Should drugs be tested on criminals?

For the serious discussion of weighty matters and worldly issues. No off-topic posts allowed.

Moderators: Azrael, Prelates, Moderators General

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby Kizyr » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:10 pm UTC

One fundamental problem I see in this is making me agree more and more with TheGrammarBolshevik on how the power structure in a prison is inherently unbalanced...

Namely, offering reduced sentences in exchange for submission to medical tests is the same thing as giving longer sentences to people who do not submit to medical tests; it only depends on your reference point. So, if people who commit armed robbery on average get 10 years behind bars (ignoring or counting parole in the average--doesn't matter in this example), and you offer 3 years commuted service for submission to medical tests, you've basically set up a system where people either:
1) Submit to tests and only have a 7 year sentence, or
2) Don't submit to tests and have a 10 year sentence

Since you're altering the parameters of an existing punishment as a "reward" for being a medical guinea pig, you're effectively punishing more harshly those people who don't submit to such tests.

EstLladon wrote:Well maybe not drug testing, but for example something good can come from blood drives in prison. If you pay your inmates with reducing their jailtime for like a week for a clean blood sample they will probably be willing to give blood. This can actually save lives. And the prisoners will be less likely to take drugs (don't they smuggle drugs into prisons? because I do not really know). Giving blood does not harm you significantly.

This suffers from the same problem as I cited above. In effect, it punishes those people who do not, or cannot, give blood. While on principle it seems pretty benign, in effect it would punish more severely people who can't donate blood (due to HIV/AIDS, iron-deficiency anemia, lycanthropy, etc.), and anyone who was simply unwilling to donate every month. KF
~Kaiser
Image
User avatar
Kizyr
 
Posts: 2070
Joined: Wed Nov 15, 2006 4:16 am UTC
Location: Virginia

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby natraj » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:15 pm UTC

To me, the difference between other jobs prisoners could be forced to do and medical testing is that medical testing could potentially have permanent consequences to the prisoners. Prison isn't meant to be a permanent consequence, generally speaking. It's fine if people are volunteering entirely out of their own free will when they're aware of risks that might happen in medical testing, but as has been pointed out already, a prison is inherently not a place conducive to making completely consensual choices.
You want to know the future, love? Then wait:
I'll answer your impatient questions. Still --
They'll call it chance, or luck, or call it Fate,
The cards and stars that tumble as they will.
User avatar
natraj
 
Posts: 1476
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:13 pm UTC
Location: away from Omelas

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby EstLladon » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:33 pm UTC

Kizyr: you are missing something - I didn't tried to make some people more punished than the others.
I think that "10 years" can be equaled to "10-x years with regular blood giving" because blood giving is not exactly pleasant experience.
From Russia with math.
EstLladon
Beat you to the park. From RUSSIA.
 
Posts: 483
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 10:23 am UTC

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby MarshyMarsh » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:51 pm UTC

Donating organs isn't a pleasant experience. I would argue you take 2 years of my sentence if I give them my kidney. It is just an extension of giving blood. If you were to start bringing in drug testing, people would begin to wonder about other testings, but setting up a set of basic rights for prisoners we can avoid atrocities.
MarshyMarsh
 
Posts: 140
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2007 7:43 pm UTC
Location: UK

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby Malice » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:53 pm UTC

natraj wrote:To me, the difference between other jobs prisoners could be forced to do and medical testing is that medical testing could potentially have permanent consequences to the prisoners. Prison isn't meant to be a permanent consequence, generally speaking.


What about the specific cases when it is? Life without parole, or the death penalty?

Well, even then, I'm reluctant to do that when our justice system is still fallible. Nevermind.

It's fine if people are volunteering entirely out of their own free will when they're aware of risks that might happen in medical testing, but as has been pointed out already, a prison is inherently not a place conducive to making completely consensual choices.


Is the situation drastically different from outside, where drug tests basically depend on people who desperately need the money?
Image
User avatar
Malice
 
Posts: 3894
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 5:37 am UTC
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby SummerGlauFan » Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:29 pm UTC

Hmm, Malice, you gave me an idea. What if it were used as an alternative to the death penalty? Basically life in prison, but now someone who would otherwise just be a drain on the system and die now gives something back.
glasnt wrote:"As she raised her rifle against the creature, her hair fluttered beneath the red florescent lighting of the locked down building.

I knew from that moment that she was something special"


Outbreak, a tale of love and zombies.

