Jerry Sandusky Sentence: 30-60 Years Won't Satisfy All, but It's Still Death

Adam Jacobi@Adam_JacobiBig Ten Football Lead WriterOctober 9, 2012

BELLEFONTE, PA - OCTOBER 09: Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky (C) leaves the Centre County Courthouse after being sentenced in his child sex abuse case on October 9, 2012 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. The 68-year-old Sandusky was sentenced to at least 30 years and not more that 60 years in prison for his conviction in June on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, including while he was the defensive coordinator for the Penn State college football team. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Jerry Sandusky has been sentenced to die in prison.

If nothing else, remember this: Sandusky has been sentenced to a state prison for his dozens of convicted crimes against children, and barring the single most stunning series of retractions since the Salem witch trials of the late 17th century, Sandusky will die in that prison, never in contact with another child for the rest of his life.

That de facto life sentence was the expressed intent of Judge John Cleland when it came to sentencing Sandusky, and as such Cleland could have picked basically any number of years for the sentence—up to and including triple digits.

Cleland chose 30-60 years. Here's what he said about that decision, according to

I’m not going to sentence you to centuries in prison, although the law would permit that. It's too abstract, only a big number.

You are sentenced to spend not less than 30 and not more than 60 years in prison; that has the unmistakable impact of saying the rest of your life.

This can be an unsatisfying number, considering the fact that we're talking about dozens of convictions leveled at Sandusky, all for unspeakably heinous crimes. If that doesn't warrant over a century of sentencing, one might wonder, what would?

But justice isn't all about catering to the lizard brain. Yes, it's more satisfying in movies when the bad guy dies in an explosion instead of a single gunshot, for example. That's Hollywood.

Justice isn't Hollywood. Justice isn't about piling on "for good measure." Jerry Sandusky needs to die in prison and John Cleland just assured that he would.

And if a de facto death sentence for Jerry Sandusky isn't enough for you to feel OK with his punishment, that's OK, but eventually it just says more about you and your understanding of the courts than the courts themselves.