Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

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Greyarcher
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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby Greyarcher » Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:28 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:So your ability to let someone go free is based on whether or not they have experienced the appropriate level of sorrow for their criminal acts? This, to me, seems arbitrary; I honestly don't care whether or not you feel bad for what you did. All that concerns me is if you'll do it again, and if punishing you will prevent crimes in the future.
I was describing my response to this particular case, not describing a general principle for dealing with criminals. The hypothetical scenario forced me to conclude that I no longer find the mere fact that a criminal will not commit crimes in the future a sufficient reason to let that criminal get away scott free. I consider it...unjust. If a crime has victims--if a criminal's misdeed caused others to suffer a price--then it is unjust for the criminal to profit from the crime and not pay some form of compensation. Perhaps the reason I spoke of repentance and remorse, and of gloating and smugness, is that the former two attitudes may incline one towards forgiveness and waiving compensation, while the latter two certainly do not.

Ahaha, I must say I find this rather ironic, as only a few years ago I would have agreed with you and "justice" was not a concept I employed. Back then, it seemed that if society received no benefit from punishing a criminal, then there was no point in doing so; "justice" never factored in. Mysteriously, as I read this thread, I found my position had changed. I tended to agree with your earlier posts, but on this point I disagree.
Amusingly, I also find my discussion of justice to bear similarity to the old "eye for an eye" notion; they're probably both rooted in similar sentiments.
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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby dumspirospera » Mon Sep 28, 2009 1:55 pm UTC

It seems for all the worlds technological advances we are once again retrogressing into a violent and barbaric state. Perhaps it would be best to follow Hammurabi's code so that the punishment fits the crime?

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby do the crime do the time » Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:19 pm UTC

I can not believe that people think that human beings who carry out unthinkable crimes should be forgiven ?
People who harm others , rape , murder , drug dealers , terrorists etc deserve to be punished to the full extent , having just seen crime watch a group of men forced there way into a home and held a man and his wife at gunpoint for the keys to their car , the woman was 8 months pregnent they couldnt just take the car , they raped the woman too !
Do these people have any right to live on this earth ?
Not now they don't , they deserve to be raped , beaten and then killed NOT to be nurtured back into society as far as i am concerned as soon as someone harms another person {not just a heat of the moment fight} they have no rights .
This wolrd is so Fuc*ed up because of "Do gooders" People who carry out such hedious crimes have no place in our world , not even a prison !
People of this sick nature should either be killed or used as test subjects for drug trails etc !

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby H2SO4 » Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:30 pm UTC

Everybody has natural rights, correct? Right to life, right to property, etc. Once someone infringes my rights, they are saying that rights aren't important to them at all. If that is so, then why should anyone care if that person's rights are infringed upon? That person already said that they don't care about rights.
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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby General_Norris » Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:33 pm UTC

This can be seen as a good example.

Imagine I discover a magical machine that makes everyone happy forever. Now both Hippo and I would use the machine on everyone and don't think there's any reason not to use the machine on everyone even if they are "evil" or have killed thousands.

@do the crime

So why do they deserve it? And yes, they have the right to live on this Earth, why shouldn't they? You are contradiction yourself

X person causes pain -> I cause pain to X makes no sense if what you want is less pain, or a better world.

@H2SO4

Because they not understanding rights doesn't mean you don't.

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby Heisenberg » Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:47 pm UTC

do the crime do the time wrote:Not now they don't , they deserve to be raped , beaten and then killed
Would you beat them, rape them, and kill them yourself? If not, why not? If so, aren't you a rapist and murderer also? How should society deal with you?

H2SO4 wrote:If that is so, then why should anyone care if that person's rights are infringed upon?
Probably because
H2SO4 wrote:Everybody has natural rights,

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby H2SO4 » Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:49 pm UTC

I will say that those who don't have a full understanding (mentally retarded, clinically insane, etc) should receive a lesser punishment than those who do know.

@Heisenberg
My point is that that specific person has said they don't care about their rights. Through infringing someone else's rights, they waive their own.
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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby Azrael » Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:06 pm UTC

H2SO4 wrote:My point is that that specific person has said they don't care about their rights. Through infringing someone else's rights, they waive their own.

Except that's not the way it works. Inalienable rights are ... you guessed it: inalienable.

