PA judge orders three men to learn English or go to jail

A Pennsylvania judge has sentenced three Spanish-speaking men to four to 24 months in jail — or they can get full-time jobs and learn English within a one-year probation period.

The men, all of whom needed interpreters in court, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery. They were accused of accosting two men on the street, threatening them with a gun, demanding marijuana, and striking them.

Luzerne County Judge Peter Olszewski said he was trying to help the men, Luis Reyes, Ricardo Dominguez and Rafael Guzman-Mateo, who range in age from 17 to 22. If they accept the judge’s parole offer and fail to meet the requirement, they will serve full 24-month sentences.

Personally, while I appreciate the judge’s intent, I’d send them straight to jail. They can earn early paroles by learning English, if they want to, but they don’t just get released onto the street, free to attack people again while they (maybe) learn English.

Of course, if they happen not to be in this country legally, I’d just deport them and be done with it.

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3 comments

  1. “To learn English” either means nothing in particular or can’t be done in one year.

    Very young people who are used to programmed learning can pass medium level tests after a year, but only in writing. Speaking takes longer, and some people just cannot ever understand spoken English.
    __________
    I think the story said they have to learn to read and write basic English, which I agree would be much easier to learn than speaking it. I’m just glad I was born in an English-speaking country; I’d hate to have to try to learn it as a second language.

  2. (Don’t I sound fairly competent here with my English? Well, I can also speak more or less on this level, but I cannot understand spoken English at all, unless the speaker knows he has to slow down for me to follow.
    _____________
    Your English is quite good, it seems to me. (Your first language is German? French?) It’s no wonder you have trouble understanding spoken English though; so many people speak so quickly, or don’t fully enunciate.

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