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Tragedy in Cheshire

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
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I grew up in CT in a town right next to Cheshire and would hang out in Cheshire all the time. I can't believe something like this can happen in this day and age in a town like that.

I've seen some pretty bad crime stories, but this is one of the worst in recent memory in it's cruelty.
post #2 of 42
Speechless.
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post #3 of 42
Are the people who make up the law a bunch of retards or something?

"Each is charged with aggravated sexual assault, arson, robbery, kidnapping and risk of injury to a minor."

The story says they were raped and their surroundings set on fire, so why they hell are they not charged with rape and attempted murder?

Also, when would someone have stopped and thought, y'know these guys have been doing crime all their lives, maybe just maybe the system isn't working.

The death penalty is too good for them IMO. A painless lethal injection? How about tying them to a bed and watching them burn alive. That poor guy is going to get a life sentence and will live with what they did to his family and they just get put to sleep. That's not justice.
post #4 of 42
Thread Starter 
Well they have concrete evidence for kidnapping and the other charges. For charges as serious as murder they need concrete evidence, which I think will be extremely easy. Then they will formally charge them with the 3 counts of murder and attempted murder. Prosecutors need an airtight case.
post #5 of 42
In terms of public policy, there isn't a whole lot anyone can do to prevent this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Are the people who make up the law a bunch of retards or something?

"Each is charged with aggravated sexual assault, arson, robbery, kidnapping and risk of injury to a minor."

The story says they were raped and their surroundings set on fire, so why they hell are they not charged with rape and attempted murder?

Also, when would someone have stopped and thought, y'know these guys have been doing crime all their lives, maybe just maybe the system isn't working.

The death penalty is too good for them IMO. A painless lethal injection? How about tying them to a bed and watching them burn alive. That poor guy is going to get a life sentence and will live with what they did to his family and they just get put to sleep. That's not justice.

You don't get brownie points for out-vengeance-ing the next person.

In fact, it just looks plain ugly on your part.
post #6 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ View Post

In terms of public policy, there isn't a whole lot anyone can do to prevent this.

You don't get brownie points for out-vengeance-ing the next person.

In fact, it just looks plain ugly on your part.

I'm sure the mother and father felt differently.

Quote:
In terms of public policy, there isn't a whole lot anyone can do to prevent this.

Sure there is. Make sure we have a well-trained and well-armed population.

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post #7 of 42
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Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Sure there is. Make sure we have a well-trained and well-armed population.

That might, might reduce the chances of such things happening. But nothing will absolutely prevent such things, and no matter how horrible some crimes might be, there's a point of diminishing returns where attempts to cure a problem becomes worse than the original problem itself.

The US has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, but countries with lower incarceration rates and no death penalty either have lower rates of violent crime. If we're looking for real solutions, and not just acting like an angry mob waving pitchforks thirsty for vengeance, clearly just piling on more of the standard "get tough on crime" attitude and policies isn't going to help.
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post #8 of 42
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Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Sure there is. Make sure we have a well-trained and well-armed population.

Unlikely. Cultural norms are probably the only thing that could minimize this, but even then it will happen. In a country with 300,000,000 these incidents are bound to happen. Plus, we don't know the facts of the case yet and there may be more to the story. It's unlikely that this was completely random. Sometimes people do crazy shit.

Anyway, burning these guys alive isn't harsh enough.
post #9 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ View Post

In terms of public policy, there isn't a whole lot anyone can do to prevent this.

You don't get brownie points for out-vengeance-ing the next person.

In fact, it just looks plain ugly on your part.

I think this point of view is what causes a lot of the problem. People are being too lenient. Sure they're just kids, so what if they steal apples, let them. Sure they're just kids, so what if they steal cars just let them. Sure they're just kids, so what if they kidnap a toddler, horrifically assault him close to death and leave him on a train track for a train to run over him. You see where that kind of thinking leads?

Keep pushing back the boundary of acceptability and see where we get. Young people who use a curse word in every sentence, who have no respect for anyone or anything because their crimes are trivialized. You might not think that's what you're doing but you are.

Today we have people committing some of the most horrendous crimes imaginable and where is the deterrent? That they will have a scum sucking defense lawyer appointed by the state to defend them no matter what malicious crime they commit and then a nice cosy place to live for a few years while some homeless people who stay within the law have to sleep on the street.

They raped and murdered an 11 year old girl in a horrific way. If you think that they don't deserve the worst punishment possible to inflict on a human being then I don't value your opinion much at all.

If you think that when someone punches you in the face that you are the bigger man by running away then just wait until he does it every day as you are an easy target. These people committed crimes their whole life and nobody did anything and now a family has been completely destroyed and you think that we're the bad ones by treating them the way they treated others?
post #10 of 42
Thread Starter 
I think people think that things are worse off than they were in the good old days only because we live in a worldwide connected age. We have TV, newspapers, the internet and we are made fully aware of the atrocities being committed not just in our own town or state like 100 years ago, but we are in the know about atrocities that happen in towns and cities and countries on the other side of the world. And with the ballooning population these things seem like they are happening more often when in reality they are just following the curve of the planet's population growth.

Now if these guys get a death sentence, it's not our job as a society to avenge anyone, its our responsibility to protect us from these criminals. And putting them to death ensures that they won't harm anyone. That's why we use a painless lethal injection. We'd be no better than they would be if we killed them in a painful way.
post #11 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I think this point of view is what causes a lot of the problem. People are being too lenient. Sure they're just kids, so what if they steal apples, let them. Sure they're just kids, so what if they steal cars just let them. Sure they're just kids, so what if they kidnap a toddler, horrifically assault him close to death and leave him on a train track for a train to run over him. You see where that kind of thinking leads?

I'm pretty sure no one let them get away without punishment for their prior crimes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Today we have people committing some of the most horrendous crimes imaginable and where is the deterrent? That they will have a scum sucking defense lawyer appointed by the state to defend them no matter what malicious crime they commit and then a nice cosy place to live for a few years while some homeless people who stay within the law have to sleep on the street.

For, um, most people, prison isn't just another place to sleep at night.

And public defenders are decent people working a thankless job.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

They raped and murdered an 11 year old girl in a horrific way. If you think that they don't deserve the worst punishment possible to inflict on a human being then I don't value your opinion much at all.

They deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law and no more.

Vengeance, on the other hand, is just ugly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

These people committed crimes their whole life and nobody did anything and now a family has been completely destroyed and you think that we're the bad ones by treating them the way they treated others?

I reserve judgment on your character, as this isn't about you, but your statements possess the same brutal mentality as those that killed those women. It's been at least 2000 years since "an eye for an eye." Don't you think it's time to move on?

Lastly, which of their prior crimes did "nobody [do] anything about?"
post #12 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

I think people think that things are worse off than they were in the good old days only because we live in a worldwide connected age. We have TV, newspapers, the internet and we are made fully aware of the atrocities being committed not just in our own town or state like 100 years ago, but we are in the know about atrocities that happen in towns and cities and countries on the other side of the world. And with the ballooning population these things seem like they are happening more often when in reality they are just following the curve of the planet's population growth.

I know that atrocities happened before but society as a whole is getting worse. Surely things like happy slapping show you that. Casual violence perpetrated by teenagers:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...icle534788.ece
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4728783.stm

It's not just that these things happen but the resulting sentences handed down for them. Child molesters and rapists are being let off from charges or given 1-2 year sentences on average and even if it's longer we find out they only ever serve at most half the sentence. It's a complete joke.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

Now if these guys get a death sentence, it's not our job as a society to avenge anyone, its our responsibility to protect us from these criminals. And putting them to death ensures that they won't harm anyone. That's why we use a painless lethal injection. We'd be no better than they would be if we killed them in a painful way.

I disagree. They committed an atrocity out of greed and selfishness, doing it in return would be punishment for what they did. That's completely different. I don't see why they should get the privilege of a lighter sentence than their victims.

But ok if painful death is out then why not anesthetize them and remove their limbs and let them live out the rest of their lives like that? Oh but that would violate their human rights of course.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ

I'm pretty sure no one let them get away without punishment for their prior crimes.

It depends on what you define as punishment. Whatever it was it certainly wasn't strong enough to deter them from doing it again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ

And public defenders are decent people working a thankless job.

No they're not. I've read of cases where defense lawyers will get teenage rape victims to hold up the underwear they were wearing during the attack in court in front of their attacker. You're not trying to tell me that the attacker suggested that line of questioning. It's all down to defense lawyers pulling whatever they can out of the book to get their defendant off no matter the charges and no matter if they believe they are guilty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ

They deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law and no more.

