Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Federal Inmate Martha Stewart

It was reported today that Martha Stewart may be going to the federal women's correctional facility at Alderson, West Virginia (my sister's home state).  The minimum security prison has been nicknamed "camp cupcake" due to its laxity and lenience.  Inmates typically perform light duty yard work, or sometimes knit items for charity.  One can only imagine how much a hand-knit sweater by Martha Stewart would fetch in an auction on e-Bay, especially one knitted while in the pokey.

Isn't it all just too ridiculous?

In English Common Law, there were two categories of crime: felonies and misdemeanors.  Felonies always carried the ultimate penalty--execution.  Misdemeanors were lesser crimes that usually carried a prison sentence.  Most of the felonies we now know as felonies, once were punished by death.  Nowadays, people are sent to Camp Cupcake.  Is it a better world for that?  Probably.  I recently read a figure that there are over 4,000 federal crimes that could earn you prison time.  It's getting harder and harder to avoid committing one or more of them, especially when you don't know what most of them really are.

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