Mom Who Starved Baby to Death Served Only 7 Months

Julie Ryan Evans
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Jolene ValenciaWhat price should a woman pay for taking the life of her child?

What's enough punishment for refusing to provide food and nourishment to a tiny baby she brought into the world, who relied on her for the basic necessities of life?

In the case of Jolene Valencia, the court said seven months.

Just seven months for allowing her son to suffer for the eight short weeks of his life until his frail little body couldn't fight for life any longer, and he died. He weighed only 5 pounds at the time -- a pound less than when he was born.

Valencia was originally sentenced to 20 years for the crime, which occurred in 2004. But after just seven short months, she was released earlier this year due to "good behavior and state parole guidelines," according to the Houston Chronicle.

Just seven months.

Besides probation, she's free, free to live her life.

She has three other children, who are in custody of Child Protective Services -- one of whom she had after she killed her son (she was on the lam for awhile after serving some initial jail time and the children's father still is on the run).

I understand how prisons get crowded and sentences get reduced, but I'll never understand how such a small nod can be given to such a grave crime -- how this little boy's life meant no more than that.

The fact that she is walking free is appalling, but even more frightening is the fact that she's free to bring more lives into the world -- more lives she could hurt, abuse, or end again.

How can we, as a society, allow that to happen?

Forced sterilization is a major issue in China, where it's used for population control, and the United States has its own murky history of them. There are millions of ethical and moral concerns when you talk about surgically altering a woman's right to bear children, and I'm not advocating it ... but it's a tempting thought in cases like this.

What options are there other than allowing her to walk and do more damage? A SCRAM bracelet for sexual activity? Mandatory birth control shots? Something? Anything?

Because seven months in prison and the right to bear more children just isn't enough.

What price do you think parents should pay for taking the lives of their children?


Image via Houston Chronicle


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