In stores now.
User avatar
SummerGlauFan
 
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:27 pm UTC
Location: KS

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby Azrael » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:22 pm UTC

I think you'd run into serious issues with the concept of cruel and unusual punishment.
User avatar
Azrael
Unintentionally Intoxicated
 
Posts: 6202
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2007 1:16 am UTC
Location: Boston

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby Malice » Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:30 am UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:Hmm, Malice, you gave me an idea. What if it were used as an alternative to the death penalty? Basically life in prison, but now someone who would otherwise just be a drain on the system and die now gives something back.


Malice wrote:Well, even then, I'm reluctant to do that when our justice system is still fallible. Nevermind.

Does that need further explanation?

--

Azrael wrote:I think you'd run into serious issues with the concept of cruel and unusual punishment.


Are we allowed to provide what might be termed cruel and unusual punishment if the prisoner desires it? If the prisoner says "I want to do something good before you kill me, test some drugs on me", does that become a constitutionally acceptable action?
Image
User avatar
Malice
 
Posts: 3894
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 5:37 am UTC
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby natraj » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:23 am UTC

Malice wrote:What about the specific cases when it is? Life without parole, or the death penalty?

Well, even then, I'm reluctant to do that when our justice system is still fallible. Nevermind.

It's fine if people are volunteering entirely out of their own free will when they're aware of risks that might happen in medical testing, but as has been pointed out already, a prison is inherently not a place conducive to making completely consensual choices.


Is the situation drastically different from outside, where drug tests basically depend on people who desperately need the money?


No, I don't think it is drastically different than on the outside, where poverty also creates pretty not-really-free-will situations. But that doesn't mean it's right to do it in prison. I don't think the idea of drug testing is inherently evil or anything, but it does seem pretty hard to find good situations with which to put it into practice.

And, yeah. Even in situations like life without parole/death penalty, I don't think it would be any good unless our justice system was infallible.
You want to know the future, love? Then wait:
I'll answer your impatient questions. Still --
They'll call it chance, or luck, or call it Fate,
The cards and stars that tumble as they will.
User avatar
natraj
 
Posts: 1476
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:13 pm UTC
Location: away from Omelas

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby The Mad Scientist » Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:38 am UTC

Malice wrote:Are you saying there's no benefit to drug testing?


No. Why?

Malice wrote:That most people don't feel strongly opposed to prison inmates doing laundry or making license plates. Were you one of those people, you'd right now be quivering in shock at the power of my argument. Apparently you are not one of those people.


No, I am not one of those people.

Kizyr made a good point, but didn't quite take the argument to its logical conclusion. Not only could the policy of offering reduced sentences to those who submit to experimental drug tests be construed as one of punishing those who don't, it would almost certainly lead to dramatically harsher sentences in general, on the grounds that if convicts submit to testing, they can receive a more "appropriate" sentence. Ten or so years after such a policy were implemented we'd see, for instance, sentences which used to be five years become ten years, with five off for submission to drug testing.
The Mad Scientist
 
Posts: 129
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 6:09 am UTC

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby Malice » Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:46 am UTC

The Mad Scientist wrote:Kizyr made a good point, but didn't quite take the argument to its logical conclusion. Not only could the policy of offering reduced sentences to those who submit to experimental drug tests be construed as one of punishing those who don't, it would almost certainly lead to dramatically harsher sentences in general, on the grounds that if convicts submit to testing, they can receive a more "appropriate" sentence. Ten or so years after such a policy were implemented we'd see, for instance, sentences which used to be five years become ten years, with five off for submission to drug testing.


I don't disagree, but just out of curiosity, do you know of any time when this has actually happened? A lessening of a statute leading to more maximum penalties, that sort of thing?
Image
User avatar
Malice
 
Posts: 3894
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 5:37 am UTC
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby lesliesage » Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:40 pm UTC

puzzle
Last edited by lesliesage on Sun Oct 10, 2010 8:00 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
lesliesage
 
Posts: 1729
Joined: Thu May 31, 2007 8:07 pm UTC
Location: Washington, DC

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby GoC » Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:31 pm UTC

MarshyMarsh wrote:Why not practice new death drugs on those on death row? They are going to die anyway.

Good question.
I'd say someone on the death row now has no rights and can be experimented on as needed. Of course, I'm assuming that he's got the death penalty due to completely incontrovertible evidence (ten different reliable witnesses, a confession, DNA tests and CCTV cameras), otherwise he should just get life imprisonment.
So what's your refutation?