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby Naurgul » Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:11 pm UTC

I don't get why you turn this into an argument of abstract rights and the ridiculously complex rules that govern them (Seriously, why should infringing someone else's rights mean they waive their own? By the same token, if you hate something, then you stop being deserving of love?).

Anyway, at the risk of not actually presenting any new information, I'll repeat that it's a matter of practicality. If someone does something wrong, the only reasonable concern for society should be how to prevent it from happening again in the future. Punishment in general may work because it discourages criminals. Removing perpetrators from society either by imprisonment or the death penalty may work because criminals are not there to commit more crimes. However, I don't see any reason why we should stick just to these or not abandon them in face of better alternatives. And above all, I see absolutely no reason why we must enforce these and submit to their supposed wisdom with religious fervour.

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby H2SO4 » Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:22 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:Except that's not the way it works. Inalienable rights are ... you guessed it: inalienable.

Meaning they can't be arbitrarily taken by someone else. You can still waive them. Example: Free speech. You can say what you want to say (yes, there are responsibilities to this, like no pro-KKK to schoolchildren), or you can choose to give up that right and have someone decide what you can and can't say. Right to life. You can choose to end your own life whenever you so please.

@Naurgul
Your example is only a little bit off. If you hate something, you no longer are deserving of that certain thing's love. If you kill someone, you no longer are deserving of your own life. That does not necessarily mean that you will be killed for killing someone, but it wouldn't be cruel and unusual.
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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby Azrael » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:04 am UTC

H2SO4 wrote:
Azrael wrote:Except that's not the way it works. Inalienable rights are ... you guessed it: inalienable.

Meaning they can't be arbitrarily taken by someone else. You can still waive them. Example: Free speech. You can say what you want to say (yes, there are responsibilities to this, like no pro-KKK to schoolchildren), or you can choose to give up that right and have someone decide what you can and can't say. Right to life. You can choose to end your own life whenever you so please.

Ok, so you agree rights can't be taken away. So the issue is whether a criminal is voluntarily waiving their rights? Sure, just ask them -- under non-coercive circumstances -- if they're just fine waiving their rights.

Or, alternatively, realize that modern justice systems go out of their way to *inform* criminals of their salient rights upon arrest and the idea that they've (voluntarily or otherwise) waived their rights is ... well, it's just wrong.

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby H2SO4 » Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:21 am UTC

Azrael wrote:Ok, so you agree rights can't be taken away. So the issue is whether a criminal is voluntarily waiving their rights? Sure, just ask them -- under non-coercive circumstances -- if they're just fine waiving their rights.

Or, alternatively, realize that modern justice systems go out of their way to *inform* criminals of their salient rights upon arrest and the idea that they've (voluntarily or otherwise) waived their rights is ... well, it's just wrong.

They are informed of the rights have as someone being arrested. Also, when people are arrested, it is so they can be taken to court to have the court decide innocence or guilt, therefore it hasn't been determined whether or not that was the person that waived their rights.
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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby Dangermouse » Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:14 am UTC

Azrael wrote:
H2SO4 wrote:
Azrael wrote:Except that's not the way it works. Inalienable rights are ... you guessed it: inalienable.

Meaning they can't be arbitrarily taken by someone else. You can still waive them. Example: Free speech. You can say what you want to say (yes, there are responsibilities to this, like no pro-KKK to schoolchildren), or you can choose to give up that right and have someone decide what you can and can't say. Right to life. You can choose to end your own life whenever you so please.

Ok, so you agree rights can't be taken away. So the issue is whether a criminal is voluntarily waiving their rights? Sure, just ask them -- under non-coercive circumstances -- if they're just fine waiving their rights.

Or, alternatively, realize that modern justice systems go out of their way to *inform* criminals of their salient rights upon arrest and the idea that they've (voluntarily or otherwise) waived their rights is ... well, it's just wrong.


You are both conflating rights and privileges, which is pretty common.

In American legal jurisprudence, rights cannot be waived (first amendment rights are an interesting exception). Because our legal system is the product of the natural rights tradition, rights are granted by our mere humanity--due process, a jury trial, fair and humane treatment, habeas corpus etc. Then there are things we commonly call 'rights', like the right to own property and the right to vote, which are actually privileges--that is, they are granted and qualified by political status. Privileges can be waived, suspended, or even revoked--think Felons being stripped of their vote, or locker searches without consent in high school. Moral qualifiers such as 'he killed 20 babies and deserves to die' can never strip an individual of his or her rights, because 'morality' is a question of status and status never qualifies a right.

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby Azrael » Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:40 am UTC

H2SO4 wrote:
Azrael wrote:
H2SO4 wrote:
Azrael wrote:Except that's not the way it works. Inalienable rights are ... you guessed it: inalienable.
Meaning they can't be arbitrarily taken by someone else. You can still waive them.
Ok, so you agree rights can't be taken away. So the issue is whether a criminal is voluntarily waiving their rights? ... realize that modern justice systems go out of their way to *inform* criminals of their salient rights upon arrest and the idea that they've (voluntarily or otherwise) waived their rights is ...
They are informed of the rights have as someone being arrested. Also, when people are arrested, it is so they can be taken to court to have the court decide innocence or guilt, therefore it hasn't been determined whether or not that was the person that waived their rights.
As you previously asserted, criminals are voluntarily waiving their rights when they commit a crime -- rights that can't be taken away. So now they've been arrested and are going to court where someone else decides if they have voluntarily waived their rights? That's not voluntary, that's someone taking them away. Seriously, you're just wrong on this one. Criminals simply do not waive their rights because they've committed a crime.

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby do the crime do the time » Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:06 pm UTC

You're either a moderately clever sockpuppet or an entirely unclever single-topic poster. Either way, welcome to SB. Please be sure you've read the section and forum rules and are participating accordingly.

Spoiler:
If that were my wife and my unborn baby i would want to kill them , the only thing that would stop me is that if i did i wouldnt get to see my child !
Some things are unforgivable take the 2 children who murdered Jamie Bulgar , where are they now ? Exactly the government paid for them to receive new identies with tax payers money , they are walking free , if that were child what would you feel ? Would you still insist these people have rights?
So these 2 kids who are now men are living maybe even with a family of there own now , Wheres Jamie ? Do you think his family have gotton over it now ?
These sick twisted people who are sadly walking amoung us have Zero rights and i hope one day the court system will dish out some real punishment.
Can i ask why do you feel that these kind of people have rights?Would you fight for these kinds of peoples rights, you ay they have rights , so they have the right to eat yes?Would you invite a child killer for dinner ? Would you go out of your way to ensure his rights are not infringed?

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:17 pm UTC

do the crime do the time wrote:These sick twisted people who are sadly walking amoung us have Zero rights and i hope one day the court system will dish out some real punishment.
You're trying to dehumanize criminals. But criminals are human, like you and I. If they have grown twisted they are deserving of our empathy and pity, not our haughty disdain. In short, criminals are not monsters, they are people.
do the crime do the time wrote:Can i ask why do you feel that these kind of people have rights?
Because they are people, and all people have rights.
do the crime do the time wrote:Would you go out of your way to ensure his rights are not infringed?
Yes.

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby Why_do_I_try » Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:40 pm UTC

I. Compensation for Victims

Great Hippo’s Three Pillar Criminal System
1) Closure and Compensation for Victims
2) Protection of Others
3) Rehabilitation of the Criminal (if possible)

I take issue with the notion of “Compensation for the victim”. What exactly would adequate compensation be for the victim of a violent crime such as rape, assault, or murder. The suggestion that such compensation exists implies that, for some level of compensation (monetary or otherwise) I would be willing to subject myself to some horrific act. It’s not true and it’s not your decision even if it were.

Moreover, treating the whole issue as if it were an abstract study in microeconomics ignores the very personal nature of violent crime and its effects on the victim.

II. Perceptions of “Justice”


It seems to me that GH is parsing “eye for an eye” as barbaric revenge is because he is treating the justice system as if it existed in a vacuum, as if the inclinations of victims never ran towards retribution. (Gelsamel pay attention) In its time “Eye for an Eye” provided a limiting influence, a balance between A) a society where everyone stands to gain more from criminality than they stand to lose and B) a society that rips itself apart in an ever expanding feud. It’s a third party decision of “there it’s settled” based on concrete impartiality (predetermined, agreed upon rules). The evolution of the justice system has, in my opinion, usually been towards creating a rigid framework for a stable society, not institutionalizing the revenge fantasies of its participants. The fact that “no cruel and unusual punishment” is codified into the American justice system exemplifies this.

The notion that punishment for crime is “arbitrary” ignores two important things.

1. Individuals are very varied creatures. Truly understanding all the nuances of one another frequently doesn‘t even happen in marriages where the involved parties have mutual concern and a vested interest in understanding one another.

2. The perception of fairness is a precondition for stability. Unfair circumstances breed alienation from and resentment for the system that creates them.

The variance in individuals would require that programs with rehabilitation as the top priority have widely different approaches and widely different inconvenience levels for the participants. Even in a perfectly honest, well-intentioned program of this type, variability in application would wreak havoc on perceptions of fairness in both the participants and interested 3rd parties.

Do you really think someone convicted of a petty crime would be sanguine about watching a multi-murderer going home in less time with less difficulty? Do you think observing/hearing about this wouldn’t have an adverse effect on the likelihood of crime, particularly severe crime, happening again? To address the deterrence issue raised by Gelsamel, having a range of 1-20/life/death gives logical consistency, fairness, to the system of punishment. It gives a reason for the armed robber to not shoot the store clerk every single time.

Furthermore, I cannot imagine any philosophy of crime management more susceptible to corruption by cultural bias, racism, or greed.

III. People and Crime


Part of the difference of opinion I have seen in this thread seems to relate to the subject of empathy in the participants. Those who perceive criminals as victims of society feel that these criminals are really the ones in need of help. There are several problems with this perspective:

1. It implies that punishment and rehabilitation are somehow mutually exclusive. This position is offered, unsupported, as an underlying fundamental truth.

2. It’s a bit patronizing to claim that criminals are blind incompetent fools unaware of consequences of their actions. It’s basically saying that all people should be treated the way the justice system currently treats juveniles. People are generally aware of the potential consequences of their actions, and people who commit crimes aren’t a special exception. Criminal punishment isn’t some amoral plague that swoops down on the underprivileged, arbitrarily decimating its populace. It’s patently foolish to think that criminals are

3. Approaching the rehabilitation process with the underlying notion that you owe the person something doesn’t strike me as very conducive to changing behavior.

4. This perspective is a defense lawyers wet dream. This touches on point III-2 as well, people are quite capable of faking “rehabilitation” if there is a broad incentive (absence of punishment/inconvenience).

Lest my arguments be straw-manned by the idea that I have no sympathy for people who’s circumstances drive them towards criminal acts let me say that Sje is right when he says we need to address the issues of stigmatization and desperate circumstances that foster crime and recidivism. I do not, however, share his opinion that the best way (or even a good way) to address these issues is by changing the justice system. The justice system doesn’t exist to provide social justice (ironic, I know), it exists to provide stability and safety. Conflating the two issues will result in a system that tries to address both but is effective at addressing neither.

In my opinion society’s collective process for dealing with criminals is not subordinate to rehabilitative measures. Because of the points outlined in sections II, and III-1,3,4 I believe punishment is a prerequisite to rehabilitation.

IV. Social Instincts


Much of the discussion here has been over whether the desire for punishment is inherently wrong. The impulse for revenge, the desire to strike back at those who strike you, the desire to see those who commit crime punished are all rooted in the same instinct, the instinct of self preservation. This is being criticized on the basis of what, empathy? ….another human instinct? This sounds like a piano player arguing to a runner that legs aren’t that important.

Empathy is an important instinct, an important part of the human condition, but it is not the only thing in the world that matters. If you ignore empathy and only place value on self-preservation, you wind up with Adalwolf’s (and Hammurabi’s) heartless legalism. If you ignore self-preservation and only place value on empathy you wind up with Gelsamel’s untenable moral relativism and excessive lenience that is more likely to validate behavior than change it.

As TJ pointed out early in this thread, the system we have now is, in fact, a balance between the two. We have concrete laws with preset punishments in place, but we also have judges to weigh the circumstances of the perpetrators when sentencing. We have parole boards to allow for lenience when individuals have demonstrated that their incarceration is no longer strictly necessary for the public safety. Is it complete? No. Is it sufficient? No. The underlying social issues that promote crime, however, cannot and should not be addressed by the criminal prosecution system.

Finally, I want to talk a little about the principle GH espouses early in this thread which is a bit different than the run of the mill empathy criticism of criminal justice. He/she believes(I think) that self preservation and all of its derivative impulses can be sufficiently replaced by high minded logical constructs. That we as humans can, through careful deliberation, determine the proper emotional reaction to circumstances and supplant our own natural reactions to create a better world. It is a lot easier to be cold and logical about intense circumstances when we are not close to the action ourselves. So, while it might be possible for outsiders to suppress their desire to see “evildoers” punished (in favor of some 3-pillar construct), it seems presumptuous to assume we can require the victims to forgo their reactions, and dangerous to assume that doing so would not result in retaliation from the victims and unrest from their communities. I think that social constructs that don't bear some agreement with our primal instincts will fail to gain widespread traction in the community and might fail to predict of the situations that our instincts have evolved to address.

Spoilering your entire argument seems sorta silly, so while I was here, I fixed it.

-Az
Last edited by Why_do_I_try on Wed Sep 30, 2009 4:06 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby Azrael » Wed Sep 30, 2009 4:05 pm UTC

I'm going to ban anyone else that shows up in this topic who's even suggestive of sockpuppetry.

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby H2SO4 » Wed Sep 30, 2009 4:19 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:As you previously asserted, criminals are voluntarily waiving their rights when they commit a crime -- rights that can't be taken away. So now they've been arrested and are going to court where someone else decides if they have voluntarily waived their rights? That's not voluntary, that's someone taking them away. Seriously, you're just wrong on this one. Criminals simply do not waive their rights because they've committed a crime.

Someone determines if that person had voluntarily waived their rights. Slight wording change, but it does do a lot for the meaning of the sentence.
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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby Azrael » Wed Sep 30, 2009 4:20 pm UTC

... yeah, that's not how voluntary works.

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby H2SO4 » Wed Sep 30, 2009 4:37 pm UTC

If the person voluntarily committed the crime, they waived their rights. What's left is to determine if that person actually committed the crime. That's why courts are there.
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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby Azrael » Wed Sep 30, 2009 5:56 pm UTC

H2SO4 wrote:If the person voluntarily committed the crime, they waived their rights.
Assuming that you *can* waive your rights voluntarily: If a system is publicly prescribed so that because I Do X, I waive my rights, then by extension I have voluntarily waived my rights?

But that's not the way the system works, nor is even that initial assumption valid (see Dangermouse above). So your quoted statement is simply not true, no matter how many times you repeat it.

So great ... you'd like it to be the case where because I hit you, you can hit me back. Or because I kill you, you can kill me back. But that simply *isn't* the way it works. Criminals *don't* waive their rights at the violation of another. Welcome to the modern judicial system.

If you want to change the system so it is that way, it has to be a very clear and very public declaration that the justice system works that way (of which there isn't, because it doesn't). And even then, it's still not voluntary, it's retributive, or prescriptive.

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby H2SO4 » Wed Sep 30, 2009 6:23 pm UTC

They don't waive *all* their rights. I don't know if that's what you were implying, but the waive that certain right.

I just don't see why people find it acceptable that I can be sued for shooting someone attempting to break into my house. Can't I defend my property?
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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby Azrael » Wed Sep 30, 2009 6:47 pm UTC

Lawsuits are a civil complaint, not a criminal one -- and a completely different (and barely tangentially related) topic from what criminals deserve. Whether the civil system works is debatable at great length, but elsewhere.

The relevance would be if you claimed justification for violently raiding a criminal's house (and hypothetically likewise endangering their innocent bystander family) because they did so you so. And by all modern legal standards, no you absolutely would *not* be justified in doing so.

Regarding your right to defend your property, castle laws are the salient criminal protection.

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby BlackSails » Wed Sep 30, 2009 6:53 pm UTC

Lakoff talks about this in Moral Politics.

Basically, conservatives view the world as a sort of moral account. Doing good deeds gets you a credit, doing bad deeds gets you a deficit. Doing something good for someone else means they owe you. Doing something bad to someone else means you owe them. And if you do something bad to someone else, and society does something bad to you, then you are even.

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby do the crime do the time » Wed Sep 30, 2009 7:20 pm UTC

Very sad that some people want to protect the rights of people who take the rights of others .
Human beings not monsters you say?
I disagree , these are evil people with no respect for life and no remorse for the actions they have carried out .
People believe that by having "rights" no matter what that person has done is a good thing these people who fight for rights for criminals are damaging society.

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby clockworkmonk » Wed Sep 30, 2009 8:21 pm UTC

The way I see it, there have to be a couple of questions answered, that can only be answered case-by-case.

1. what was the crime committed? as in was it theft, copyright infringement, murder, whatever.
2. are there clear-cut victims? If so, is it possible for the criminal to be forgiven or some how make recompense. For example, speeding tickets.
3. is the criminal likely to continue committing the same crime? based on history, this determines whether or not incarceration is necessary for public safety, combined with attempts to rehabilitate the criminal.
4. Is Rehabilitation possible? In some cases, it is not and depending on the violence of the crime, I think it can lead to:
5. Can the state afford to house the criminal permanently? If the answer is no to both 4 and 5, I am of the opinion that sometimes, the death penalty becomes necessary, not as a punishment, but as a means of limiting the costs to the state.

Now to be clear, I see it as the state has a responsibility to the public good, and if an individual in some way harms the public good, the state has the responsibility to rectify that situation. It is the states duty to not respond Emotionally, but rationally. We as individuals are, I believe, incapable of judging what appropriate punishment is, and as such should not. When asked if I would want the head of some one who killed my family, I will say yes, but that is precisely why I should not have a say in the matter. My response is not necessarily best for the public good. Sure, I realize this all falls apart when we consider just how emotional court systems can get on both sides of the issue. But I guess the point I'm trying to make is that the rights of the individual criminal are outweighed by the public good.
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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Sep 30, 2009 8:40 pm UTC

clockworkmonk wrote:5. Can the state afford to house the criminal permanently? If the answer is no to both 4 and 5, I am of the opinion that sometimes, the death penalty becomes necessary...

I would agree to this. I don't think budgets should play into this question. If it's possible to protect society without resorting to killing, we should do so. In cases of developing nations where this is not guaranteed with any kind of certainty, I believe that killing to prevent more horrific crimes can be justified.

I don't believe that capital punishment should be used as some sort of cost-saving measure (and in America it costs more anyway). Not only that, but life imprisonment also gives a chance at exoneration if new evidence comes to light proving the conviction was false.

Spoiler:
do the crime do the time wrote:Very sad that some people want to protect the rights of people who take the rights of others .
That's too bad, because arguably, morality is what makes us human.
Human beings not monsters you say?
Hey! What was your first clue, that there were two different words?
I disagree , these are evil people with no respect for life and no remorse for the actions they have carried out .
So, if you had no respect for a human life, say that of a criminal, that would make you evil? Also, the vast majority of criminals are remorseful. You are incorrect.

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby General_Norris » Wed Sep 30, 2009 9:18 pm UTC

The thing is before you need to cut down the cost of prisons because of budget you should cut an awful lot of crap like parties and holidays and so on.

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby somebody already took it » Wed Sep 30, 2009 9:37 pm UTC

Arguably, an attempted murderer and a successful murderer pose an equal threat to society, however successful murderers are generally incarcerated for longer. Is there something about the act of murder itself that makes someone more malevolent, or is this an example of excessive punishment being used as a form of revenge against the criminal?

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby clockworkmonk » Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:24 pm UTC

somebody already took it wrote:Arguably, an attempted murderer and a successful murderer pose an equal threat to society, however successful murderers are generally incarcerated for longer. Is there something about the act of murder itself that makes someone more malevolent, or is this an example of excessive punishment being used as a form of revenge against the criminal?

On the flip side of that, one could argue that murder committed has a greater impact than murder attempted. Simply, the first one has shown an ability to follow through, as opposed to intention and ability with the act incomplete. But in cases where the person who was almost murdered, only to be saved by doctors after the fact, I believe the criminal should be charged the same as a murderer as they have shown the intention, ability, and the follow through.

And really, the threat a murderer poses to society depends on his motive. I mean, someone who murders their spouse because they were caught cheating does not pose the same threat as someone who murders their spouse after taking out a life insurance policy on them simply to collect. The first shows a momentary lapse of judgement with dire consequences, while the second shows a deliberate process where the criminal considers their options.
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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Oct 01, 2009 12:54 am UTC

Why_do_I_try wrote:I take issue with the notion of “Compensation for the victim”. What exactly would adequate compensation be for the victim of a violent crime such as rape, assault, or murder. The suggestion that such compensation exists implies that, for some level of compensation (monetary or otherwise) I would be willing to subject myself to some horrific act. It’s not true and it’s not your decision even if it were.

