Uh, what the??? Judge Mike Norman, from Muskogee, Oklahoma has decided on a different approach to sentencing criminals that come in his courtroom. Tyler Alred, 17, has taken a 10-year church sentence instead of prison for killing his friend and passenger, John Dum when he got in to an accident drunk driving. Included in his 10-year church sentence, he is also to graduate from high school and take alcohol and drug tests in order to defer this prison sentence. Dum’s family was actually happy to hear about this church sentence, since they believe that Tyler’s life should not be wasted in jail.
This is not the first time Judge Mike Norman has required a criminal to go to church as their sentence. He claims that he converts more people to the church than his pastor does. But really the question is, should he be? Isn’t our country run on the basis that we are a secular nation? Church and State should be separate then and should not play so highly in our court system. What if he sentenced a criminal to go to church and that criminal was an Atheist? Why should that criminal be subjected to a sentence that he has chosen not to believe in, and then would he just go to jail because he does not believe in a God? Judge Mike Norman has no right to make these decisions for people, although he has a good heart and wants the best for Tyler, why should his sentence be any different from another 17 year old’s sentence?
I do understand what Judge Mike Norman was trying to do. Tyler should not spend his life in prison for a crime he committed when he was 17, young, and naive. His courtroom methods towards prison sentencing are actually much more progressive than what we are used to seeing, even though it does involve the church. Maybe we will start to see a change in our penal system for the better.