The law is wrong and has proven itself time and time again. Every single day you hear of the law failing victims of crime.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ

I reserve judgment on your character, as this isn't about you, but your statements possess the same brutal mentality as those that killed those women. It's been at least 2000 years since "an eye for an eye." Don't you think it's time to move on?

I fail to understand your logic. These people commit terrible crimes and you want to give them an easy time of it and you think my opinion is brutal? 'an eye for an eye' may be an old principle but it's still as relevant to day as it ever was. But then again 'spare the rod and spoil the child' was an old principle too and we ignored that (see links above for the results).
post #13 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I know that atrocities happened before but society as a whole is getting worse.

Getting worse? What's getting worse and since when? The US violent crime rate is far below what it was 15 years ago. Outsider is absolutely right.
post #14 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by giant View Post

Getting worse? What's getting worse and since when? The US violent crime rate is far below what it was 15 years ago. Outsider is absolutely right.

You don't understand. Crime is always getting worse. Society is perpetually going downhill. Today's violence is always more extreme than yesterday's, today's criminals are always bolder and more depraved and freer to prey upon us than they were yesterday, and we're always, always far too lenient and give "them" too many rights and we have our priorities all screwed up, coddling the criminals while the law-abiding citizen is forgotten and neglected and can't get an even break.

Get with the program!
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post #15 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

It depends on what you define as punishment. Whatever it was it certainly wasn't strong enough to deter them from doing it again.

Recidivism is a problem any way you look at it.

However, the state judiciary and legislature work extensively on this issue. There's volumes of regularly updated research on recidivism, so if you're really interested I suggest taking a look.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

No they're not. I've read of cases where defense lawyers will get teenage rape victims to hold up the underwear they were wearing during the attack in court in front of their attacker. You're not trying to tell me that the attacker suggested that line of questioning. It's all down to defense lawyers pulling whatever they can out of the book to get their defendant off no matter the charges and no matter if they believe they are guilty.

You do believe in the rights of the accused, do you not?

Just seeing exactly which parts of the U.S. Constitution you'd like to see go by the wayside.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I fail to understand your logic. These people commit terrible crimes and you want to give them an easy time of it and you think my opinion is brutal? 'an eye for an eye' may be an old principle but it's still as relevant to day as it ever was. But then again 'spare the rod and spoil the child' was an old principle too and we ignored that (see links above for the results).

I doubt anyone knows what made them hardened criminals.
post #16 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ View Post

Recidivism is a problem any way you look at it.

It's a problem now because people don't get punished enough. In schools decades ago, people used to get physical punishment for what they did. Nowadays, they get a slight telling off - teachers can't shout or degrade pupils or anything. So what happens? The kids think they can do what they like and they do. So many teachers are taking early retirement and are off work with stress.

In prisons it's the same. Criminals feel their human rights are violated when they have to transport their own feces when the toilets are broken at which point it's within their rights to sue the state for this.

Re-offending is not just something that happens for no reason, when the punishment gets less, the re-offending goes up, it's pretty straightforward. When crime starts to pay off then why bother living within the law?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ View Post

You do believe in the rights of the accused, do you not?

Sure but where do you draw the line between giving the accused rights at the expense of those of the victim. You'd rather give the accused the right to humiliate a rape victim in front of a court full of people over giving the victim the right not to be humiliated? You're already presuming the accused is innocent. Now you may say innocent until proven guilty is the way the system works but that doesn't give the accused the right to do absolutely anything they want to destroy an accuser.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ View Post

I doubt anyone knows what made them hardened criminals.

That's not really here nor there, what we know is that they are hardened criminals and are continuing to be. From that we can assume that whatever punishment they received wasn't strong enough.
post #17 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Re-offending is not just something that happens for no reason, when the punishment gets less, the re-offending goes up, it's pretty straightforward. When crime starts to pay off then why bother living within the law?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

That's not really here nor there, what we know is that they are hardened criminals and are continuing to be. From that we can assume that whatever punishment they received wasn't strong enough.

Well, like I said.

If you really wanna get into the whole recidivism debate you should read up on it, because, no, it's most definitely not as simple as "longer punishment = less recidivism." I just wrote a legal memo for my judge summarizing a recent research report on the effects on the recidivism rates of inmates with 30 and 90 days of mandatory aftercare. (Conclusion? No difference, but aftercare targeting their specific problems *does* make a difference. For example, anger management programs for those who cite problems in that area and continued substance abuse programs for those who feel their drug problem is still an issue). Anyway, just giving you somewhat of an idea of the complexity and actual concrete research involved in this area, as opposed to your broad suppositions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Sure but where do you draw the line between giving the accused rights at the expense of those of the victim. You'd rather give the accused the right to humiliate a rape victim in front of a court full of people over giving the victim the right not to be humiliated? You're already presuming the accused is innocent. Now you may say innocent until proven guilty is the way the system works but that doesn't give the accused the right to do absolutely anything they want to destroy an accuser.

That's a good question.

Basically we have an adversarial system, and the idea is that somewhere in the process of the two sides competing the truth will come out. And I'm sensitive of course to the extraordinary difficulty of just being an accuser in a rape case, but I think that's straying from the topic here somewhat.
post #18 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ View Post

it's most definitely not as simple as "longer punishment = less recidivism." I just wrote a legal memo for my judge summarizing a recent research report on the effects on the recidivism rates of inmates with 30 and 90 days of mandatory aftercare. (Conclusion? No difference

No, not longer punishment, harder punishment. If someone steals in the middle east, they get their hands cut off or at least mangled. That's a short punishment but a much more intense one and they won't steal again because they can't. I'm not saying do this on a first offense obviously but if someone is charged for stealing 50 times, you need to take steps so that it's out of their ability to choose whether or not to steal, remove their ability to do so.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/2587039.stm

Instead of locking someone up for 30 days vs 90 days try 15 days but this time in solitary in a pitch black room with nothing but a hole in the ground to defecate into. Methinks you'll see better results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ View Post

Basically we have an adversarial system, and the idea is that somewhere in the process of the two sides competing the truth will come out. And I'm sensitive of course to the extraordinary difficulty of just being an accuser in a rape case, but I think that's straying from the topic here somewhat.

Well, this is a rape case though and we haven't heard what kind of stunts the defense lawyers will try and pull off yet so we'll have to wait and see how it pans out.
post #19 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Instead of locking someone up for 30 days vs 90 days try 15 days but this time in solitary in a pitch black room with nothing but a hole in the ground to defecate into. Methinks you'll see better results.

So how is it that countries who are less barbaric, who not only don't go medieval like you're suggesting, but don't even lock as many people up in jail as we do in the US, can end up with lower crime rates?

I don't want my government to be an instrument of "poetic justice". I don't want it to have that much power. I'd rather set a more civilized example. I'd rather the government be more effective at reducing crime than have it be more satisfying to the lust for vengeance. I'd rather have hundreds of people "under punished" than have one innocent person wrongly and horribly abused. I'd rather endure a little more crime that gets honestly cataloged as crime than have abusive sadists, backed by the imprimatur of the state, committing crimes that aren't called crimes merely because they're sanctioned by law.

Find me just one example of a government which has ever kept the populace "in line" that wasn't itself committing the moral equivalent of crime on the innocent and guilty alike.
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post #20 of 42
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Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

http://www.courant.com/news/custom/t...c_tab01_layout

I grew up in CT in a town right next to Cheshire and would hang out in Cheshire all the time. I can't believe something like this can happen in this day and age in a town like that.

I've seen some pretty bad crime stories, but this is one of the worst in recent memory in it's cruelty.

Yea, I saw this on NBC 30 news and was quite shocked. Totally tragic story. Still, we've had some f'ed up stuff happen in this state lately.
post #21 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

So how is it that countries who are less barbaric, who not only don't go medieval like you're suggesting, but don't even lock as many people up in jail as we do in the US, can end up with lower crime rates?

Canada is different though. Not every country will have the same culture that breeds hardened criminals. The ones which do need the means to deal with them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

I don't want my government to be an instrument of "poetic justice". I don't want it to have that much power. I'd rather set a more civilized example.

One where it can't protect its upright citizens from harm. In theory having a bunch of nice upright people sounds great but at the end of the day, there will always be barbaric people who need to be dealt with and nice, upright people aren't capable of doing it properly. Just like when you were young, your dad would always be the one to beat you but your mum would hug you afterwards. Remove the punishment and all you get is reward for your crime or at worst a meaningless punishment, which is tantamount to approval.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

I'd rather the government be more effective at reducing crime than have it be more satisfying to the lust for vengeance. I'd rather have hundreds of people "under punished" than have one innocent person wrongly and horribly abused.

