James Richard Verone is a very sympathetic case, but certainly we as a society can't allow a person to rob a bank to get free prison healthcare.

A couple of months ago Verone started weighing his options.

He considered turning to a homeless shelter and seeking medical help through charitable organizations.

Then he had another idea: commit a crime and get set up with a place to stay, food and doctors.

He started planning.

As his bank account depleted and the day of execution got closer, Verone sold and donated his furniture. He paid his last month’s rent and gave his notice.

He moved into the Hampton Inn for the last couple of days. Then on June 9 he followed his typical morning routine of getting ready for the day.

He took a cab down New Hope Road and picked a bank at random — RBC Bank.

Verone didn’t want to scare anyone. He executed the robbery the most passive way he knew how.

He handed the teller a note demanding one dollar, and medical attention.

“I didn’t have any fears,” said Verone. “I told the teller that I would sit over here and wait for police.”

Let's assume that the story as presented is true. (I'm moderately skeptical of its veracity.) Obviously this is an unsustainable and undesirable strategy, and society has a strong interest in preventing others from following this same course. Several ideas present themselves:

1. Taxpayer-subsidized healthcare for everyone, not just prisoners.

2. No taxpayer-subsidized healthcare for anyone, including prisoners. This issue highlights one of the major problems with using imprisonment as our primary form of punishment: a prisoner is a total drain on the economy. I'm already on record opposing imprisonment for non-violent criminals.

3. Charge Verone with some sort of fraud-like crime that reflects his true intent.

(HT: Marginal Revolution.)

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