Hand Of A Prisoner

In recent days, Kings and Queens of High-mindedness have lectured us.

Our offense? We had the temerity to oppose the automatic restoration of voting and certain other civil rights to lawfully convicted rapists, specifically, along with lawfully convicted violent criminals generally.

The lecturers tell us these individuals deserve to have voting and other lost civil rights automatically restored upon completing their sentences because they have “paid their debt” to society.

“Paid their debt?”

This politically correct rubbish mocks the victims of violent crime generally and specifically rape victims, 85 percent of whom are women.

These lecturers gloss over these and other inconvenient facts. They also purposely fail to point out the victims involved are disproportionately female and African American.

A rapist or other violent predator can return to his former life upon completing a lawfully imposed sentence. The victim cannot. The victim’s rights and safety have been fundamentally violated.

According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, rape victims are three times more likely to suffer from depression, four times more likely to contemplate suicide, six times more likely to suffer post-traumatic stress and 26 times more likely, on average, to later abuse drugs than people who have not been raped.

If someone you loved was raped or otherwise violently abused, would you believe the predator had paid this mythical “debt to society” by merely serving a sentence created by a negotiated plea in 95 percent of felony cases?

Of course not.

As Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes advised, modern criminal law separates us from the jungle. But it possesses no magical, debt-paying powers.

The sentence imposed by law is punishment the criminal risked, not a debt-settling equation.

The loss of voting and other civil rights is part of the sentence in terms of what the law requires.

So why are pro-women’s groups and advocates supporting the decision to grant restoration of civil rights to rapists and felons convicted for sex-related crimes, among other violent predators, advancing such a bogus explanation?

Why are pro-African American groups and advocates supporting this automatic restoration given the profile of these innocent victims?

The answer: Felons’ voting rights are “in.” Be there or be square.

Look at The Post’s own editorial board: It called restoration of the rights of lawfully convicted rapists, among other felons, a courageous action.

This move by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) insults and denigrates the plight of the traumatized women, many of modest means, who are the victims.

We suggest those who think the predator’s debt has been paid visit a rape victim’s center, a rape victim’s support group or simply talk to friends and colleagues.

The debt is never paid — not to society or the victim. We give a second chance not because of a debt having been paid, but because hatred begets hatred, vengeance begets vengeance. We reject an “eye for an eye” since it would leave us all blind. So we ask of those wronged to allow society to show mercy, to give people a second chance.

The logic is not a fictional payment of a debt. Rather, it is because the price of not showing mercy is believed to cost society more in the long run.

We ask much from victims and their loved ones. Society asks them to shoulder the debt — to accept forever what is manifestly unfair to them — for the greater good.

It is pure political correctness to think a violent predator should be able to demand anything from society, much less claim to have paid a debt. It is eminently fair, indeed just, to make them petition on a case-by-case for restoration of their rights.

In the name of all victims of rape and other violent crimes, we refuse to bow down before the gods of political correctness. Lawfully convicted violent abusers pay no debt by serving a lawfully imposed prison sentence. Paying a debt means repaying what you have taken from another.

These felons have repaid nothing by merely serving time in prison.

But we do believe in redemption.

A non-violent felon presents a different situation. Virginia law needed sensible reform in this area.

But claiming lawfully convicted violent felons such as rapists have moral and legal claim to the same rights as their victims — without any concern for the actual facts — is political correctness in its most oppressive form.