Editor’s note: picking the prison of your choice isn’t a punishment
On Sept. 18, actress Lori Loughlin —known for her roles in Full Houseand the college admissions scandal —was sentenced to two months in the prison of her choice.
The actress and her husband Mossimo Giannulli were involved in a scheme to facilitate cheating on standardized tests and bribing college coaches to give her two daughters an advantage in the college admissions process.
This scheme was run by William “Rick” Singer, who pleaded guilty. Felicity Huffmann, most known for her role in Desperate Housewives, is another notable celebrity who was found trying to scam the college admissions board.
Loughlin was among those who paid a higher fee to Singer to help their children — they have been accused of paying $500,000 to Singer to have their daughters pose as USC athletes, while Huffman was accused of paying $15,000.
However, while Singer and Huffman plead guilty, Loughlin and her husband initially tried to fight the charges.
In exchange for Huffman’s plea, prosecutors recommended incarceration at the low end of the sentencing range. She was sentenced to 14 days in prison last September, although she was ultimately released a few days early.
In May, Loughlin and Giannulli changed their course and decided to plead guilty.
Now, Loughlin must serve two months in federal prison, perform 100 hours of community service and must pay a fine of $150,000.
Her husband is sentenced to five months in prison, 250 hours of community service and must pay a $250,000 fine.
First, it doesn’t seem like a total $400 000 fine would be much of a punishment for a couple who was willing to drop half a million for their daughters to get into college, but I digress.
Regardless, the biggest shock is that Loughlin will be granted to serve her sentence at the prison of her choice.
This has caused conversation among many, with notable celebrities such as LeBron James and Viola Davis weighing in as well.
Since the beginning of the scandal, Loughlin’s case has been compared to those who have committed lesser crimes whilst receiving harsher punishment.
One example of this is Kelly Williams-Bolar, who served nine days in jail after she was found guilty of using her father’s address instead of her own in an attempt to enroll her daughters in a better school district than the one they were supposed to be enrolled in.
Another example, which has been used heavily in juxtaposition with the college admissions scandal, is of Tanya McDowell who was sentenced to serve five years in prison for falsifying her residence to change her child’s school district.
Although these cases involve different criminal charges, different circumstances and different criminal jurisdictions, many have drawn the comparison in order to highlight the preferential treatment towards celebrities who commit crimes.
With all things considered, it’s clear that Lori Loughlin’s punishment is very lenient and isn’t much of a punishment at all.
However, as easy as it is to blame Loughlin for her privilege, perhaps some of the blame should be placed on the judge as well.
Her character has been revealed with her crime, but the judges who gave her the light sentence should also be criticized for enabling these behaviours in those of upper-class.
Preferential treatment should be entirely unacceptable in criminal cases, even if celebrities are the ones in the hot seat.
Negotiating punishment is something you can do with kids who may not know right from wrong. It’s not something you can do with celebrities who consciously broke the law.
If anything, this case has further revealed the corruption in celebrity culture, as well as the criminal justice system.