Craig Carton should not go to prison (Opinion)
I have only met Craig Carton once. I did fill in for him here at New Jersey 101.5. I do know a lot of people who know him, worked with and are friends with him.
From what I hear, Craig is a loyal friend, a dedicated family man, and of course one of the greatest radio hosts ever. Craig Carton also has a gambling addiction that has destroyed his life.
Carton's gambling addiction caused him to cheat investors out of $5.6 million to feed his disease. If in fact a gambling addiction is a disease, is prison the way we treat diseases? Unfortunately, yes.
If you're looking to punish Craig, I'm guessing he's been punished enough by the public humiliation he has be put through. For himself and those he loves, namely his wife and 4 children. They have lost everything and are on the verge of homelessness. Is that enough punishment? Want more? How about a professional reputation that is now tainted. How about the public humiliation of a man who had it all and lost it at the casino, or maybe several casinos. Is that punishment enough? Should prison be about punishment or rehabilitation?
There are those that could say, "should have thought of that when you started," but that's what a disease like addiction does. Specifically in this case, gambling. I think the judge should gamble on Craig Carton's rehabilitation. In his letter to the judge, Carton says:
"I am proud to say that with the help of going to The Algamus Rehab Center and weekly GA meetings, I have not gambled since June of 2018 and have recently been asked to lead the Gamblers Anonymous Meetings I attend."
I think it would be better to make Craig the poster child for gambling addicts. Give him countless hours of community service, where he could speak about the dangers of gambling both on the radio and in person. Make him an advocate who can help in the rehab of other gambling addicts affected by this disease. Wouldn't it be better to allow Craig to continue working so that he could make restitution, pay any fines and support his family? WFAN, where Craig worked, could be willing to bring him back if he stays out of jail. What's the point of putting someone who could make such a difference in the lives of other gamblers in jail? Better to take the fine money than pay to house him.
Now that we have legalized sports betting in New Jersey, and soon to be everywhere else, we're going to be seeing this more and more. Wouldn't it be nice if we had someone to point to who we could say, "don't let this happen to you!" We do. His name is Craig Carton and if you take the word of the all the people who have written the judge, including Governor Christie and Mikey Nichols, who's Mikey Strong Charity Hockey Game was started by Craig, he's a good guy. If he gets a second chance, he will make the most of it. If not, there's always jail.
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