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Time off for bad behavior?

The Augusta Chronicle Jammie West did what they say he did — purposely douse his daughter with gasoline and light her on fire — then it says as much about the state of Georgia as it does him. The 38-year-old with multiple arrests for violent crimes on his record was paroled last August after serving just 16 years of a 55-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter and cocaine possession. He had been indicted for a 1990 shooting and a 1992 shooting. Georgia likes to look tough on crime, with long up-front prison terms. But what does a 55-year sentence mean if it’s really 16 years? Oh, yeah. We forgot. Good behavior. Sounds just like Jammie West. West is accused of severely burning his 20-year-old daughter Bianca West on Sunday, who was hospitalized early this week in critical condition at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital. West was in hiding until surrendering Tuesday. Let’s be clear about this — a whole lot clearer than Georgia’s sentencing laws: If convicted, West should never set foot in an open space again. If he does, if our crack parole board just can’t resist letting him out for more good behavior down the road, then Georgia should just pack it up. Close the state, take down the signs and agree to be annexed by another state with more sense. Or we could just end parole, period, like other states have done. Life is cheap enough on the streets. It doesn’t have to come at an even greater discount in our courthouses.

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