Plea deal leaves us with numerous questions

There has been a lot of discussion throughout the country over the past few decades regarding “The War on Drugs.”

Some argue that it is a useless endeavor that has resulted only in massive spending and overcrowded prisons, while drugs continue to plague our communities and bring violence with them. Others hear that and opine, “What are we supposed to do? Just roll over and do nothing?”

It’s a tricky conundrum, and one that doesn’t offer an easy solution. Do we crack down harder and prosecute drug offenders harsher and harsher? Or, do we switch the focus to rehabilitation and education?

Regardless of what side you fall on in this debate, we feel that most of us do share one common belief regarding our criminal justice system — if you cause harm to someone through your actions, or if your actions cause great danger to others, you should be held accountable. And, if that person affected by your actions happens to be someone who is incapable of protecting his or her self, that punishment should be amplified.

Usually, it is. But other times we are left scratching our heads.

We learned recently that a Selbyville woman reached a plea deal last week concerning her actions last October, when her 4-year-old daughter unknowingly brought heroin to her daycare in a backpack and began passing the bags out to her classmates, believing they were candy.

Thankfully, the staff at Hickory Tree Child Care Center quickly saw what was happening, alerted the proper authorities and police ended up confiscating 249 bags of heroin.

That’s 249 bags. Of heroin. At a daycare center.

According to terms of the woman’s deal, she was sentenced to one year of probation and substance abuse evaluation, and possible treatment. She also maintains custody of her three children, as part of the arrangement.

We know people make mistakes, and we are huge proponents of people making changes in their lives and moving upwards after making said mistakes. But we also believe that it’s hard to trust a criminal justice system that refuses to adequately punish someone who could have accidentally caused the worst tragedy this area has ever seen. Had it not been for a stellar response from the people at the daycare, lives could have been lost.

Young, innocent lives.

Obviously, we weren’t behind the scenes as this played out, and there could be good and justifiable reasons for the deal that we just don’t know. But it’s not a good look from the outside looking in, and that we do know.