I'm glad you said that because I'm with you on the first part but I am so much against the second part. That is exactly the idea I'm against. I personally would rather see one innocent person abused than thousands of innocents abused at the hands of these 'under punished' criminals. We're trying your method already and it's not working. Overcrowded prisons with people committing the same crimes over and over.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

I'd rather endure a little more crime that gets honestly cataloged as crime than have abusive sadists, backed by the imprimatur of the state, committing crimes that aren't called crimes merely because they're sanctioned by law.

You don't define a criminal not being punished enough a crime?

You're saying that punishing a criminal is a crime whereas punishing a victim by not punishing them enough is justice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

Find me just one example of a government which has ever kept the populace "in line" that wasn't itself committing the moral equivalent of crime on the innocent and guilty alike.

So wait, you mean that it's ok to let the population run riot so long as you can sleep at night knowing that the government is made up of decent people?

No government keeps their populace in line completely but why do you think that the American government resorts to the same tactics terrorists use in places like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. With some people, you just can't get through to them without using the same force they use. By all means get them to send these people to your house for tea if you think a nice chat would do it though.

Look at the stats:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ

the effects on the recidivism rates of inmates with 30 and 90 days of mandatory aftercare. (Conclusion? No difference

What can you get from that? The punishment they receive under the current system is worthless no matter how long it is applied.
post #22 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Canada is different though. Not every country will have the same culture that breeds hardened criminals. The ones which do need the means to deal with them.

What makes you think the US "breeds hardened criminals" at some exceptional rate?

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Remove the punishment and all you get is reward for your crime or at worst a meaningless punishment, which is tantamount to approval.

Who said anything about removing punishment?

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I personally would rather see one innocent person abused than thousands of innocents abused at the hands of these 'under punished' criminals.

I'm glad you didn't write the US Constitution. You don't seem to understand power of the state vs. random violence. People are always saying "I'm willing to fight and die for freedom!". Well, guess what? One way of fighting for and dying for freedom is passive -- it's willingly undergoing a certain amount of risk at the hands of your fellow citizens in exchange for having a free society where your government has limited power to harm you or tyrannize you.

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." (Generally attributed to Ben Franklin, although the origin of the phrase is a bit murky.)

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We're trying your method already and it's not working.

What exactly do you think is "my method"? What method have I advocated so far? I think you presume too much.

And as for "not working"... how do you define "not working"? What would "working" be?

No matter what techniques of law enforcement and punishment you try, there will always be crime, including violent crime -- at least for as long as humans are recognizably what we call humans now.

What would "working" be then? Half our current crime rate? A tenth? One hundredth? If crime were miraculously reduced to 1% of what it is today, the news media would still be able to find horrible crimes to report. Would you still be shouting "It's not working" even then, every time you heard such a story? Is anything over 0% crime "not working"?

You seem to be operating without context. Without a sense of scale for the problem, without thought for the cost (and I don't just mean economic cost) of Dark Ages "solutions". You're just emoting, not thinking. If you were thinking, you'd realize that despite the illusion of crime-go-amok that the "if it bleeds, it leads" media creates, people today are living very safe and long lives compared to the historical past.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to improve that. We should try to improve things, as much as we can -- by reasonable methods that promote important principles of justice and civility and which help keep the tools of tyranny out of the hands of government. There's absolutely nothing about our current situation that calls for drastic, uncivilized measures. There are problems that should be solved, but there is no crisis worthy of extreme measures.

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Overcrowded prisons with people committing the same crimes over and over.

Part of that is because our prison system is horribly run. It rewards the most violent criminals by giving them the best life and most power while they're "on the inside", it encourages the least violent offenders to become more violent in order to survive on the inside, it reduces the chances people have to make an honest living on the outside, thus making turning back to crime a more likely alternative, our prisons serve as schools for crime, etc.

I think a huge amount of progress could be made without doling out harsher medieval punishments. First of all, reduce overcrowding by decriminalizing most drug use, find alternative punishments (like public service and restitution) for non-violent offenders, and keep inmates more isolated from each other -- things like prison yards with hundreds of convicts milling about together, creating a poisonous and violent social milieu, are completely insane.

Prisons shouldn't be frightening because of the random risk of prisoner-on-prisoner violence, which tends to favor the most violent, those most deserving of punishment, and to victimize the least violent -- a very inverted form of "justice". But too many of us gleefully cackle about the "bad guys" getting ass raped to want to change that system -- which is really just Constitutionally illegal cruel and unusual punishment hiding behind the "plausible deniability" excuse of a deliberately ineffective system for prisoner safety.

The main way prisons should punish, in my opinion, is: The straight-forward denial of freedom that being incarcerated causes. Very meager living standards. Boredom. Plenty of time to think. And little release from boredom except activities devised to improve one's chances of returning to the outside world in a productive way and/or to compensate one's victims and/or help defray the cost to society of one's own incarceration. Opportunities for exercise should be at a bare minimum for maintaining health -- prisoners should not be working out and turning their own bodies into better instruments of violence.

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You don't define a criminal not being punished enough a crime?

You're saying that punishing a criminal is a crime whereas punishing a victim by not punishing them enough is justice?

Punishment is either effective or not effective as a deterrent and/or as a safety precaution. The effectiveness of a punishment must also be weighed against its cost -- economic cost, freedom costs for the innocent, costs of accidental punishment of the innocent, and risk of putting the tools of tyranny into the hands of government where they can and will be abused.

It is not a smart move to measure "enough" by the amount of suffering victims crave for an offender.

Please don't think I'm a stranger to the emotional side of this. I'd be happy to see horrible things happen to these two guys who did these heinous things to this family. Very happy. Gleeful. If these were my loved ones, I'd be awfully damned tempted to be the one delivering some well-deserved horror myself.

I'm smart enough, however, to know where to draw a bright line between what I'd personally want to have happen and what I'm going to give my government the right and power to systematically make happen.

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So wait, you mean that it's ok to let the population run riot so long as you can sleep at night knowing that the government is made up of decent people?

People aren't "running riot" right now, however. And this has nothing to do with whether or not the government has "decent people" in it. On the contrary, it's because we should always be concerned that the government doesn't have decent people in it that we limit the power of what government can do.

There are times when far more draconian methods might be justified. These, however, aren't those times. Not even close.
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post #23 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

What makes you think the US "breeds hardened criminals" at some exceptional rate?

I didn't say exceptional rate, I just said it happens more in certain cultures than others. Therefore saying that one country with less effective crime control yet showing less crime doesn't mean the two go together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

Who said anything about removing punishment?

The punishment they get has been proven ineffective, to me that's the same as removing the punishment. Like if I said to a thief, well that's another crime you've done so no gold star for you this month. It's a punishment but it's ineffective.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

I'm glad you didn't write the US Constitution. You don't seem to understand power of the state vs. random violence. People are always saying "I'm willing to fight and die for freedom!". Well, guess what? One way of fighting for and dying for freedom is passive -- it's willingly undergoing a certain amount of risk at the hands of your fellow citizens in exchange for having a free society where your government has limited power to harm you or tyrannize you.

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." (Generally attributed to Ben Franklin, although the origin of the phrase is a bit murky.)

I don't know if you just watch too many movies like Enemy of the State or what but the government is hardly likely to assert some random bouts of extreme violence on people without just cause. I'm talking about severely punishing people who are known to be guilty and deserve it. If someone photographs themselves abusing a child, no doubt you'd be the first one to step in and say well maybe it's photoshopped so you'd better not punish him too much in case we've made an error of judgement. In the mean time, the kid who knows fine well they've been abused can only watch in disbelief as the monster who tortured them is given an easy time of it.

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Originally Posted by shetline View Post

What exactly do you think is "my method"? What method have I advocated so far? I think you presume too much.

Your method by your description is the system we currently have or at least a progression of it in the same direction that it has been going for years.

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Originally Posted by shetline View Post

What would "working" be then? Half our current crime rate? A tenth? One hundredth? If crime were miraculously reduced to 1% of what it is today, the news media would still be able to find horrible crimes to report. Would you still be shouting "It's not working" even then, every time you heard such a story? Is anything over 0% crime "not working"?

Of course not but based on severe punishment as a deterrent the crime rate will most certainly reduce considerably although it wouldn't really have to in order to justify the system. At the end of the day it's about justice for the victims of crime. You talk about lust for vengeance well surely any punishment is exactly that. It's just that some people feel locking someone up in a cell satisfies that, I don't because that isn't a universal punishment. Criminals have gone on record thanking judges for their light sentences.

