Skylar Mack, the 18-year-old American who faced four months in jail for violating the quarantine law of the Cayman Islands, has just had her sentence halved to two months. Does she deserve any jail time at all?
Jail Sentence Reduced For Skylar Mack, The American Who Flouted Cayman Islands Quarantine Law
Mack arrived in Grand Cayman on November 27, 2020 with a negative COVID-19 test result. She tested again after arrival and the test again returned negative. Nevertheless, the Cayman Islands requires all Americans to quarantine for 14 days and wear a tracking bracelet.
Her boyfriend, 25-year-old Vanjae Ramgeet, a resident of the Cayman Islands, was competing in a jet ski event. Mack removed her tracking bracelet and attended the event, spanning about seven hours. During the event, she did not wear a mask.
She was caught and she and her boyfriend were initially sentenced to 40 hours of community service and a $2,600 fine. Ramgeet was charged for aiding and abetting her crime.
But a Crown prosecutor pushed back on the judge’s sentence, noting that it would not effectively deter other would-be violators. The judge agreed and increased their sentence to four months.
Mack’s family has appealed to President Trump to intervene, arguing that she does not want special treatment, just the sort of treatment other violators would experience rather than being made an example of.
This afternoon, Justice Roger Chapple reduced their sentence from four months to two months. No further explanation has been offered at this point.
Is This A Fair Sentence?
There’s an objective and subjective answer to the question of whether the sentence is fair. Objectively, it is totally fair. It is well within the prescription of the law, which sets a maximum penalty of two years in jail and a fine of $10,000. Furthermore, Mack was a guest and had a duty to respect the laws of her host country.
Subjectively, is a far more difficult issue. Perhaps this lesson will be beneficial ultimately to her and serve as a strong deterrent to others. On the other hand, I’m not sure she or society will be any better off if she sits in jail for two months versus two weeks. Will it make her sorrier? Will it atone for the families who must now quarantine?
Quarantines exist for a reason. Even negative tests can be misleading when the virus has an incubation period of up to two weeks. While Mack knowingly broke the law and should suffer the consequences for doing so, is two months in jail too little, too much, or just right?
image: Skylar Mack / Facebook