I was impressed with the well written Features piece in the Roswell, NM newspaper today. It described the Alternative Sentencing Program & Educational Network(ASPEN) program which begin in Roswell,NM in 2002. It has prevented approximately 40,000 New Mexicans from being incarcerated. ASPEN was created by Magistrate Judge K.C. Rogers, when he was a state police officer, with the competent assistance of Dusty Peterson and Kevin Boyd(former under cover narcotics officers). The central tenet of ASPEN is we all deserve a second chance. Long time Sheriff Rob Coon is an advocate of the crime fighting, change one’s behavior program.
I want to comment on the good spirit and intentions of the features column in today’s RDR. Trying to help petty criminals find the upright path is obviously a noble cause. The HUGE question here is where do we draw the line between petty offenses and serious threat to society transgressions?
In particular, do you all remember the juvenile high powered BB gun shooting spree than happened all along Main Street and in the Roswall Mall? A group of under age brothers, with the youngest driving the crime spree vehicle, did thousands of dollars of damage shooting out car windows and various other types of property damage. Their names were never printed in newspaper and they probably were bragging about it in school the next day. Some property owners had to pay out of pocket(below insurance deductible) for damages done by these unaccountable kids.
Do these young criminals deserve a chance in the ASPEN program? I welcome honest repsonses.