Supersize Me

If Fat Joe ever plans on committing a crime, he may want to travel to Canada to do it.

According to a Nov. 13 Associated Press article, a 430-pound convict has been granted early parole by a two-officer parole board because a Canadian prison cannot accommodate his frame. The release comes 25 months into the prisoner’s sentence after being charged for conspiracy, drug trafficking and gangsterism. The board cited his poor health, good behavior and family support as reasons for his release.

Allowing a person’s size to factor in a decision for parole is irresponsible. It sets a dangerous precedent for allowing those with unusual body types to get leniency and special treatment. Those who are extremely tall or those in wheelchairs likely cannot fit in regular jail cells. To let them out because the facilities cannot accommodate them is not providing justice. Those arrested in Canada can just become obese and hope they too cannot fit in the cells and are released.

The man was healthy enough to commit crimes and he is still healthy enough to do it again once released from jail. With statistics showing people released from jail have a higher risk of becoming repeat offenders, it is unfortunate this particular one, whose crimes affected so many people, will get off so easily. Instead of releasing him, the jail could have provided him with more physically demanding work and given him exercising privileges in order to make him serve his time and decrease his weight and frame size at the same time.

The situation brings to light the need for jails to begin adapting to the increase in obesity around the world. Although the prisoners should not necessarily have their diets monitored, the jails could provide them with food that is nutritious. Making jail cells that are bigger and can accommodate large stature prisoners also need to be implemented as soon as possible so prisoners actually do their time and don’t get a free pass because of their body type.