Earlier today Judge Jerry Baxter reduced sentences for the three Atlanta Public School convicted administrators that he gave the longest prison sentences. Originally, Tamara Cotman, Sharon Davis-Williams andand Michael Pitts were convicted of racketeering each given a 20 year prison sentence to serve seven years, 13 years probation and a 25,000 fine two weeks ago.
With national attention, local outrage, local protests, and a huge media frenzy with various education and legal experts theorizing why the sentences were so harsh for these non-violent, first time offenders; Judge Baxter held aa revised sentencing hearing today. The new sentences for each of the three administrators is a ten year sentence to serve three, seven years probation, 2,000 hours of community service, and a $10,000 fine.
As many in the packed Fulton County courtroom sat anxiously waiting for the new sentences, Judge Baxter seem to ramble along during his remarks mentioning he thought a lot after the original sentencing. And, kept thinking that something was wrong with the original sentences and decided to re-sentence the three and give a fairer punishment.
I still believe the punishment should have not wasted tax payer money with actual prison time. These jails are so over crowded that there often is not enough room for violent offenders to the point that there is an early release program in place. Instead of actual jail time, Baxter could have sentenced all eleven defendants who went to trial two to five years of teaching reading, writing and math to prison inmates.
With 70% or more of inmates who do not read, that would be a more appropriate punishment that actually fit the crime/conviction with no fine. Some, if not all of the APS teachers and administrators accused in this cheating scandal have already been ruined financially, lost their homes, their right to vote, and may even lose their pensions. Why pour salt in the financial wound? What purpose does it serve?
What do you think would be the most appropriate punishment and why?