Those of you who’ve taken Sociology of Punishment & Corrections from me may remember a documentary entitled “What I Want My Words To Do To You.” It was a story about a women’s writing group in a maximum security prison (Bedford Hills) in New York State. Click HERE to watch the movie trailer.

One of the women in this documentary was Judith Clark who was sentenced to 75 years to Life for Murder (click HERE for more info). Judith was paroled this week after doing 40 years. I’m wondering if you believe 40 years was enough time for her crimes committed (be sure to read the article about her case)

7 Comments on How much is enough?

  1. I have struggled with this discussion post for about 12 hours…Part of me believes that the term”domestic terrorist” has evolved since Clark’s act; another part of me believes in “truth in sentencing”. Is 40 years of a 75 year sentence enough? Is she rehabilitated? Does she pose a threat to society? Did the parole board adequately review her mental health status and threat level? I truly am convicted by my answer. At this moment, I believe 40 years was enough time.

  2. It seems like Judith Clark is a successful story of how one’s life can turn around for the better. She has publicly apologized, attained education while in prison, mentored other inmates and has been active in support of good causes. While it is understandable to think the seriousness of the crimes outweigh her recent behavior, and we will never truly know what goes in her mind, all evidence suggests that she does not currently pose a threat and is not the same person she once was. Therefore, 40 years seems reasonable.

  3. I was struggling with how I wanted to approach this post for a while now… I didn’t fully know how I felt about this. When I first read the post I thought to myself, no way should this woman only have to serve (basically) half of her sentence… But then I thought more about it and I read that Wikipedia article about her. She was unarmed and was driving the getaway vehicle… Yes, she did participate in the murders and she should be punished somehow but I don’t know if 75 years to life was the way to go. But then, on the other hand I think if someone I knew was murdered in this robbery. I think of how mad I would be at everyone that was involved… But that is selfish of me, we need to have the same punishments across the board not just the cases close to us. So I am very indifferent with this whole case…

  4. Reading more on the case I see that her counterpart Kathy Boudin was only served 22 years in prison and she had a very active role in the killing of the police officer. As the getaway driver (yes, she did reach for a weapon when she was pulled over) I cannot see how Judith was sentenced to 75 years while Kathy, also convicted for felony murder, was only sentenced to 20 years to life and got out in 22….I understand that there were plea deals and what not but that is a HUGE difference in years.
    I also am confused by the use of “domestic terrorists” in their bios…
    Anyway, I think based on her time in prison, good behavior, and the fact that she has spent twice as much time as her active female co-conspirator I think 40 years is plenty enough.

  5. My initial thought was that 40 years was too long for being a getaway driver. I was surprised that she was convicted of felony murder when she didn’t actually pull the trigger. My opinion changed the further I down the Wikipedia page I read. Judith Clark may not have pulled the trigger but she has, for a lack of better words, “gone against the grain”, since the age of 14 when she became an activist in the Civil Rights Movement. This appears to be the beginning of a long history of criminal acts leading up to the Brinks robbery and I think she started displaying antisocial cognitions at the age of 14. Wikipedia states that at the end of the police chase, Judith, did reach for a loaded weapon and given her history, she may have used it if she hadn’t been arrested. Taking all this into consideration, I think 40 years was enough and not too much.

  6. What a difficult case. I too struggled with figuring out how come she was sentenced to three counts of felony murder when she never fired a gun. I looked deeper into the case and it seems like she and two men got the harshest sentences. Yes, I understand she drove a getaway car, she knew what was going on, participated in all of this, but one of the robbers walked up to the dead officer and fired several shots to ensure death. How is that worth the same sentence? I know it sounds like she had it coming (previous encounters with the cops, some jail time, activism, acting out in the courtroom…), but still. I just listened to an episode of a podcast where a male was about to anally penetrate a nine-year-old when her dad walked in, has had another “touching” encounter with her before, his computers were full of child pornography and incest and he got 36 years. I understand that no one died in this case, but where do we draw the “monster” lines? Ugh. I get so frustrated with sentencing in this country. Anyway, according to the wiki article, Clark is indeed that rare case of rehabilitation and doesn’t seem like a lady who’s going to walk out a sit in another getaway car. I think 40 years has been enough time to think about her actions.

  7. I feel like a 40 year sentence was reasonable for the crime she committed. Even though she was involved in the killing of a police officer when she was committing the crime. Although she did not directly kill anymore she was apart of the crime. I did read in the wikipedia page that she could of gotten 75 years to life she was given clemency I feel like this was done because like I stated, she didn’t directly cause harm, she helped. So 40 years sounded reasonable to be.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *