as a off shoot of this one; should the legal system allow an individual found innocent in a criminal case, then be allowed to be sued in a civil case, where the requirements for a conviction are much more lenient.

Todd M. Brklacich
Murray, Ut.