News – No Jail, But Plenty of Pizza

Found guilty of tax-fraud to the tune of $104,000, a Buffalo, New York pizzeria owner found himself in front of a judge who could’ve very easily sentenced him to jail time.  But, instead of putting another body behind bars, the judge decided to go another route.  The defendant and pizzeria owner, Joseph Jacobi was sentenced to one year of providing twelve sheet pizzas to the city mission once a week to feed the homeless and less fortunate. 

Joshua Demps, an employee of the mission, was thrilled to receive the pizzas. “Whatever meal they had planned on cooking for the day, it’s canceled,” he said. “We’ve got pizza today and everyone’s got a smile on their face, so they just love it.”

The judge left the issue of toppings in Jacobi’s hands.

This is a fantastic sentencing.  The man was guilty of tax fraud, essentially a crime against the greater public since his taxes go towards things like schools, road maintenance, and important state-run programs.  His sentence is perfectly appropriate; he took away from the public, and now he has to give back.  Instead of sitting behind bars for his crimes–something that would cost the New York state tax payers even more money–he has to put his skills to good use and help those who are less fortunate by providing them with food once a week.

It’s refreshing to see a judge thinking outside of the box and forcing a non-violent criminal to use his talents to benefit the public rather than blatantly waste them by sentencing him to jail time.  A creative justice system, one that adapts to the needs of the people, is always a good thing.  Judges that separate themselves from the normal grind are unfortunately in short order, though, as I’m sure that there are many talented, non-violent criminals who could do a lot of good and are sitting in prison right now.

What do you think?  Should more non-violent criminals receive sentences like this and be forced to give back to the public instead of going to jail?  Let me know in the reader’s forum.

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