Examining Prison Sentencing Fairness

By: Meghan Dwyer
By: Meghan Dwyer

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- While getting out of jail might be a concern for some--others are just worried about fair sentences especially when it comes to driving drunk.

You may remember the case of Justin Bartlett-- a man who got sentenced this summer to 15 years in prison for killing a man he hit with his car. That sentence came down just a day before Jennifer Bland's. She was the Durand Teacher who was convicted of molesting young boys at Durand High School. When Bland got thirty years behind bars people wondered why Bartlett had only gotten fifteen for killing a man. The state's attorney says the court's hands were tied.

Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato said, "What most people don't understand is that aggravated DUI the maximum sentence is 14 years."

State Representative Jim Sacia told 23 News DUI penalties will most likely be discussed at some point in the upcoming legislative session.

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  • by Dave Location: Rockford on Oct 6, 2011 at 07:51 AM
    I will wait for all of those who want to pile on. I think the DUI laws in this state a ridiculous. The sentencing from one person to another is not consistent. Someones financial or political horse power proves that when they get preferential treatment. There are those that have a license after 8 DUI charges because they just did not happen to kill someone. I know. I have one of those in my family. He should no longer have a license. He is just one example of a system that waits for you to kill someone while drunk driving. First offenses are way to harsh and in many instances cost a person their job while slapping them with thousands of dollars in debt. Now how much sense does that make? The hands are tied is a lie, lie. lie. Thats what states attorneys do. If hands are tied then those with big $$$$ would be treated the same way in a court room. So lie to the dumb, trick the easy but don't try to put that in front of educated people. We know better.
  • by Diane Location: Loves Park on Oct 5, 2011 at 07:35 PM
    It is very sad that both of these individuals needed mental health services, and now the governor wants to close Singer MHC. Is Rockford prepared to have more people in our community, without proper services, walking our streets. The governor needs to review/revise the mental health code and work on making this state a safe place to live. Jennifer Bland's sentence is obsurd, 30 years is extreme compared to Justin's sentence. Prevention is the key here and one can never guess the crimes that were prevented due to the services provided by Singer. Early intervention and education is the key to this prevention.
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