Author Topic: Crime and punishment.  (Read 918 times)

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Offline Old Rabbit

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Crime and punishment.
« on: September 06, 2014, 08:34:50 am »
   It was mentioned that our (USA) prison system may be broken. At least that was the opinon. I imagine
systems in some other countries are as well. So let's have a debate on how it might be fixed or even a
different punishment system that might be better, and how to possibly reduce crime in the first place.

Of course some laws restrict human nature and may or may not be a benifit to society. That's why
it's good to have a representative government. So laws can be changed if they are bad.

In ancient times pain seemed to be a preferred form of punishment. Perhaps it was because death
and starvation was so common that it wasn't really considered to be a valid punishment on it's own.
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Offline Yip

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Re: Crime and punishment.
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2014, 01:12:26 pm »
The main problem I have with most prison systems is that they tend to be focused on punishment.  But, I don't think that's the right outlook. Personally, I don't think anyone deserves to be punished. That is, it's not about what they deserve but about what needs to be done to make society function. Obviously we can't just let people go around causing all kinds of problems and violence and such. The question is, what is the best way to stop it?

There was a rather famous experiment done where they took college students and assigned them roles as prisoners and guards of a mock prison.  This fairly quickly got out of hand and had serious negative physiological effects on all involved. The guards tended to become sadistic while the prisoners tended to become withdrawn. (you can learn more about it here: http://www.prisonexp.org/  or here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment  or a short documentary on it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_LKzEqlPto )


Offline Alsek

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Re: Crime and punishment.
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2014, 01:49:53 pm »
I would agree that the focus needs to be less on punishment of vengeance for the victims,  and more about preventing future crime.  For some people,  prevention of future crime probably really does mean that they spend the rest of their life behind bars if they're allowed to live at all.  People like Ed Gein,  Ted Bundy,  Charles Manson (Who by the way is still alive), etc.   For others,  a different approach is definitely needed.  Sticking an 18 year old kid with no prior history of crime in a cage with rapists and murderers is a definite way to ensure that he'll never be reformed,  or a productive member society again.  You're ensuring he WILL commit crimes in the future.

First and foremost,  however,  I think the most important thing is that as a society we address the problem of, "victimless crimes."  No one (in my opinion) should ever be held in a cage or at gunpoint if they haven't harmed,  or stolen from another human being in some way (things like breach of contract and white collar crimes can still count as harm and theft),  or if all parties involved were consenting adults.

Offline Old Rabbit

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Re: Crime and punishment.
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2014, 10:25:00 am »
Since we have to live in a social enviroment we should be trained from early childhood to respect
and care about others around us. Even random violence toward animals should be looked at as a
warning sign that a child may have lost respect for other living things. Same goes for adults that
do it as well.

Religion usually does a good job of teaching respect for our fellows, but loss of faith or radicalism
can create the opposite effect.

It has been shown that even compassionate  people can be trained to torture and kill others if they
believe it's justified.

Fortuantly most people grow up wanting to obey laws, and become fine citizens. But if one grows
up feeling society is against him/her they may not care, and feel they must think only about their
own self or needs. Or gain respect by violence, which is imaginary at best. Laws would mean little
or nothing but a hindrance to them.

Then of course there are those who have mental issues. They may not even think the way most
people do. No ability to even care about others.  Putting people like this in jail does little or no
good unless they pose a danger to others. We have to address their problems like any person
who needs help.

All this said, to reduce crime we must address the cause, prison is just a band-aid rather than a
cure. As said prison usually creates more criminals than cures, and should only be used to protect
society from those who would do harm.

It's likely spending the money to keep inmates safe and unharassed in prison would pay in the
long run. Show that society cares about them, not to to feel they have been tossed in the trash
so do speak.

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Offline Yip

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Re: Crime and punishment.
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2014, 02:18:51 pm »
Religion usually does a good job of teaching respect for our fellows, but loss of faith or radicalism can create the opposite effect.
Religion also can and often does have the opposite effect. For example, most hate towards LGBT individuals is religiously motivated. But that's another topic.

Quote
It's likely spending the money to keep inmates safe and unharassed in prison would pay in the long run. Show that society cares about them, not to to feel they have been tossed in the trash so do speak.
I agree, but at the same time, it shouldn't be a "free ride" either. It would be nice if we could replace prisons and such with services that help people to become productive members of society. However, I also recognize that this may not always be possible. Some people are a danger to society, and unfortunately society has to be set up to deal with that.

Another thing I've noticed, is that forms you fill out when applying for a job often ask if you've been convicted of a felony. I know this means that those individuals will have a much harder time finding acceptable work. It's hard enough when you don't have a criminal record. While I can understand why it is like this as from the employers position, such people are a much bigger risk. But at the same time, it creates an environment where for those that are convicted of a crime, it's can be enticing to return to more crime rather then to give it up. It's a difficult problem, and I not sure if there even are any good solutions. Especially since you also don't want to create a system that people can exploit.


Offline Old Rabbit

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Re: Crime and punishment.
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2014, 09:48:10 am »
Religion usually does a good job of teaching respect for our fellows, but loss of faith or radicalism can create the opposite effect.
Religion also can and often does have the opposite effect. For example, most hate towards LGBT individuals is religiously motivated. But that's another topic.

Quote
It's likely spending the money to keep inmates safe and unharassed in prison would pay in the long run. Show that society cares about them, not to to feel they have been tossed in the trash so do speak.
I agree, but at the same time, it shouldn't be a "free ride" either. It would be nice if we could replace prisons and such with services that help people to become productive members of society. However, I also recognize that this may not always be possible. Some people are a danger to society, and unfortunately society has to be set up to deal with that.

Another thing I've noticed, is that forms you fill out when applying for a job often ask if you've been convicted of a felony. I know this means that those individuals will have a much harder time finding acceptable work. It's hard enough when you don't have a criminal record. While I can understand why it is like this as from the employers position, such people are a much bigger risk. But at the same time, it creates an environment where for those that are convicted of a crime, it's can be enticing to return to more crime rather then to give it up. It's a difficult problem, and I not sure if there even are any good solutions. Especially since you also don't want to create a system that people can exploit.

Yes those who commit crimes need some punishment along with helping them become a good citizen. Making all prisons
like resorts would just create a life style that some people would probably like over working for a living. A few feel life
in prison is better as is.

It is difficult for a ex-criminal to return to society. He/she is looked at with distrust. They often end up back in prison after
failing to find work or fit in. Perhaps public works should be used to give cons or ex-cons a leg up in society. Even tax incentives to businesses who hire ex-cons. I am sure that would be cheaper than keeping them in prison, along with
helping them return to society.

We need a better way than just putting unwanted people out of sight. It seems many people prefer having it that way
for anyone who doesn't conform to what is considered the norm.
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Offline Avor

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Re: Crime and punishment.
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2014, 01:08:08 pm »
The problem with the American prison system is that it is a private one. That the corporations that run the prisons have a cash  incentive to fill them. lobbying all levels of government for laws that are not in the best interest  on the public.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2014, 01:37:05 pm by Avor »