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Originally Posted by shetline View Post

You're just emoting, not thinking. If you were thinking, you'd realize that despite the illusion of crime-go-amok that the "if it bleeds, it leads" media creates, people today are living very safe and long lives compared to the historical past.

Yeah but that's not directly attributable to our changes in the law. A lot of things have changed since then including working conditions, healthcare and overall quality of life.

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Originally Posted by shetline View Post

But too many of us gleefully cackle about the "bad guys" getting ass raped to want to change that system -- which is really just Constitutionally illegal cruel and unusual punishment hiding behind the "plausible deniability" excuse of a deliberately ineffective system for prisoner safety.

I agree but the reason this happens is because most people can see these people aren't being punished enough and the only way they can deal with it is to consider this might happen to them because it's the only form of justice they will receive under our weak system. If they were punished in the way they deserve, people wouldn't need to even consider these things.

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Originally Posted by shetline View Post

The main way prisons should punish, in my opinion, is: The straight-forward denial of freedom that being incarcerated causes. Very meager living standards. Boredom. Plenty of time to think.

I don't agree simply because as I said, there are people who abide by the law and live worse lives than this. Despite people having freedom, not everyone can or does take advantage of it and that makes prison life easy in comparison. Punishment for crime should be universal and when people hear of it, their reaction ought to be 'I better not commit this crime or x will happen and I'd hate that' and not 'I'll just get a couple of years in a cell for this where I have no mortgage, no crappy job to go to, 3 square meals a day, time to exercise and watch TV and hang out with my buddies, I'm better off in prison'. Some criminals readily admit they are better off in prison than on the outside.

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Originally Posted by shetline View Post

Opportunities for exercise should be at a bare minimum for maintaining health -- prisoners should not be working out and turning their own bodies into better instruments of violence.

Nope, under your system remember you'd be violating their human rights.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

Punishment is either effective or not effective as a deterrent and/or as a safety precaution. The effectiveness of a punishment must also be weighed against its cost -- economic cost, freedom costs for the innocent, costs of accidental punishment of the innocent, and risk of putting the tools of tyranny into the hands of government where they can and will be abused.

It is not a smart move to measure "enough" by the amount of suffering victims crave for an offender.

Ok, so lets sum up our current system under those conditions:

effective as a deterrent? Failed
effective as a punishment? Failed
economic cost? Failed - our prison service is overrun and they get expensive lawsuits
freedom cost for the innocent? Failed - we feel like prisoners in our own homes because we get told the number of times they release dangerous criminals due to overcrowding
cost of accidental punishment? Well since they hardly punish anyone then I guess this is low but that's not really backing it up.
tools of tyranny in the hands of the government? I still don't get this but it still happens under the system we have.

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Originally Posted by shetline View Post

Please don't think I'm a stranger to the emotional side of this. I'd be happy to see horrible things happen to these two guys who did these heinous things to this family. Very happy. Gleeful. If these were my loved ones, I'd be awfully damned tempted to be the one delivering some well-deserved horror myself.

I'm smart enough, however, to know where to draw a bright line between what I'd personally want to have happen and what I'm going to give my government the right and power to systematically make happen.

Tolerance of barbarity doesn't give you a higher moral or intellectual standing.

If you have a son and he comes home bruised black and blue with a bleeding nose and asks you for advice, do you say 'well Timmy did you run away like I said', 'yeah dad but they caught me and pummeled me more', 'well son you were the bigger man'. Then he comes home the next day in the same state and he says 'well, it obviously isn't working is it'.

Then you go to the authorities who can only administer mild punishment and can't really protect your son so you end up picking him up directly from school in order to avoid the conflict. In other words, you are inconvenienced and lose some of your personal freedom in the interests of the bully maintaining his rights.

These days we have the same thing cropping up in small but significant places such as not being able to film your own children at a public school event for fear the tapes might reach the hands of molesters who have been released under a weak system. We have victim's relatives who are made to call up criminals and apologize for verbally abusing them and thereby hurting their feelings. When will it end? We're already seeing school programs that take young offenders out on field trips, to give them something meaningful but inadvertently rewarding them for their crime and giving them a better time than the schmucks stuck in Math class doing what they are told.

In prison, do you suggest taking them to the cinema, giving them a hot girl to bang every week to prove to them it's better on the outside and they should stop reoffending? Oh that's right, by doing that you're rewarding them for being on the inside in the first place. They have comfy beds, TVs, Playstations, activity centers, sports halls, actually they have cinemas too. So where does the punishment start? A lack of freedom is a very minor thing when you get almost all the rewards that freedom offers you without the hard work everybody else has to go through to get them.
post #24 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Nope, under your system remember you'd be violating their human rights.

I don't have time to post a full reply now, but in short... you're full of shit. You're making up what you think "my system" is out of, as far as I can tell, what you think you've heard other people say and a bunch of convenient straw men.

I suggest you re-read everything I've posted in this thread, only the stuff with my name, and think about it.
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We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
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post #25 of 42
The answer to prisons being "crime schools", drugs in prison, inmate violence, and jail feeling like a light sentence? Total isolation as default. Participating in something constructive and staying out of trouble would slowly increase your contact with other people. And no, you wouldn't have a TV, radio, or magazines either at start.

I'd generally like prisons to be unpleasant places, where criminals end up much easier than they currently do, but for much shorter sentences - so that hopefully some of them are shocked out of crime before they become full-on career criminals, or consider the experience unpleasant enough that they'll consider a career change after they are.

To keep costs down there would be another prison with no isolation, for the people who are never getting out. A counterpart to a death row in a system where death penalty exists, if you will.
post #26 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I didn't say exceptional rate, I just said it happens more in certain cultures than others. Therefore saying that one country with less effective crime control yet showing less crime doesn't mean the two go together.

If there is a problem with the culture, why not try to fix the culture instead of leaping back to the Dark Ages for "answers"? Why, apart from your eagerness for blood and vengeance, that is?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The punishment they get has been proven ineffective, to me that's the same as removing the punishment.

I've suggested some non-barbaric alternatives which are more along the lines of what has been effective in other countries.

There's also the issue of reducing crime by reducing poverty. Ending the ridiculous "war on drugs" would be another good step, because all that does is encourage the growth of a violent gang culture fueled largely by the profits to be made in supplying what's now illegal.

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I don't know if you just watch too many movies like Enemy of the State or what but the government is hardly likely to assert some random bouts of extreme violence on people without just cause.

My healthy regard for the need to limit the power of government comes from history books, not movies. Read a few. Take a look at the Federalist Papers some day, for example.

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I'm talking about severely punishing people who are known to be guilty and deserve it. If someone photographs themselves abusing a child, no doubt you'd be the first one to step in and say well maybe it's photoshopped so you'd better not punish him too much in case we've made an error of judgement. In the mean time, the kid who knows fine well they've been abused can only watch in disbelief as the monster who tortured them is given an easy time of it.

Nothing of what I've suggested is an "easy time". It's simply not a system of government-run torture chambers, which seems to be what you're advocating.

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Your method by your description is the system we currently have or at least a progression of it in the same direction that it has been going for years.

Exactly which posts of mine are you reading? On which planet? I have to wonder.

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Of course not but based on severe punishment as a deterrent the crime rate will most certainly reduce considerably...

Again, I ask you to find me one example of a society with institutionalized barbaric punishment where such punishment is handed out "fairly", and where the average law-abiding citizen has anywhere near the kind of freedom we enjoy in modern democracies.

Show me a society that does things like cutting off the hands of thieves, and I'll show you a society where good people live in fear of their government, where such harsh punishments are dealt out to the innocent and to those only guilty of petty crimes far too often, and where the powerful and connected commit far worse crimes than the average hand-severed thief, but the powerful very often get away with their crimes scot free.

Show me a society where the average citizen is very, very safe from his or her fellow citizens -- much safer than you typically see in modern democracies -- and I'll show you a society where citizens aren't safe in their own homes from their own government, where "crime" according to the statistics of that society's oppressive government is low, but the moral equivalent of crime, committed by the government itself, is very high, where the biggest crime is to speak too freely against government policy and government leaders.

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...although it wouldn't really have to in order to justify the system.At the end of the day it's about justice for the victims of crime. You talk about lust for vengeance well surely any punishment is exactly that.

No, it's not "surely that". Because I understand the importance of limited government and check and balances against the abuse of power, I understand that government cannot and should not be trusted to be in the revenge business. It turns out far better in the end for all of us, in the big picture, to aim for the best effective deterrence we can create while not putting powers into the hands of government which history shows us government can't be trusted with.

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Yeah but that's not directly attributable to our changes in the law. A lot of things have changed since then including working conditions, healthcare and overall quality of life.

I'm talking about longer and safer lives solely in the sense of safer from crime, and not cut short by murder. The highest rates of violent crime these days come from gang violence, and it's mostly gang member vs. gang member. If you aren't yourself a criminal or a gang member, you're pretty damned safe today.

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If they were punished in the way they deserve, people wouldn't need to even consider these things.

Incorrect. There's a point of diminishing returns for deterrence through fear. One common trait of many violent criminals is that they lack a normal fear response.

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Punishment for crime should be universal and when people hear of it, their reaction ought to be 'I better not commit this crime or x will happen and I'd hate that' and not 'I'll just get a couple of years in a cell for this where I have no mortgage, no crappy job to go to, 3 square meals a day, time to exercise and watch TV and hang out with my buddies, I'm better off in prison'. Some criminals readily admit they are better off in prison than on the outside.

Hey, their are masochists who love pain, even extreme pain (I know this personally from a very kinky woman I had an interesting relationship with once). By your reasoning then, even the barbarity you suggest wouldn't be "universal" enough.

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Nope, under your system remember you'd be violating their human rights.

Back to your make-believe "my system", I see. Where did I ever say, or even imply, that respecting human rights requires allowing prisoners as much exercise as they like, hanging out with their buddies, or watching TV? Where did I ever say, as you imply later in your post, that I'd advocate that prisoners get video games and sports to play and cinemas to attend?

Prison should be unpleasant -- but unpleasant doesn't have to mean brutalizing. I've already said that social contact, especially physical social contact, should be greatly reduced. Prison should be as boring as possible short of literally driving people insane from boredom, with, as I said, opportunities for escape from boredom having to be earned, and that should mostly involve doing compensatory, educations, and productive things.

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Ok, so lets sum up our current system under those conditions... (summation deleted)

Irrelevant, since I wasn't advocating the current system as-is. This might be a tricky concept for you, but there are more than two possibilities here -- more than your crazy ideas vs. the current system to consider.

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Tolerance of barbarity doesn't give you a higher moral or intellectual standing.

No, but thinking things through better than you obviously have does.

I'm not tolerant of barbarity. In fact, you seem to be a greater advocate of barbarity than I. I'm simply willing to accept a fairly small risk -- which can never be reduced to zero, no matter what you do -- of barbaric crimes commited by fellow citizens over institutionalized barbaric behavior by my government, which I justifiably, with ample historical precedent, consider far riskier.
We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
Reply
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post #27 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

If there is a problem with the culture, why not try to fix the culture instead of leaping back to the Dark Ages for "answers"? Why, apart from your eagerness for blood and vengeance, that is?

Not everybody wants to change their culture, you can't force that on people. You can however force a punishment on people when they step outside the law.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

There's also the issue of reducing crime by reducing poverty. Ending the ridiculous "war on drugs" would be another good step, because all that does is encourage the growth of a violent gang culture fueled largely by the profits to be made in supplying what's now illegal.

Sure that helps reduce crime but it's not an answer to not punishing criminals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

My healthy regard for the need to limit the power of government comes from history books, not movies. Read a few. Take a look at the Federalist Papers some day, for example.

I still think you're going overboard with the paranoia about the government agents coming to rape you at the first opportunity for more power. I'm talking about governments having the power to punish criminals more severely, people who have been tried and convicted by a fair system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

Nothing of what I've suggested is an "easy time". It's simply not a system of government-run torture chambers, which seems to be what you're advocating.

If you think these people deserve less than the torture they inflicted on others then I think it's an easy time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

Again, I ask you to find me one example of a society with institutionalized barbaric punishment where such punishment is handed out "fairly", and where the average law-abiding citizen has anywhere near the kind of freedom we enjoy in modern democracies.

The trouble is that the two are usually disconnected. Societies which promote barbaric punishment usually don't have the same freedoms we do. I'm advocating a system where we have the freedom and liberty we currently have but at the same time harsh punishment for crimes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

I'm talking about longer and safer lives solely in the sense of safer from crime, and not cut short by murder. The highest rates of violent crime these days come from gang violence, and it's mostly gang member vs. gang member. If you aren't yourself a criminal or a gang member, you're pretty damned safe today.

Funny you should mention that, just this afternoon, a gang of 10 teenage youths walked by my house and smashed my car mirror and kicked my front door. They didn't physically harm me because I was inside my house but I don't really feel pretty damned safe being outnumbered 10 to 1 with the only assurance that under the weak system you love, the police call them the 'untouchables'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

Incorrect. There's a point of diminishing returns for deterrence through fear. One common trait of many violent criminals is that they lack a normal fear response.

So then they need that fear response back. Putting them in a nice safe sell with luxuries doesn't seem like an effective way to do that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

Hey, their are masochists who love pain, even extreme pain (I know this personally from a very kinky woman I had an interesting relationship with once). By your reasoning then, even the barbarity you suggest wouldn't be "universal" enough.

I don't need to know about your relationship with your mum but despite the fact that a minority of people like pain doesn't mean it's worse than an overwhelming majority who prefer comfort. Also masochists only like pain when there is relief after it, usually sexual. This would not be the case in prison.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

Back to your make-believe "my system", I see.

If you want me to stop misjudging your perfect system, you need to define it better. You just keep saying no barbarism but you don't give any solutions that to date have proven to be effective in reducing recidivism. Exactly the opposite. Do you think that the people with severed hands go on to be life-long thieves?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

Where did I ever say, or even imply, that respecting human rights requires allowing prisoners as much exercise as they like, hanging out with their buddies, or watching TV? Where did I ever say, as you imply later in your post, that I'd advocate that prisoners get video games and sports to play and cinemas to attend?

You didn't imply that but it seems like you approve of the current system and that's what happens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

Prison should be unpleasant -- but unpleasant doesn't have to mean brutalizing. I've already said that social contact, especially physical social contact, should be greatly reduced. Prison should be as boring as possible short of literally driving people insane from boredom, with, as I said, opportunities for escape from boredom having to be earned, and that should mostly involve doing compensatory, educations, and productive things.

So the way to reform a psychopath who by choice leads a solitary life on the outside gets the choice to lead a solitary life in the inside and the only expense is the loss of a few activities they probably aren't interested in anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

Irrelevant, since I wasn't advocating the current system as-is. This might be a tricky concept for you, but there are more than two possibilities here -- more than your crazy ideas vs. the current system to consider.

Ok so define your ideal system.

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Originally Posted by shetline View Post

No, but thinking things through better than you obviously have does.

By thinking through you mean considering barbarism and rejecting it and that's it?

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Originally Posted by shetline View Post

I'm not tolerant of barbarity. In fact, you seem to be a greater advocate of barbarity than I.

You tolerate barbarism by criminals when you don't punish it effectively. I tolerate barbarism as a punishment for it. I think my tolerance is least damaging.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

I'm simply willing to accept a fairly small risk -- which can never be reduced to zero, no matter what you do -- of barbaric crimes commited by fellow citizens over institutionalized barbaric behavior by my government, which I justifiably, with ample historical precedent, consider far riskier.

You consider putting the lives of millions of innocent people at risk by under-punishing to be a fairly small risk vs a system where a handful of wrongly convicted people will be undeservedly punished? Would these historical examples be societies where they use barbaric forms of punishment and are not just generally barbaric in everything?
post #28 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline View Post

Incorrect. There's a point of diminishing returns for deterrence through fear. One common trait of many violent criminals is that they lack a normal fear response.

Yes. Reckless types enter the "profession" more frequently, and they become further desensitized doing crimes and getting away/surviving, which is positive reinforcement. But capacity for fear isn't half of it.

All humans are phenomenally poor calculators of odds and expected value, unless specifically trained. Besides being unnatural in general, it requires long term, abstract thinking. Guess what criminals generally aren't good at?

Then there's the fact that punishment isn't on an absolute scale where you could look at straight expected value, cash earned, years in jail, but human scale. When someone commits a bank robbery or similar crime, theoretically they know there is a chance of getting caught, but any punishment coming their way is big enough that if at gut level they were not extremely confident they'll get away with it, they would not do it.

So Marvin: no matter how much you raise the sentence, zero chance of getting caught times infinity is still zero.

Short sentences made shocking by the isolation and deprivation of interaction, followed by guidance to get that person's problems fixed, need to come out at an early point in a person's criminal career to have an effect. In my country, it's far too difficult to get someone in jail.
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Prison should be unpleasant -- but unpleasant doesn't have to mean brutalizing. I've already said that social contact, especially physical social contact, should be greatly reduced. Prison should be as boring as possible short of literally driving people insane from boredom, with, as I said, opportunities for escape from boredom having to be earned, and that should mostly involve doing compensatory, educations, and productive things.

Sounds good to me. Monte Cristo style, with a little leg-stretching, and if you want something better you'll work for it. In my mind, that'd mean no TV, no Playstation, no radio, no magazines.. books allowed. I guess you need to allow religious mainstays like the Bible and the Quran in order to stay within the law, anyway? And if you only allowed those, then it'd be sort of pushing religion.

You are mistaken, btw, to specifically call for limitations to prisoner fitness. How fit you are has very little to do with how dangerous you are. Mindset and weapons are the two main ingredients of dangerous. If you take away the need of prisoners to defend themselves against other prisoners, and if you snuff out the drug trade (roids), both of which ought to be easier in isolation, I don't believe there's a problem. I have heard politicians try to score points among the crime- and violence-ignorant crowd by promising to make the released criminals less dangerous.. by putting a limit on the weight of barbells in jail weight rooms. Consider an inmate that - even if he has some conviction for a violent crime - does not show a systematic pattern of violence or control issues. If he has behaved well inside, I'm not even going to stop him from practicing a fighting sport like boxing or BJJ on the exercise time he earns.

Being fit enables you to do hard physical labor and work at odd hours keeping a bit of concentration. These characterize many jobs that inmates are likely to find themselves in after getting out. I have heard exercising helps staying off chemical addictions, again something that many inmates could use.

Finally, exercise (weightlifting as one of the best kinds) in a very concrete fashion teaches you that results are only attainable through hard work. When you get this fact through to a person with negative or no experience in education and/or work, he might be able to apply it to those areas. For good results, you also have to have a long-term system with a bit of thought behind it, so it builds patience and dedication. That's something non-lifters usually do not realize.
post #29 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gon View Post

Short sentences made shocking by the isolation and deprivation of interaction, followed by guidance to get that person's problems fixed, need to come out at an early point in a person's criminal career to have an effect.

I dunno. Maybe.

There's a body of research dedicated solely to recidivism, so I mean a lot of what we're talking about here is just conjecture.
post #30 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Not everybody wants to change their culture, you can't force that on people. You can however force a punishment on people when they step outside the law.

Slavery was part of our culture once. We haven't shaken off all of the vestiges of racism left over from that, but we've certainly made more progress there than we have with eliminating crime and recidivism.

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Sure that helps reduce crime but it's not an answer to not punishing criminals.

It would certainly help if you could manage to deal with concepts in something other than a binary fashion. I never suggested "not punishing criminals". You may not think what I'm suggesting is enough punishment or effective enough punishment -- but you know damned well "not punishing criminals" is a straw man.

It's a good thing for you I don't have the power or authority to enforce what I think you "deserve" for being such a putz about the dishonest way you carry on an argument.

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I still think you're going overboard with the paranoia about the government agents coming to rape you at the first opportunity for more power. I'm talking about governments having the power to punish criminals more severely, people who have been tried and convicted by a fair system.

And what you're not getting is that these two things -- personal liberty and severity of punishment -- are closely linked. The same kinds of governments that inflict severe punishments are and always have been the same kind that greatly limit personal freedom and inflict their barbaric punishments for political as well as criminal reasons.

That's not simply a mere coincidence. That's not something where you can say, "Well, we'll just make sure we keep our personal liberty when bring in the hand-chopping blocks and the iron maidens and the hot eye-pokers and the thumbscrews into our penal system. You'll see! It'll work out fine!"

Any society willing to sanction and institutionalize such punishments simply will not be the kind of society that tolerates political dissent either. These things do not go together. That's why I keep asking you for historical examples of anything like what you suggest -- personal liberty and routine, institutionalized cruel and unusual punishment side by side, coexisting in harmony. You can't find that because it doesn't and hasn't ever existed.

Do you imagine you're onto a bold new experiment in justice that's never been tried before?

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If you think these people deserve less than the torture they inflicted on others then I think it's an easy time.

No, what I think is that emotionally-charged judgments of what this person or that "deserve" have no place in a criminal justice system or a penal system, at least if you have any sense about the importance of limiting government power and the poisonous downside for all of society when you have institutionalized torture. Such concerns are not mere paranoia -- they are a matter of historical fact.

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The trouble is that the two are usually disconnected. Societies which promote barbaric punishment usually don't have the same freedoms we do. I'm advocating a system where we have the freedom and liberty we currently have but at the same time harsh punishment for crimes.

You almost got there on your own -- and then you veered off into rage-driven unreality. It's not mere coincidence, it not because it hasn't been tried before, that institutionalized barbaric punishment and well-protected personal liberty aren't seen hanging out with each other.

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Funny you should mention that, just this afternoon, a gang of 10 teenage youths walked by my house and smashed my car mirror and kicked my front door. They didn't physically harm me because I was inside my house but I don't really feel pretty damned safe being outnumbered 10 to 1 with the only assurance that under the weak system you love, the police call them the 'untouchables'.

Ah, nothing like personal anecdotes to shine clear light on a subject.

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So then they need that fear response back. Putting them in a nice safe sell with luxuries doesn't seem like an effective way to do that.

You really aren't getting what this lack of fear means. People who lack a normal fear response don't suddenly learn to fear because you brutalize them -- they can go through awful experiences and still don't learn to fear. It's a biochemical issue -- not a matter of not having scared them "enough".

And as another poster pointed out -- most people, criminals especially -- are absolutely terrible at making risk/reward calculations. No matter how great a potential punishment is, if someone rates their risk of being subject to that punishment as being very low -- I'm not talking about very intelligent assessments here -- and rates the instant gratification of doing what they want to do and getting what they want as a great benefit -- the most horrendous punishment will serve little or no deterrent value.

Of course, you can still get back to harping on what these criminals "deserve" -- regardless of its effective deterrent value -- but I've already offered good reasons, whether you understand or accept those reasons, why that's a counterproductive avenue to pursue, yes, counterproductive even for the ultimate good of the people who are angry that criminals haven't been punished "enough".

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If you want me to stop misjudging your perfect system, you need to define it better.

So "my system" is whatever straw man you want it to be unless I enter this thread from my very first post with a twenty page essay covering every single aspect of what I'd recommend, with you free to fill in any blanks with any ridiculous stupidity you want to until I do?

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You just keep saying no barbarism but you don't give any solutions that to date have proven to be effective in reducing recidivism.

I've never said an such thing. I forgot that I was supposed to supply that twenty page essay right at the start and that you get to fill in any straw man you like until I do.
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Exactly the opposite. Do you think that the people with severed hands go on to be life-long thieves?

Better yet, just kill all criminals at the first offense. Incredibly effective at reducing -- nay, eliminating! -- recidivism. I think, however, you'll find the society that punishes that way to be a very poisonous and corrupt society to live in, whether it stops at "merely" cutting people's hands off or goes all the way to the easier, more "sensible" solution of just killing all the bad guys. And killing is more "sensible", after all, isn't it? Much cheaper than prison, especially if you eliminate the tedious and expensive appeals process -- bah, let's just kill a few extra innocent people for efficiency's sake, it's worth the results! It's probably even cheaper than chopping hands off. Further, people with ex-criminals with missing hands aren't generally the kind of folk who have much to offer the world in the way of productive intellectual capacity, and given their decided disadvantage at the alternative of manual labor, you might as well just kill them off from the start and "reduce the excess population".

(Psstt... the previous paragraph requires that you recognize the difference between me mischaracterizing your stance, and me presenting a "reductio ad absurdum" argument.)

Quote:
So the way to reform a psychopath who by choice leads a solitary life on the outside gets the choice to lead a solitary life in the inside and the only expense is the loss of a few activities they probably aren't interested in anyway.

The solitary psychopath is the exception, not the rule. Most of our violence is gang violence, and it happens in a social context that promotes violence. Solitary psychopaths might need to be handled differently -- fortunately, I'm capable of imagining flexible solutions more subtle than your next cartoon caricature of "my system" that you decide to argue against.

Quote:
Ok so define your ideal system.

I'll do it that in my dear sweet time, over the course of a discussion like I would if I could treat you like a reasonable person. But as long as you're putting forth this bullshit premise that I'm liable for any convenient mischaracterization you can conveniently blame me for, until I've explicitly ruled out every possible mischaracterization ahead of time -- no way I'm playing that stupid game.

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You consider putting the lives of millions of innocent people at risk by under-punishing to be a fairly small risk vs a system where a handful of wrongly convicted people will be undeservedly punished?

Unquantified risk is a pointless thing to argue about. Every time you drive your car, you subject innocent people to risk -- you could, after all, suddenly have a heart attack or brain aneurysm and go out of control. Since I don't know who you might hit -- and it could be any out of millions of people -- I could say you're putting millions of people at risk. And yes, I can live with that much risk.

Obviously risks from criminals are higher, but they aren't that high, not high enough warrant institutionalization of techniques of punishment which have always gone hand-and-hand with repressive government.

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Would these historical examples be societies where they use barbaric forms of punishment and are not just generally barbaric in everything?

That's what I'd like to see an example of, if you can find one.
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We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
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post #31 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gon View Post

Being fit enables you to do hard physical labor and work at odd hours keeping a bit of concentration. These characterize many jobs that inmates are likely to find themselves in after getting out. I have heard exercising helps staying off chemical addictions, again something that many inmates could use.

Finally, exercise (weightlifting as one of the best kinds) in a very concrete fashion teaches you that results are only attainable through hard work. When you get this fact through to a person with negative or no experience in education and/or work, he might be able to apply it to those areas. For good results, you also have to have a long-term system with a bit of thought behind it, so it builds patience and dedication. That's something non-lifters usually do not realize.

I don't think that very many jobs ex-prisoners might take are going to require them to be rippling with enormous muscles -- a certain base level of fitness would be plenty, and people will strengthen on the job pretty quickly in jobs requiring lots of brute physical strength.

However, I'm willing to rethink what I said about allowing heavy workouts if the benefits for learning self-discipline, and perhaps other neurochemical benefits of exercise as well, outweigh the risks inmates might pose to each other by turning their bodies into, oh, effective weaponless killing machines

The big thing I'd like to see -- and certainly far more important than my aside about fitness -- is very, very little mixing of inmates in large groups which can't be carefully supervised -- leave most socializing to talking or shouting through cell bars to whomever happens to be in range, if that's what it takes to end prisoner-on-prisoner violence, drug trafficking within prisons, formation of racism-based prison gangs, etc.
We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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post #32 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gon View Post

When someone commits a bank robbery or similar crime, theoretically they know there is a chance of getting caught, but any punishment coming their way is big enough that if at gut level they were not extremely confident they'll get away with it, they would not do it.

So Marvin: no matter how much you raise the sentence, zero chance of getting caught times infinity is still zero.

I agree there needs to be more work involved in getting guilty people convicted but also harder, even if shorter punishment administered. It's not just about being caught that is the deterrent. It's also what will happen to them if caught. If the likelihood of getting caught is high but not certain and the punishment is low, there is still very little deterrent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gon View Post

Short sentences made shocking by the isolation and deprivation of interaction, followed by guidance to get that person's problems fixed, need to come out at an early point in a person's criminal career to have an effect.

Yeah that's the kind of thing I'd like to see. Harsh, short punishment that acts as a deterrent and frees up the prison overcrowding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline

Slavery was part of our culture once. We haven't shaken off all of the vestiges of racism left over from that, but we've certainly made more progress there than we have with eliminating crime and recidivism.

Ok but slavery is a bit different. Slavery was abolished and made illegal. You can't just propose crime to be illegal and it'll go away. As you said, there will always be crime and it will always need punishment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline

It's a good thing for you I don't have the power or authority to enforce what I think you "deserve" for being such a putz about the dishonest way you carry on an argument.

Yeah, easy way to win an argument, throw insults at anybody who opposes you and pretend that you know better. I have no idea what you are talking about when you say I'm being dishonest. If you mean by describing your system in a way different from how you haven't bothered to describe then I think you're far more guilty of the dishonesty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline

And what you're not getting is that these two things -- personal liberty and severity of punishment -- are closely linked.

I should get it because you say it's the right answer? You can draw a lot of conclusions from historical events that don't necessarily constitute solid evidence. In the same way that a casino might show that nobody has ever won black number 11 at roulette therefore no-one will ever do so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline

That's why I keep asking you for historical examples of anything like what you suggest -- personal liberty and routine, institutionalized cruel and unusual punishment side by side, coexisting in harmony. You can't find that because it doesn't and hasn't ever existed.

Do you imagine you're onto a bold new experiment in justice that's never been tried before?

If it hasn't been done before then that would make it new.

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Originally Posted by shetline

Ah, nothing like personal anecdotes to shine clear light on a subject.

Yeah you like hiding from the facts in order to protect your own idealised view of the world.

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Originally Posted by shetline

People who lack a normal fear response don't suddenly learn to fear because you brutalize them -- they can go through awful experiences and still don't learn to fear.

It's possible but I doubt they'll be jumping at the chance for more of the same. Kids were brutalized to some extent in older schools and they learned to fear and respect their peers. Now they can punch them in the face, spit on them and swear at them (and do). Those facts can be ignored too though.

Not everyone will respond to it but the majority will.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline

So "my system" is whatever straw man you want it to be unless I enter this thread from my very first post with a twenty page essay covering every single aspect of what I'd recommend, with you free to fill in any blanks with any ridiculous stupidity you want to until I do?

Well I can use that to destroy any argument you make againt 'my system' too then. I can't define 'my system' enough in a limited thread so therefore nothing you say can make it look bad because you just don't know the full details.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline

Better yet, just kill all criminals at the first offense. Incredibly effective at reducing -- nay, eliminating! -- recidivism. I think, however, you'll find the society that punishes that way to be a very poisonous and corrupt society to live in

I'd rather have a society like that than one who lives in fear of having hundreds of child molesters spread throughout their towns and cities. Anyway you're again describing extremes to make it look like absurd. Oh look everyone he's going to throw criminals who say a swear word into tree chopper and watch them splat into a million pieces to satisfy his lust for vengeance, what a moron.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline

The solitary psychopath is the exception, not the rule.

Just like those who don't respond to harsh punishment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline

Unquantified risk is a pointless thing to argue about. Every time you drive your car, you subject innocent people to risk -- you could, after all, suddenly have a heart attack or brain aneurysm and go out of control. Since I don't know who you might hit -- and it could be any out of millions of people -- I could say you're putting millions of people at risk. And yes, I can live with that much risk.

Obviously risks from criminals are higher, but they aren't that high, not high enough warrant institutionalization of techniques of punishment which have always gone hand-and-hand with repressive government.

It's the scale of risk. If you reduce the punishment for every criminal then the problem is far worse than drivers who might have an unintentional accident. It would be the equivalent of saying that reducing the discipline involved in driving instruction increases the harm to innocent civilians and that's exactly the same argument.
post #33 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I agree there needs to be more work involved in getting guilty people convicted but also harder, even if shorter punishment administered. It's not just about being caught that is the deterrent. It's also what will happen to them if caught. If the likelihood of getting caught is high but not certain and the punishment is low, there is still very little deterrent.

What I find fascinating is the way this crime is presented in the media as a threat to all of us. It's one unforunate incident, the kind of brutal sad misfortune that befalls some of us "god fearing whitefolks" (think of the murders publicized in Capote's In Cold Blood, the Tate-LaBianca killings, etc). every once and a while, but happens quite often to poor people (only to get a paragraph in the local newspaper or 10 seconds on the evening news). Then middle and upper middle class suburban/exurban communities freak out, and call for protection by any means possible. Ambitious politicians respond to the people who vote for them, and more importantly, foor their campaign bills: toughening laws, maybe even using such events as a reason for ending parole, or incarcerating all drug users, without the option of treatment.

Meanwhile urban communities of color want increased police presence--with cops that come from the community--as one tool among many for it's preventive effects, and more jobs and after school youth programs. And poor rural communities just want jobs. More cops, harsher laws and more prisons are the compromise we get: a place to put the deviants and the desparate, while providing the needed jobs for the rural constituents of congress.

Last week I was watching a documentary on public TV on the impact of the expansion of the prison system on one small California town. They had a statistic that I thought was off the wall: one in ten children born today will have been incarcerated by 2050. They also had a graphic showing the explosion of the prison industry: it's booming on towns that once relied on agriculture, mining, forestry and industry.

Once you build all those prisons, you gotta keep them filled. Now that becomes a real risk to everyone, especially as we correct the systemic imbalances in our criminal justice that tended to result in higher incarceration rates amongst the poor and darker-skinned. Be careful what you wish for...
post #34 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ptrash View Post

Be careful what you wish for...

