After 18 years of torture, misery, and complete ostracization from society, 30 years old Jaycee Dugard escaped to freedom from the hands of the monster who made her middle school years, her high school years, and her early adult life a living hell. She managed to see freedom after a succession of law enforcement, parole agents, and the entire state prison and correction system failed her. Her’s is a very sad and unfortunate story. To rectify their wrongdoing, California has agreed to pay Jaycee a hefty amount of $20 million dollars. That is an astounding amount, given that the state is in financial crisis. They are laying off anyone from teachers, police officers, and nurses. Yet, such amount of money is to be paid.
Don’t get me wrong. Jaycee deserves all the happiness she can get after 18 years of misery. I’m just wondering what the $20 million dollars will do to heal her wounds. Will $20 million rewind the clock and take her to her first middle school dance? Will it take her to her first homecoming? Will it take her to her prom and introduce her to her first boyfriend? Will it allow her to go to college, or learn a career field that will lead her to challenges yet adventurous life experiences? Will it allow her to freely choose the man to father her babies? By approving this payment, the California Legislature is essentially openning a can of warm.
There are so many people who had erroneously gone to prison for crimes they did not commit. How will the state rectify those people’s situations? God forbid, but if something like this is to happen again, will the state follow suit and pay the victim this sort of hefty amount? It is clear that they want to avoid a potentially long court trial, where a jury could grant even a larger amount and where its dirty laundry could be aired out. Still, the amount is a big deal given that many people who have had their lives ruined by incompetent state employees never got a dime for their heartache and pain.
Whether this money gives solace to Jaycee and her family is a question they alone can answer. Beyond the giant settlement, I hope the prison and correction system gets a much needed improvement. Somebody needs to keep watch on those people who are putting in so much over-time for apparent poor work habit! How is it that classroom teachers, who for the most part work hard to train successive generation s of citizens, are constantly under the microscope, while pedophilias like Philip Garrido are let loose to move freely in society? That’s outrageous!
We need to evaluate our whole system. Somewhere in the system, people have not been doing their jobs. These people need to be replaced with those who are willing and able to perform. There are plenty of unemployed people who are hard-working and can do better than the fat cats that let Philip Garrido take 18 years away from Jaycee. This should not happen again.