And could people please stop citing the US constitution as an apeal to authority? Not everyone here worships it or your "founding fathers".
Belial wrote:I'm just being a dick. It happens.
GoC
 
Posts: 336
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:35 pm UTC

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby The Mad Scientist » Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:10 am UTC

Malice wrote:I don't disagree, but just out of curiosity, do you know of any time when this has actually happened? A lessening of a statute leading to more maximum penalties, that sort of thing?


lesliesage answered this for me.

By the way, were you playing Devil's Advocate when you asked me if there's no benefit to drug testing? Since you chose not to respond to my response questioning the relevance of your question (yes, that makes sense), I presume that the question was basically sophistry. (I don't mean this as an insult.)

GoC wrote:And could people please stop citing the US constitution as an apeal to authority? Not everyone here worships it or your "founding fathers".


You will find appeals to authority in most ethical debates. The alternative is to present a coherent ethical system created from scratch, which is rare. Many people give opinions that seem to come from nowhere, but it is extremely rare that such opinions are actually based on an entirely original, coherent, and consistent ethical system. The United States constitution is a perfectly valid source to cite in ethical debates because it can be seen as a practical implementation of the ethical system based on natural rights.

If no one cited any sources we'd be giving ourselves and everyone else far too much credit. Why should I accept a statement given by someone which neither cites an ethical system nor presents a new one? Upon what foundation are their ethical claims based? The vast majority of such statements spew from the confused minds of people who adhere to no coherent ethical system, and whose moral intuitions will totally break down when subjected to interrogation (that is, their moral intuitions constitute an incoherent, inconsistent, ad hoc ethical system).
The Mad Scientist
 
Posts: 129
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 6:09 am UTC

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby Malice » Wed Feb 04, 2009 7:00 am UTC

The Mad Scientist wrote:
Malice wrote:I don't disagree, but just out of curiosity, do you know of any time when this has actually happened? A lessening of a statute leading to more maximum penalties, that sort of thing?


lesliesage answered this for me.

By the way, were you playing Devil's Advocate when you asked me if there's no benefit to drug testing? Since you chose not to respond to my response questioning the relevance of your question (yes, that makes sense), I presume that the question was basically sophistry. (I don't mean this as an insult.)


I have been switching sides in this discussion back and forth because I have no strong position either way, and am more interested in exploring different facets of the issue. When I asked you whether you thought there was no benefit to drug testing, I believe I was taking issue with the use of the word "entirely" in the phrase "testing drugs on prisoners is an entirely unnecessary evil". To me that implied you thought there was no benefit. Once you pointed out the difference between "necessary" and "beneficial" I assumed the entirely didn't really carry any meaning in that sentence. I'm ceasing this overanalysis here because I'm boring myself, but basically, it wasn't sophistry, it was a good faith question.
Image
User avatar
Malice
 
Posts: 3894
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 5:37 am UTC
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby GoC » Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:35 am UTC

Though I now agree that appeals to authority have their place in a debate like this, I'm sure I can find other just as successful (or more successful) countries with somewhat different rules.
Belial wrote:I'm just being a dick. It happens.
GoC
 
Posts: 336
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:35 pm UTC

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby Malice » Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:38 am UTC

We'll be leaving the debate about appeals to authority and the applicability of the US constitution alone, ending with the following sentiment.

-Az


GoC wrote:Though I now agree that appeals to authority have their place in a debate like this, I'm sure I can find other just as successful (or more successful) countries with somewhat different rules.


You are welcome to introduce them.
Image
User avatar
Malice
 
Posts: 3894
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 5:37 am UTC
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby Telchar » Wed Feb 04, 2009 4:13 pm UTC

I think comparing the pressure inside a prison system to the pressures or being poor is setting up something of a false dichotomy. Pressure inside a prison is a very strict, visible, and direct pressure applied by other people. Being poor is a condition that may or may not apply pressure, but generally you apply pressure to yourself in order to better your environment for yourself or your family.

Edit: Now that I think about it, there are already some medical tests done on prisoners, but they generally involve things like measuring testosterone levels and EEGs...things to find out why they are criminals, where as this seems more extraneous. Do you think prisoners are pressured into these tests? Is this even a good thing? Hrmmm.....
Zamfir wrote:Yeah, that's a good point. Everyone is all about presumption of innocence in rape threads. But when Mexican drug lords build APCs to carry their henchmen around, we immediately jump to criminal conclusions without hard evidence.
User avatar
Telchar
That's Admiral 'The Hulk' Ackbar, to you sir
 
Posts: 1938
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2008 9:06 pm UTC
Location: Cynicistia

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby Kizyr » Wed Feb 04, 2009 4:43 pm UTC

Thanks for re-opening the thread. I think the discussion still has a lot of potential.

