Shermain Miles, 51, has been arrested an astonishing number of times -- 396 in the past 35 years under 83 aliases. Recently, she's served time in prison for armed robbery, and she's been arrested for everything from trespassing to public drinking to allegedly attacking a city government official.
Among her other arrests: 92 times for theft, 65 times for disorderly conduct, 59 times for prostitution-related crimes, and five times for robbery or attempted robbery. In most cases she was arrested but released without any conviction.
You'd think after all of that, when she went before a judge earlier this week for an alleged probation violation that she'd be facing life behind bars, right? Not so, according the Chicago Sun-Times. Instead, this week a judge offered something much more fitting.
Judge Peggy Chiampas offered her another chance, via a plea deal that will send her to a mental health and substance abuse treatment center. She told her:
All of us are reaching out to you and offering you, maybe for the first time in your life, a hand, OK? But you’ve got to reach out and grab all of our hands as well.
Miles thanked her, and will hopefully take the judge's advice. While many are appalled at what's viewed as leniency, I think it was the right call. I generally believe in people being made to do time for the crimes they commit, but when someone has this many arrests stacked up against them, there's clearly a problem. An argument could certainly be made that she's just been working the system, which may be true, but it doesn't mean she doesn't deserve help. And why continue to waste money keeping her incarcerated when it doesn't seem to be helping?
If after all of this there's a 397th arrest, then by all means she should go back behind bars. But I'm hopeful that this judge's compassionate ruling will do more to help Miles than time behind bars ever could.
What do you think of this judge's ruling?
Image via Illinois Department of Corrections