When someone is convicted of a crime, there are penalties that come with the conviction. Typically a judge will decide on an appropriate sentence, often taking into consideration other factors such as prior convictions and risk of reoffending.
For a 71-year-old Wisconsin man, his sentencing hearing was postponed until early May after the judge requested a risk assessment. Both the prosecutors and defense attorneys were asked by the judge to determine whether there were alternative penalties besides a prison sentence. The man had been convicted of several counts of sexual assault.
Apparently the judge is seeking ways to reduce costs for taxpayers because of the financial problems the state of Wisconsin is having. In this particular instance, the risk assessment will be one factor that the judge takes into account when deciding whether the man's sentence should include prison.
According to the article, the man admitted that he sexually assaulted students for many years. He had been a former bus driver and was arrested after police received a report that one of the riders had been assaulted.
And while some are concerned about the postponed sentencing hearing, the judge is considering whether the man will actually reoffend. If it is found that he is not likely to reoffend, it doesn't make sense to put him in prison. Instead, shouldn't his sentence be more focused on rehabilitation or some other form of punishment that more appropriately addresses this particular situation?
The attorneys involved in this case will be including their recommendations for sentencing along with the risk assessment. But until that point, it is not clear whether this man will be facing a prison sentence for his conviction.
Source: Post-Crescent online, "Sentencing delayed in sexual assault case of Delton Gorges," Jim Collar, 15 March 2011