EstLladon wrote:Kizyr: you are missing something - I didn't tried to make some people more punished than the others.
I think that "10 years" can be equaled to "10-x years with regular blood giving" because blood giving is not exactly pleasant experience.

I definitely understand what you mean, but whether or not blood giving is an unpleasant experience is inconsequential. While it seems like a good thing, the problem is that any reward scenario in a prison environment, because of the very nature of a prison environment, is in effect a punishment scenario. Basically, rewarding some prisoners = punishing others, particularly when you're talking about modifying something that applies to everyone (i.e., prison sentences).

To put it in the same terms as you did, if you offer a choice of:
"10 years" vs "10-x years with giving blood",
that's identical to making it:
"7 years" vs "7+x years if you don't give blood"
(assuming x=3 just to make writing it out easier)

Now, reward/punishment schemes in prison can be beneficial in some circumstances. We reward good behavior (such as at a parole review), since it's also sensible to punish bad behavior in a prison. The issue there, however, is that coercion of good behavior doesn't raise ethical issues; coercion of medical testing or giving blood, however, does raise those issues.

There's also an argument to be made that giving blood to reduce your sentence is like paying money to reduce it (assuming that your crime/sentence didn't include a fine component). The money could just as well be put towards beneficial uses; but the fact that something a prisoner sacrifices could be put to good use isn't enough of a justification to introduce reward/punishment schemes to coerce such behavior.

I think a good metric to apply is basically this: if you're willing to offer a reward for something, then are you also willing to offer a punishment for noncompliance?

Telchar wrote:I think comparing the pressure inside a prison system to the pressures or being poor is setting up something of a false dichotomy. Pressure inside a prison is a very strict, visible, and direct pressure applied by other people. Being poor is a condition that may or may not apply pressure, but generally you apply pressure to yourself in order to better your environment for yourself or your family.

It's also possible for a government to control a great deal of the pressures inside a prison (especially for rewards and punishments); it's not possible to control the pressures involved in poverty. If, by some miracle, we were able to remove the pressures involved in poverty, I don't think it'd raise ethical concerns if we did. KF
~Kaiser
Image
User avatar
Kizyr
 
Posts: 2070
Joined: Wed Nov 15, 2006 4:16 am UTC
Location: Virginia

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby SummerGlauFan » Wed Feb 04, 2009 5:13 pm UTC

There are already rewards for inmates, though. In the U.S., at least, prisoners can have their prison sentence reduced for good behavior. While not exactly the same as using them for expirementation, it's still a reward system. And if a prisoner wants to behave or , in the case of giving blood or being expiremented on, even give back to the community, why not give him or her a reward for doing so? For one thing, it would be an incentive to do something positive, and it would be benefiting other people.

Experimentation could be an acceptable alternative for the death penalty. I almost certainly will get flamed for this, but hear me out. If the evidence is solid, say we have a murderer's DNA, fingerprints, and footage of him carrying out the murder, it would be fitting for him to "repay" the community, rather than being a leech on the system until they execute him. Let's not forget, too, that said murderer already took away all rights and privelages of his victim when he killed the victim.
glasnt wrote:"As she raised her rifle against the creature, her hair fluttered beneath the red florescent lighting of the locked down building.

I knew from that moment that she was something special"


Outbreak, a tale of love and zombies.

In stores now.
User avatar
SummerGlauFan
 
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:27 pm UTC
Location: KS

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby The Mad Scientist » Wed Feb 04, 2009 6:44 pm UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:Experimentation could be an acceptable alternative for the death penalty. I almost certainly will get flamed for this, but hear me out. If the evidence is solid, say we have a murderer's DNA, fingerprints, and footage of him carrying out the murder, it would be fitting for him to "repay" the community, rather than being a leech on the system until they execute him. Let's not forget, too, that said murderer already took away all rights and privelages of his victim when he killed the victim.


Just so we're clear: do you believe that a murderer has forfeited all of his or her human rights? You say that it would be "fitting" for the murderer to "repay" the community, and you remind us that the murderer did something wrong, but both of these statements strike me as rhetorical. Is your position based on some sort of legal or ethical theory?
The Mad Scientist
 
Posts: 129
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 6:09 am UTC

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby Kizyr » Wed Feb 04, 2009 7:05 pm UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:There are already rewards for inmates, though. In the U.S., at least, prisoners can have their prison sentence reduced for good behavior. While not exactly the same as using them for expirementation, it's still a reward system. And if a prisoner wants to behave or , in the case of giving blood or being expiremented on, even give back to the community, why not give him or her a reward for doing so? For one thing, it would be an incentive to do something positive, and it would be benefiting other people.

I actually addressed this point directly:
Kizyr wrote:Now, reward/punishment schemes in prison can be beneficial in some circumstances. We reward good behavior (such as at a parole review), since it's also sensible to punish bad behavior in a prison. The issue there, however, is that coercion of good behavior doesn't raise ethical issues; coercion of medical testing or giving blood, however, does raise those issues.


Offering a reward for good behavior is still the same as a punishment for bad behavior (EDIT: more accurately, a punishment for lack of good behavior, although the way "good behavior" is defined in most prisons is as a lack of bad behavior). The difference, however, is that a punishment for bad behavior (and coercion of good behavior) makes sense in order to encourage more order in prison. Punishing the refusal to give blood, or the refusal to be a participant in medical testing, raises other ethical concerns.

I'd like to repeat the metric I raised in the previous post: "if you're willing to offer a reward for something, then are you also willing to offer a punishment for noncompliance?" I think the answer to this is "Yes" for general good behavior, but a "No" for submission to medical tests or giving blood. KF
~Kaiser
Image
User avatar
Kizyr
 
Posts: 2070
Joined: Wed Nov 15, 2006 4:16 am UTC
Location: Virginia

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby Elennaro » Sat Feb 07, 2009 1:55 am UTC

But why should incentives be made in the form of sentence reduction? I've read a suggestion to get compliant inmates off laundry duty, that would be a possible incentive. Money could be another one, like in the outside world, or, if in American prisons money is no good to you (I wouldn't know), you could, say, give them a treat in the form of better food every so often. None of those would be so harsh towards those who don't want to be experimented upon.
Elennaro
 
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 10:42 pm UTC

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby JBJ » Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:43 pm UTC

I don't think that offering a reward, such as reduced sentences, for volunteers is a good idea. Nor do I think you can get around the cruel and unusual punishment argument for forcing tests on prisoners, even for life without parole or death penalty cases. In both cases, prisoners still have rights to appeal. If a person who was wrongly convicted and wasn't having much luck with appeals could shave a couple years off, I'm sure he would jump at the chance. While it is still his decision, it is highly influenced by his situation. Same as a person doing 10 years for simple possession where it might be argued that the penalty doesn't fit the crime.

How about an option of recruiting prisoners after the death penalty has been applied? Instead of the traditional methods (electrocution, injection, gas chamber) put the prisoner into a medically induced coma. Once the coma has been established, starve the brain of oxygen inducing brain death. Keep the body going on a heart/lung machine and feeding tube, and taa-daa! you've got a test subject. I don't know if it's possible, but if you could do the above without damaging the brain stem and medulla oblongata, the hear/lung machine may not even be needed.

Of course, you're not going to be able to gather the subjective data that gets read in that fast low voice on pharmaceutical commercials (dry mouth, nausea, uncontrollable flatulence) but you can at least gather empirical data on the value of the drug without concern of inflicting pain on the individual.
So, you sacked the cocky khaki Kicky Sack sock plucker?
The second cocky khaki Kicky Sack sock plucker I've sacked since the sixth sitting sheet slitter got sick.
User avatar
JBJ
 
Posts: 1265
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2008 6:20 pm UTC
Location: a point or extent in space

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby Azrael » Wed Feb 11, 2009 2:51 pm UTC

Keep in mind that there are only about 3500 death row inmates in the US. Considering the incredible legislative and legal wranglings that would have to be implemented for even a voluntary program, it just wouldn't be worth the effort or expense for that small of a testing pool.
User avatar
Azrael
Unintentionally Intoxicated
 
Posts: 6202
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2007 1:16 am UTC
Location: Boston

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby simmons » Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:26 am UTC

How well would a study tested on a prison population generalize to the general public?
simmons
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:41 pm UTC

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby Ixtellor » Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:20 pm UTC

The 8th Amendment clearly says you can't do this. I am not aware of, nor do I belive any judge exists, who would say this is not a violation of the 8th Amendment - which has been incorporated thus even the States have to follow it.

Ixtellor
The Revolution will not be Twitterized.
User avatar
Ixtellor
There are like 4 posters on XKCD that no more about ...
 
Posts: 3059
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2008 3:31 pm UTC

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby MrGee » Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:40 pm UTC

Why do we put criminals in jail?

If it's to punish them, which really means to serve as an effective deterrent, then drug testing is a bad idea. Everyone can understand how terrible it is to rot in a cell for 10 years. Free drugs, on the other hand, might be a net benefit. (I would also point out that jails in general are not a very effective deterrent...studies have been done showing that states withthe death penalty have just as much crime, and that recidivism rates for prisoners are very high anyway).

If we put people in jail as a preventative measure, just to keep them from physically being able to commit any more crimes, drug testing is still a bad idea. In theory, a serial murder could take a bunch of pills and be back on the street killing with no time served.

So under what justification for incarcerating people does drug testing make sense?
MrGee
 
Posts: 998
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:33 pm UTC

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby andy33gmail » Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:58 pm UTC

I'm quite new to this (first post!) so forgive me if this post is rubbish :-P . I can't help noticing from reading the thread that the issue focused on is whether criminals should have drugs tested on them, rather than whether drugs should be tested on criminals. That is, we're taking the perspective that the purpose of the drug testing would be a punishment. Surely the benefit to society of testing new drugs and increasing life expectancy need to be considered more carefully than we have been doing. Take the (contrived) example of a criminal convicted (indisputably, for argument's sake) of assult. Wouldn't it be quite reasonably for them to be put at risk for the benefit of testing drugs which will be needed for their victim's hospital treatment?

I also think that to some extent there is a clear binary divide in terms of the different principles people have - some people think that human rights are never forfeited, while others (myself included) believe that in certain situations, they should be. This will provoke strong reaction, but I believe that it is wrong to experiment on innocent animals but it is not wrong to experiment on particular types of criminals. To some extent, I think this is more a religious war (argument) than anything else.
andy33gmail
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:51 pm UTC

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby SummerGlauFan » Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:32 am UTC

I'm prefacing this post by saying that I am going to be playing devil's advocate. So, keep the personal flames to a minimum, please!

MrGee wrote:So under what justification for incarcerating people does drug testing make sense?


Perhaps it is because the perpetrator committed a monstrous act, and ruined someone's life (or multiple lives, really), and thus should be required to give back? I believe that is the core of the argument for that stance, that the death penalty serves no real purpose besides punishment and revenge, while a drug testing program would at least provide scientific knowledge and perhaps provide a consumable end product that could wind up helping millions of lives.

andy33gmail wrote: I also think that to some extent there is a clear binary divide in terms of the different principles people have - some people think that human rights are never forfeited, while others (myself included) believe that in certain situations, they should be. This will provoke strong reaction, but I believe that it is wrong to experiment on innocent animals but it is not wrong to experiment on particular types of criminals. To some extent, I think this is more a religious war (argument) than anything else.


I believe most people in the thread have taken the position that rights should not be eroded in any case, especially with the very real risk of a wrongful conviction. If such a system existed, one would have to be escedingly careful that a criminal truly was guilty. The last thing you would want to do would be to put an innocent person through, say, an experimental AIDS treatment (assuming such things as infecting inmates w/ disease and then expirementing). Even something as innocious as, say, testing a new painkiller could be disasterous for an innocent inmate.

In the devil's advocate role to rights, however, what about the fact that a violent criminal has violated others' rights, perhaps multiple times, for nothing other than his/her own enjoyment? Part of the criminal justice system is to punish monsters like that.
Last edited by SummerGlauFan on Fri Feb 27, 2009 6:35 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
glasnt wrote:"As she raised her rifle against the creature, her hair fluttered beneath the red florescent lighting of the locked down building.

I knew from that moment that she was something special"


Outbreak, a tale of love and zombies.

In stores now.
User avatar
SummerGlauFan
 
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:27 pm UTC
Location: KS

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby Ixtellor » Thu Feb 26, 2009 9:47 pm UTC

andy33gmail wrote:I also think that to some extent there is a clear binary divide in terms of the different principles people have - some people think that human rights are never forfeited, while others (myself included) believe that in certain situations, they should be


All irrelevant.

1) There is no such thing as "rights". There are only temporal 'protections' in the Constitution that can be changed at any time through the amendment process. So your "rights" are what ever 5 supreme court justices say they are based on their interpretation of the Constituion.

2) It is perfectly legal to do anything you wish to do with a prisoner, provided 5 justices on the SCOTUS say it doesn't violate the 8th Amendment (in addition to a few others like the 5th and 1st). Other than that, its anything goes. (Unless a State law prohibits an action, and your in that State)

SummerGlauFan wrote:Perhaps it is because the perpetrator committed a monstrous act, and ruined someone's life (or multiple lives, really), and thus should be required to give back?


It is legal to 'make them give back' unless it violates the 8th Amendment. Drug testing without consent, is currently deemed a violation of the 8th Amendment.


Ixtellor
The Revolution will not be Twitterized.
User avatar
Ixtellor
There are like 4 posters on XKCD that no more about ...
 
Posts: 3059
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2008 3:31 pm UTC

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby andy33gmail » Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:05 pm UTC

It is legal to 'make them give back' unless it violates the 8th Amendment.


Surely we're talking about ethics rather than legality? If we discuss what should be allowed based on what is allowed, we'd be making circular arguments :) . Out of interest, how many of you think that in the (hypothetical) situation where a criminal is undisputably guilty of (the worst crime possible - e.g. multiple rapes and murders) it is reasonable to (borrowing an above example) infect them with HIV if doing so would (still hypothetical) be guaranteed to save other lives?
andy33gmail
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:51 pm UTC

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby bratwurst » Sun Mar 01, 2009 5:31 pm UTC

It is possible that it's just me, but many of the posts in this thread seem to be based on the assumption that objective morality exists, and that such a morality is embodied in the justice system of (I'm going to assume) one or more Western democratic countries. While for crimes like murder and rape this seems fairly sensible, should drugs be tested on people who evade taxes? What about treason? If there is a crime whose moral legitimacy strikes me as iffy, failure to be loyal to something that basically only exists on a map and in the heads of the people around you would be it.

Additionally, if we decide to start injecting criminals with untested chemical compounds against their will, I would have a difficult time finding any legitimate grounds for criticizing most human rights abuses. Waterboarding strikes me as being substantially more humane, in any case.
User avatar
bratwurst
 
Posts: 73
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:37 pm UTC

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby Malice » Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:19 pm UTC

MrGee wrote:(I would also point out that jails in general are not a very effective deterrent...studies have been done showing that states withthe death penalty have just as much crime, and that recidivism rates for prisoners are very high anyway).


I know it's just a parenthetical, but every piece of it is wrong. If studies have shown that states with the death penalty have just as much crime, that suggests that the death penalty is not a very effective deterrent, it has nothing to do with jails. Recidivism rates for prisoners has to do with the success of jails in terms of rehabilitation, not deterrence. The deterred criminals aren't present in those statistics, because they're the ones who thought about committing a crime and didn't for fear of getting caught.
Image
User avatar
Malice
 
Posts: 3894
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 5:37 am UTC
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby Spacemilk » Fri Mar 06, 2009 7:18 pm UTC

I think two very important things need to be mentioned. First of all, the point of prison is not simply to isolate wrong-doers from society. Sure, that's part of it - but the overarching goal is to isolate wrong-doers from society if and until they can be successfully rehabilitated so they can function normally in society. If they are unable to be rehabilitated, you must find a suitable alternative - in some cases, life behind bars; in extreme cases, the death penalty. It seems like we've forgotten that prison should be less about punishment and more about correction and rehabilitation - that's why they call them correctional facilities and not punishment facilities.

That being said, I don't see the rehabilitative value of forcing someone - or even giving them the choice - to take experimental drugs. What does popping the occasional pill have to do with creating the desire to do right? When people's sentences are reduced, it's because of exceptionally good behavior, good community service, etc. It'd be like letting someone do less time because they worked long hours in the license plate factory. Sure, they did a service to society, but next time they're sitting outside 7-11 short on cash with a gun in their hand, I doubt they'll say to themselves, "My, all those excellent license plates I made sure make it tough to steal from this 7-11."

Secondly, and more importantly I think, what about people who were wrongly convicted? (only applies to the forced experimentation case) Advances in recent technology using DNA identifiers has reduced the number of wrongfully convicted people in prison, but these things probably do still happen, and some of those people are still in jail. In that case, you're forcing them to do a "service" to society, but society was the one that fucked up. How is that fair? I noticed someone said above that "one would have to be escedingly (sic) careful that a criminal truly was guilty" - shouldn't our legal system already have done this?! Although I could see your point if you wanted to argue over testing people who entered a guilty plea - but even then, sometimes people do that if they are innocent but don't see a way to prove it, so they plea guilty since it means a reduced sentence. So still not a good argument.
milk from space is good for you!


User avatar
Spacemilk
 
Posts: 936
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:03 pm UTC
Location: Hugh ston

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby Azrael » Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:51 pm UTC

Attention Thread: Unless you have something new to add, don't.
User avatar
Azrael
Unintentionally Intoxicated
 
Posts: 6202
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2007 1:16 am UTC
Location: Boston

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby enjoyeverysandwich42 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:12 am UTC

Umm, just a bit of info - I believe that something spending like 36 hours or in prison disqualifies you from ever donating blood again in the US. (Which speaks volumes about prison conditions here.)

