Author Topic: Crime & Punishment  (Read 296 times)

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Offline Truth OT

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Crime & Punishment
« on: November 01, 2013, 11:13:45 AM »
Has anyone ever wondered why it is that humanity's sense of justice overwhelmingly requires that all missteps and transgressions be punishable? My initial answer is what I'd hope most people would say and that is that we seek punishment in order to discourage future transgressors. But after taking a step back and examining prevailing attitudes and listening to the opinions put worth on the subject, it seems as if overwhelmingly we as people actually value punishment as if it is somehow virtuous in and of its. Instead of being looked at as a tool that in SOME CASES is necessary to produce a desired societal benefit, it is looked at as a needed outcome anytime a wrong has been committed no matter what the wrongdoer may have learned from or how the wrongdoer may have been changed by having committed the action or mistake they made.

In my opinion, this exhaultation of punishment reveals a sick bloodlust in us that we would do well to make strides to rid ourselves and our societies of. I think this same attitude that craves punishment is perhaps in the hearts and subconscious minds of those that actually engage in criminal acts that victimize others. What do you guys think about this?
« Last Edit: November 01, 2013, 01:04:18 PM by Truth OT »

Offline Truth OT

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Re: Crime & Punishment
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2013, 11:16:45 AM »
This attitude doesn't condition us to be as mature as we could be. It instead fosters a perceived need for the individual to be sneaky and dumbs us down because unless there is an "or else" punishment attacked to an action, we will think engaging it is okay.

Offline Mrjason

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Re: Crime & Punishment
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2013, 11:24:39 AM »
No, I don't really agree.

Justice is about many things, not just punishment.

You mention deterrence, rehabilitation and the protection of society at large in your OP
Throw restorative justice into the mix as well and it would seem that punishment is just one part of a multi faceted concept

Offline Nick

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Re: Crime & Punishment
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2013, 12:10:59 PM »
Do you know of any other animal that is so cruel to its own?
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Offline Truth OT

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Re: Crime & Punishment
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2013, 12:16:53 PM »
No, I don't really agree.

Justice is about many things, not just punishment.

You mention deterrence, rehabilitation and the protection of society at large in your OP
Throw restorative justice into the mix as well and it would seem that punishment is just one part of a multi faceted concept


My point is that in my opinion, punishment should be but an option used to help bring about justice as opposed to being mandated in all situations. Punishment is not always an effective deterrent yet it is viewed by many as a panecea from crime and bad behavior.

Bottom line, punishment at times has very little to do with justice.

Offline Truth OT

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Re: Crime & Punishment
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2013, 12:51:38 PM »
The need for punishment relates to the religious notions of carma and "getting what ou deserve." We have the arrogant disposition that has caused us to see ourselves and our value as having some sort of innate value that means we are owed something by existence. There is no place for chance and happenstance in this line of thinking that has convinced parties believing in the illusion that everything happens for a divine/cosmic reason.

Offline kindred

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Re: Crime & Punishment
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2013, 07:55:38 AM »
Punishment is efficient. You steal once and your entire life is ruined because you have a criminal record. Sure that person got screwed and he will continue to be screwed over above and beyond what he deserves but that's easier than going over every single case of theft ever and giving appropriate punishment.

Punishment, excessive punishment, to be exact is what we have arrived at as a global society. We just don't have the resources to deal with every criminal and dish out appropriate punishment and/or rehabilitation. Its easier to just screw them over and hope that their shit life dissuades anyone from even thinking about doing the same thing.

Its horrible but I don't know of any alternative that we as a society have the skills to execute correctly.

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Offline wright

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Re: Crime & Punishment
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2013, 12:50:20 PM »
My point is that in my opinion, punishment should be but an option used to help bring about justice as opposed to being mandated in all situations. Punishment is not always an effective deterrent yet it is viewed by many as a panecea from crime and bad behavior.

Bottom line, punishment at times has very little to do with justice.

Punishment, excessive punishment, to be exact is what we have arrived at as a global society. We just don't have the resources to deal with every criminal and dish out appropriate punishment and/or rehabilitation. Its easier to just screw them over and hope that their shit life dissuades anyone from even thinking about doing the same thing.

Its horrible but I don't know of any alternative that we as a society have the skills to execute correctly.

I think both of you are seeing eye-to-eye on the idea that punishment has become the one-size-fits-all deterrent, even in cases when common sense and evidence to the contrary should prevail. I agree with that as well.

I disagree with kindred in that we don't know of any alternative that society could implement and profit from, at least in some particular areas of crime and law enforcement. Take the horrendous US anti-drug "war" coupled with draconian state laws like my own California's "Three Strikes" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_strikes_law).

It's been shown that treatment for addicts is far more effective than locking them up in overcrowded prisons, and decriminalizing drugs a better solution than funneling resources into ineffective enforcement: http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/evaluating-drug-decriminalization-in-portugal-12-years-later-a-891060.html. This at least seems one area of crime and associated punishment that offers very clear and effective alternatives to most national policies.
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Offline Chronos

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Re: Crime & Punishment
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2013, 07:00:11 AM »
The need for punishment relates to the religious notions of carma and "getting what ou deserve."

We are a puritanical nation that values justice in black and white terms and only recognizes shades of gray when the offense occurs close to home. We need to rethink our systems of crimes and punishments. The basis of the term "correctional system" is to correct behaviors and guide an offender to a better way, not simply quarantine offenders for decades. For some reason we think that if we pass a law declaring that something shall not be allowed suddenly people will be aware of said law and never engage in the offending behavior.

That is not to say that we don't have shades of gray built into the system. We have simple violations, such as driving violations, that can result in the loss of a previously granted privilege. We have misdemeanors which are minor offenses that normally result in only monetary damages. We have major offenses with the result of fines, jail time and or probation. Then, we have 3-strikes-your-out laws that put away people for a lifetime for committing 3 felonies. There is very little offered for guidance, rehabilitation or retraining. Often it is don't you dare do that again.

We are not using our existing system to the fullest (we like to make everything a felony punishable by incarceration) and we spend little money on crime prevention. Ignorance of the law cannot be used as a defense, but where is education about the law offered in any location other than a courtroom?

We're sick.
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