Do you remember Shanesha Taylor? The mom whose teary-eyed mug shot went viral last summer after it became national news that she left two of her children – just 2 years and six months at the time – in a hot car while she was at an interview for a job in Scottsdale Arizona? The 35 year-old mother of four pleaded guilty to one count of child abuse in order to avoid a second count, which prosecutors dismissed upon her agreement. Taylor has been given the lengthy probation sentence of 18 years and will also have to complete parenting classes as part of her sentence.
While prosecutors argue that Taylor showed a grave lack of responsibility, the defense believed that it was “a poor judgment” call on her part. It’s safe to say that it might be a bit of both. But it wouldn’t be fair to judge Taylor’s case without recognizing that she was unemployed and homeless. And while that still doesn’t justify her actions of putting her children in danger like that, we should maybe be having another conversation. That conversation should be about how to better assist mothers with young children who are underemployed, looking for work, and/or homeless.
But what do you think? Is 18 years of probation too long? Should the sentence be reduced? Or should Taylor have to face prison time?