A couple points:

-Some people seem to think drug testing means that prisoners would be testing drugs that get them high and that this is a reason against it - aside from maybe, anti-depressants or the occasional new painkiller or ADD medication (or marijuana if it ever leaves Schedule I) - but I doubt it, and even if it happened it'd be so few and far between, I don't think it's really relevant to consider the prisoners "getting free drugs" as weighing in on the argument at all.

-I'm a bit disturbed at how quickly people are to say that prisoner x violated someone's right y, and therefore isn't entitled to that right anymore. Just because someone else doesn't mean they've surrendered their right to life (note that I strongly disagree with the death penalty - but even in most states, it's reserved for things more heinous than your average murder). The system is supposed to be corrective in nature, despite its current state of affairs. The 8th amendment was written amongst other things, to prevent this line of thinking, and mandatory drug testing will never fly.

-Reduction of sentence for volunteering has also been discussed at length - but I must say, it's worthless. It's really not much better than mandating it. Whoever said that it'd just become built into sentences hit the nail on the head.

-Finally, something new: what *could* work, however, is to offer people in prison to opt into studies for drugs that treat illness they have, with no other incentive than the possible benefits of the experimental medication (obviously they'd need to be told the possible risks as well.) I'm speaking specifically about HIV - which is a huge problem in the US prison system, although I'm sure there are plenty of other prisoners with hard to treat illnesses.

Just a thought - people on the outside opt into experimental studies out of sheer hope, there are probably plenty of people in prison who would be interested in the same.
enjoyeverysandwich42
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2008 4:14 am UTC

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby qinwamascot » Fri Mar 13, 2009 5:44 am UTC

I couldn't find this anywhere mentioned in the thread, but in general this will not give a very large sample size. Most new drugs are not meant to be taken in every situation (the only exception I can think of to this is multivitamins) and thus you'd have to identify prisoners with said condition, then get their permission to test the drug. Furthermore, you can't expect most conditions for prisoners to be diagnosed, because the prison medical centers in general don't bother if it doesn't have serious symptoms.

So only the relatively major conditions will be diagnosed. Considering how rare your condition is and how many inmates in total have either life or death sentences in the U.S., you wouldn't get a large enough sample size. The reason ordinary drug tests are not subject to this is because these tend to be fairly widely publicized to hospitals, so anyone who comes in with a rare condition will be found.

If we allow for lesser offenses, then we get farther into the realm of human rights abuse (personally, I think mandatory drug tests on anyone is abuse, but this argument has already been made). We still don't get huge numbers of cases of rarer conditions though.

So using only prisoners is not sufficient. And forcing people to take medication if they randomly get some condition would serve to scare prisoners away from health services as well as seem unfair to that person. Optional testing, done the same way as outside prison, could still be done, and I'm not explicitly against this, but rewarding it is tantamount to rewarding someone for their medical condition, which should not be done in the form of a reduced sentence.

Another thing to consider is that prisoners generally are in a different health state than the general public, so the results may not be accurate or transfer well.
Quiznos>Subway
User avatar
qinwamascot
 
Posts: 688
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 8:50 am UTC
Location: Oklahoma, U.S.A.

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby Terebrant » Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:57 am UTC

The sample size of phase I trials is quite small and requires healthy subjects.

But, if you are ready to test drugs on them, for what reasons would you oppose creating a medical condition to test the drugs ?
User avatar
Terebrant
 
Posts: 188
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2008 5:27 pm UTC

Re: Should drugs be tested on criminals?

Postby Kaillan » Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:43 am UTC

Azrael wrote:
SummerGlauFan wrote:
EstLladon wrote:Well maybe not drug testing, but for example something good can come from blood drives in prison. If you pay your inmates with reducing their jailtime for like a week for a clean blood sample they will probably be willing to give blood. This can actually save lives. And the prisoners will be less likely to take drugs (don't they smuggle drugs into prisons? because I do not really know). Giving blood does not harm you significantly.

Clean blood sample? In prison?

... Not everyone in prison uses or abuses drugs.

Seriously, if the rampantly ridiculous stereotypes continue, I'll just lock the thread.


Tattoos and other such things also make donating blood and impossibility. The combined statistics of drugs, tattoos, and prisoner participation would make it a fairly unpopular possibility.
User avatar
Kaillan
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:42 am UTC
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PreviousNext

Return to Serious Business

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: broarbape, CealExpalased and 12 guests