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Does this Grandmother Deserve to Go to Prison?

I’m not crazy about anyone going to prison. There’s generally no rehabilitation of the individual and they come out less able to become a productive citizen than when they went it, and often return to prison. However, the one purpose it does seem to serve is to protect others from being harmed by that person. And, in this recent case in Rockland, Maine, I think prison is justified.

The case involves two people – a grandmother and her grandson. They gave two 14-year-old girls enough alcohol to give them alcohol poisoning. The girls were spotted by locals, unconscious in a car, and were immediately taken to a Penobscot Bay Medical Center to be put on life support. They were then airlifted to Maine Medical Center for treatment.

They were on life support for several days and nearly died.

In the meantime, the police were trying to find out how the girls got into that condition.

They first found a grandmother (Brenda Shepard, 63) – she is charged with furnishing alcohol – and then, a few weeks later, they found her grandson (Ryan Newbert, 19) who was also charged with furnishing alcohol AND furnishing drugs (sedatives).

A friend of theirs, commenting on the incident, said on a TV interview “It was probably nothing intentional – like wanting them to be hurt.”

Well, sure. I’m sure they didn’t get into a powwow beforehand to figure out how to kill or ‘nearly kill’ these girls. I’m sure the vast majority of people who get in their car drunk and kill somebody didn’t ‘intend’ to kill anyone that day.

And they both, especially the grandmother, have had as much opportunity as any one of us to learn that alcohol and drugs are dangerous. They would also know that alcohol is illegal for a 14-year-old, and that taking drugs is illegal unless legitimately prescribed by a doctor for the person taking them.

So, yes, they probably ‘didn’t think.’ About a lot of things.

But for decades we’ve guarded our kids by making sure they when they go to a friend’s house, an event, and many other places, they are chaperoned or supervised by adults – people who will and do think about what they’re doing and the consequences.

You don’t expect a grandmother – who apparently cares about her kids and grandkids – to get your kids involved in something that might kill them.

Are you keeping an eye on your kids? Are you ensuring there’s a parent there to keep them safe? And have you checked out that parent to make sure they aren’t the people the police would be looking for after your son or daughter is in the hospital?

Do you think this grandmother should go to prison?


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