North Texas Daily

‘Affluenza’ teen Ethan Couch gets a timeout

‘Affluenza’ teen Ethan Couch gets a timeout

April 14
00:18 2016

The Editorial Board 

Four consecutive 180-day sentences, one for each person killed by then-16-year-old Ethan Couch, was the sentence levied against the infamous rich kid Wednesday.

Having turned 19 on Monday, Couch will spend a tentative two years behind bars at Tarrant County Jail after having violated the terms of his original sentence —10 years of probation — and then fleeing to Mexico. He and his mother dodged authorities for several weeks before being extradited to the United States.

Interestingly enough, Couch will be 21-years-old upon his release, which is the legal drinking age in the U.S. Though this is five years older than when he got behind the wheel of his parent’s car —a full three times above the legal drinking limit for of-age adults, mind you — and needlessly ended the lives of four people, those of us at North Texas Daily are skeptical regarding the scope of his remorse or redemption.

Although jail is meant to rehabilitate those who check-in for an extended stay, it can’t be forgotten this is the same individual who had the audacity to plead ‘affluenza’ —  privilege so great it cripples the individual and their personal development — when charged with manslaughter. The same person, who after an unbelievably generous sentence of probation, fled to Mexico when pictures surfaced of him at a party drinking alcohol and playing beer pong.

Are we truly expected to believe two years time behind bars is going to change anything about this kid? Whatever happens to his parents, he will quite likely still be rich when he gets out of jail, and there is no way to gauge what his first move beyond the clink will be.

Notwithstanding is the fact that, according to the the National Institute for Justice, within five years about three-quarters of released prisoners are rearrested. Of those, more than half were arrested by the end of their first year after release. So, before even considering the individual case of Couch, statistics themselves suggest he is likely to commit another crime beyond his sentence.

This two-year stint in jail is comparative to what most drug peddlers get for their first offense via mandatory minimums. Who would you rather have back on the street — an arguably remorseless young man, likely to get behind the wheel of a car again after drinking to uncertain results, or a weed-slinger pushing his product a gram at a time?

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