That notion seems completely alien to Marvin, I'm afraid.
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Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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post #35 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ptrash View Post

What I find fascinating is the way this crime is presented in the media as a threat to all of us. It's one unforunate incident

It was a brutal crime perpetrated against a random family. To me that suggests it was a threat to everyone. Had these criminals not been allowed out time after time unpunished because of a soft justice system, this may never have happened. No-one can say for any certainty that it wouldn't have happened but the fact is their crimes were left unpunished for decades. If they know they can get away with petty crime, maybe one day they just decided to take the next step. Or maybe they figured their prison life was better than the outside and instead of always having to reoffend to get back in, they went for the big one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ptrash View Post

Meanwhile urban communities of color want increased police presence--with cops that come from the community--as one tool among many for it's preventive effects, and more jobs and after school youth programs. And poor rural communities just want jobs. More cops, harsher laws and more prisons are the compromise we get: a place to put the deviants and the desparate, while providing the needed jobs for the rural constituents of congress.

Well naturally giving people what they want is the obvious solution to crime but it's not always feasible. Also when you say people *just* want jobs, do they want the jobs that involve scrubbing toilets and serving up happy meals or the kind where they get paid to do nothing all day? You can't just paint a nice picture of hardened gun-toting gang members as people who are oppressed and would clean up if only they could get the chance. That's completely bending the truth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ptrash View Post

Last week I was watching a documentary on public TV on the impact of the expansion of the prison system on one small California town. They had a statistic that I thought was off the wall: one in ten children born today will have been incarcerated by 2050. They also had a graphic showing the explosion of the prison industry: it's booming on towns that once relied on agriculture, mining, forestry and industry.

Once you build all those prisons, you gotta keep them filled. Now that becomes a real risk to everyone, especially as we correct the systemic imbalances in our criminal justice that tended to result in higher incarceration rates amongst the poor and darker-skinned. Be careful what you wish for...

Why should *I* be the one careful about what I wish for? Nothing I've said would involve filling these prisons nor require there to even be more prisons. Shorter, harsher sentencing reduces crime and prison overcrowding. The only reason that this problem exists is because the only powers the system currently implemented have as punishment is prison time. That's it, time to think about what they've done, the naughty people. They have to stay somewhere for a long time. Since it's no deterrent for future crime as the stats will show you then this means more people in for a long time, therefore more prisons. So yeah you should be careful what you wish for because the projections you see are based on the current system.
post #36 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Shorter, harsher sentencing reduces crime and prison overcrowding.

Surprise me and tell me you didn't just pull that statistic from your ass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

The only reason that this problem exists is because the only powers the system currently implemented have as punishment is prison time. That's it, time to think about what they've done, the naughty people. They have to stay somewhere for a long time. Since it's no deterrent for future crime as the stats will show you then this means more people in for a long time, therefore more prisons. So yeah you should be careful what you wish for because the projections you see are based on the current system.

Being that I work for a criminal judge, I can verify that you are indeed pulling these "facts" from your ass. Especially for drug and alcohol offenders, we have a plethora of court-ordered sentences that don't involve prison time. In my county we have special treatment courts where accepted people must follow a court-ordered treatment plan. We have rehabilitation programs for DUI offenders. We have halfway houses, house arrest, work-release programs (which often only involve weekend prison stays) and special probation (with the aid of a Lindsay Lohan-esque SCRAM bracelet to detect drug or alcohol use). We have a highly structured state intermediate punishment program which involves a lot more than just prison. The fact is that the courts are involved in administering a variety of programs serving in lieu of prison time.
post #37 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ View Post

The fact is that the courts are involved in administering a variety of programs serving in lieu of prison time.

Yeah, yeah... all that soft criminal-coddling liberal bullshit. None of your "variety of programs" involve dank, cold, pitch-black holes in the ground. Where's the mutilation? There's not even a little bit of non-mutilating torture, for crissake. Where are Marvin's proven recidivism-reducing techniques?

Well, okay, maybe they're not proven -- except that cutting thieves' hands off thing. That one pretty much rules out most future theft -- well, of most kinds. But damn it, proven or not, the evil-doers MUST PAY, and pay HARD. NOTHING ELSE MATTERS!!! IT'S JUSTICE, DAMN IT, DO YOU HEAR ME!? JUSTICE!!!
We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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post #38 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Are the people who make up the law a bunch of retards or something?

"Each is charged with aggravated sexual assault, arson, robbery, kidnapping and risk of injury to a minor."

The story says they were raped and their surroundings set on fire, so why they hell are they not charged with rape and attempted murder?

Also, when would someone have stopped and thought, y'know these guys have been doing crime all their lives, maybe just maybe the system isn't working.

The death penalty is too good for them IMO. A painless lethal injection? How about tying them to a bed and watching them burn alive. That poor guy is going to get a life sentence and will live with what they did to his family and they just get put to sleep. That's not justice.

I feel the same. Somebody kills another person and gets a painless injection? How is that justice? HE WANTS TO DIE if he is killing people. They ought to burn him right after making him into a unic.
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post #39 of 42
Thread Starter 
Here's a followup article from the Courant.

Apparently the mother, Jennifer, had multiple sclerosis herself and she was very active in raising money for MS research.

And here is some more info regarding their murder charges filed on Thursday. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
post #40 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ View Post

Surprise me and tell me you didn't just pull that statistic from your ass.

Nope, they've been covered time and time again in research. Here are two, I'll pick out salient points:

http://papers.nber.org/papers/W6484
http://socialissues.wiseto.com/Articles/FO3020630076/

"increased punishments that are added on to prison sentences"
"We test the model using California's Proposition 8 which imposed sentence enhancements for a selected group of crimes. In the year following its passage, crimes covered by Proposition 8 fell by more than 10 percent relative to similar crimes not affected by the law, suggesting a large deterrent effect. Three years after the law comes into effect, eligible crimes have fallen roughly 20-40 percent compared to non-eligible crimes. This large deterrent effect suggests that sentence enhancements, and may be more cost-effective than is generally thought."

Historically, the juvenile justice system was intended to protect children from society and save children gone astray. Today it continues to operate under the principle of what is best for the child. This system is inappropriate for violent children who commit adult crimes, observed attorney Linda J. Collier.
John Ashcroft, former Attorney General of the United States, asserted that, despite heavy investments in programs to treat and counsel delinquent and at-risk youth, the Federal Government has failed to effectively protect its citizens from juvenile violence. The government, said Ashcroft, has not focused on holding juveniles accountable for their violent crimes. We now have a new category of offenders that require a different, tougher approach. In short, we have criminals in our midstyoung criminalsnot juvenile pranksters and truants.
The severity of crimes committed by juveniles has shocked some backers of the death penalty, who believe it should applied to minors as well. Our society needs to reconsider the death penalty as the standard punishment for murder. To deter crime and make the death penalty more effective we should not condone murders that children between 1117 commit,

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m..._15261919/pg_1

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ View Post

Especially for drug and alcohol offenders, we have a plethora of court-ordered sentences that don't involve prison time. In my county we have special treatment courts where accepted people must follow a court-ordered treatment plan. We have rehabilitation programs for DUI offenders.

That's not a punishment either. I was talking about "the only powers the system currently implemented have as punishment". Rehab is not a punishment any more than it is for a celebrity who does so voluntarily.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline

Well, okay, maybe they're not proven -- except that cutting thieves' hands off thing. That one pretty much rules out most future theft -- well, of most kinds.

Now you're getting it. If a rapist gets his tackle cut off then it's a huge deterrent for people who consider doing the same and an absolutely 100% effective method for reducing recidivism.

Or we could do what you want and let's ask how the actual child molester in the above link feels about it:

"prison is not a deterrent for most sex offenders, and it definitely will not be a deterrent for me. I do not want to return to prison; I would like to be a law abiding citizen. But the threat of being incarcerated for the rest of my life--and the threat of spending, as I believe I will, an eternity in hell--will not stop me from re-offending when I am released."

"The fact is, prison is nothing more than an oversized, overpriced homeless shelter. Inmates are well fed and clothed and have warm beds to sleep in, all for free. To sex offenders, loss of freedom simply means there are no children available to rape. But we can get child pornography, we can fantasize about the children we watch on television, and we have the memories of our past crimes. Moreover, sex is plentiful in prison. We substitute young-looking partners for children and let our imagination do the rest."

When some people say harsh sentencing, they refer to longer jail time. I don't consider that harsh for the reasons given. Rehabilitation can't be all that is administered or people won't get the idea that what they do is abhorrent and wrong, they will just consider that they did something objectionable but nothing a simple apology won't fix and that's not enough because you are then failing the victims. It's not a case where you go up to a criminal and tell them 'you burned and mutilated that guy's children, now go and say you're sorry like we practiced in rehab' <- that is absurd.
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