MANSFIELD: System Failure

Aisha Fraser

If the criminal justice system had worked in a proper and protective manner, Aisha Fraser would still be alive today. That’s because the monster that killed her, Lance Mason, would still be incarcerated. In no way should he have only served nine months (even if he were a sitting judge), given the viciousness of his attack against his wife back in 2014.

And there’s a sick cultural component also: Throughout history, it has been an accepted practice in many places around the world that men can beat their “property,” which is what wives are still considered in many backward countries around the globe. And our domestic violence laws in this country often prove woefully inadequate, as in the tragic case at hand.

But imagine the sentence Mason would have received if he had beaten a total stranger as severely as he beat his wife back then. Now imagine if the women had been blonde-haired and blue-eyed. So, in America, it’s more about whom the violence is perpetrated upon than the act of violence itself — or even who perpetrates it, especially if they are politically connected.

But crimes committed by control freaks like Mason, who turn violent when their “property” says “no” to them, are totally different than, say, a crime committed by someone to make money. Give the drug dealer a job once he exits prison and he’ll most likely be reformed since he has a source of income. But case after case has shown us how difficult it is to reform a violent, possessive individual hellbent on controlling another human being. Nine months certainly isn’t enough time to alter anyone’s thinking, no matter how many anger management classes they attend behind bars.

So, while I’ve stated on more than one occasion that prison sentences in this country are far too long, that’s not the case with crimes of so-called “passion.” Since it takes much longer for obsessive individuals to let go and therefore no longer pose a danger, prosecutors and judges, who know this well, should act accordingly at sentencing time no matter the community pressure to do otherwise. The criminal justice system has blood on its hands in the death of Aisha Fraser.

Mason’s vile act also provided an opening for those opposed to treating citizens returning home from prison with dignity to speak out. Many have seized on the fact Mason was given a job by the City of Cleveland upon exiting prison to raise a hue and cry. But it was a job he actually was overqualified for.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but perhaps the mayor should have used his clout to get Mason a less high profile job with a contractor, instead of making him the director of minority business development. One had to wonder how uncomfortable the women working in proximity to Mason inside City Hall must have felt.

But, with that said, I applaud Mayor Jackson for sticking to his guns and stating that while he is horrified by Mason’s crime and has sympathy for Fraser’s daughters, he will stand by his policy of offering second chances to those citizens who have demonstrated a sincere desire to turn their lives around.

Of course, the city is careful where they place former prisoners (for instance, an embezzler is not going to be hired in the finance department), but to allow the act of a monster to derail a program that has done so much good for the citizenry would only compound the tragedy.

For the haters out there: How else are men supposed to pay their child support and feed themselves when they get home if no one will give them a job? Do we really want to support them on welfare?

But for serious haters, that’s of no real concern since they just want to continue to punish people long after their prison sentences are up, no matter who they happen to be.

May Aisha Fraser Rest in Peace.

From CoolCleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at http://NeighborhoodSolutionsInc.

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