Moreover, treating the whole issue as if it were an abstract study in microeconomics ignores the very personal nature of violent crime and its effects on the victim.
I already pointed this out; compensation for the victim is what I consider to be the weakest part of my argument. It's something I've started to move away from; I'm not sure if systemizing compensation for victims is an intelligent move. For a variety of reasons.
Why_do_I_try wrote:It seems to me that GH is parsing “eye for an eye” as barbaric revenge is because he is treating the justice system as if it existed in a vacuum, as if the inclinations of victims never ran towards retribution. (Gelsamel pay attention) In its time “Eye for an Eye” provided a limiting influence, a balance between A) a society where everyone stands to gain more from criminality than they stand to lose and B) a society that rips itself apart in an ever expanding feud. It’s a third party decision of “there it’s settled” based on concrete impartiality (predetermined, agreed upon rules). The evolution of the justice system has, in my opinion, usually been towards creating a rigid framework for a stable society, not institutionalizing the revenge fantasies of its participants. The fact that “no cruel and unusual punishment” is codified into the American justice system exemplifies this.
If the policy of eye for an eye prevents crime, do it. If killing murderers is the best way to stop people from murdering, then by all means - kill murderers. My problem is when eye-for-an-eye isn't effective, and becomes a solution based not on its utility, but on the feeling of 'rightness' we experience when we kill killers.
why_do_I_try wrote:The notion that punishment for crime is “arbitrary” ignores two important things.
I don't think anyone has claimed that punishment for crime is arbitrary. My claim is that the motivation for punishment must not be merely that criminals deserve to be punished; if it is, this sentiment colors your punishments and causes both inefficiency and, eventually, human rights violations.

The rest of your argument seems to function on that basic misconception - that the argument here is that our entire punitive system is wrong, that we need to overhaul everything, etc - no. I'm saying the motivation behind our punitive system is wrong. What changes occur once we change the goals of our punitive system? I don't know. But before we can discuss those changes, we first need to be on the same page - we all need to understand the goal isn't to punish criminals; it's to prevent crime. If punishing criminals gets us there, great - but it's not the goal in of itself. Believing otherwise, that's where the accusation of barbarism comes in.

I do believe that the manner in which we dish out capital punishment is inherently horrifying, though. It operates on the notion of politics rather than on the notion of preventing crime. We send people to die because it's politically and morally convenient. That is barbaric.
do the crime do the time wrote:Very sad that some people want to protect the rights of people who take the rights of others .
Human beings not monsters you say?
I disagree , these are evil people with no respect for life and no remorse for the actions they have carried out .
People believe that by having "rights" no matter what that person has done is a good thing these people who fight for rights for criminals are damaging society.
As I mentioned to Adalwolf--if you're the sort who earnestly wishes to see a return to lynch mobs, I don't think there's much you'll get out of this conversation. If you can't get over the hurdle of "criminals are people", you might as well not bother.

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby Why_do_I_try » Thu Oct 01, 2009 1:39 am UTC

Great Hippo wrote:
I don't think anyone has claimed that punishment for crime is arbitrary. My claim is that the motivation for punishment must not be merely that criminals deserve to be punished; if it is, this sentiment colors your punishments and causes both inefficiency and, eventually, human rights violations.


Earlier:
So your ability to let someone go free is based on whether or not they have experienced the appropriate level of sorrow for their criminal acts? This, to me, seems arbitrary; I honestly don't care whether or not you feel bad for what you did. All that concerns me is if you'll do it again, and if punishing you will prevent crimes in the future.


Not trying to quote snipe, just pointing out I didn't pull that idea/word out of the air.

Some of the confusion you are having with my response comes from the fact that I was responding to two different lines of thought. While you didn't explicitly state criticism for the justice system on the basis of its lack of compassion, others (sje and gelsamel off the top of my head) did.

Part of what I said was directed at you though, and I feel you missed my point(section II and the last paragraph of section IV). My point (one of them) was that punitive motivation is necessary, the feeling of "rightness" is necessary to prevent unrest. Not to prevent the specific criminal from performing more criminal acts, or even to prevent other criminals from performing similar crimes. The LA race riots did not begin after the Rodney King video was released, they happened when the officers were acquitted.. when the punishment was not incurred, when the feeling of rightness wasn't achieved. I still believe that our motivations in dealing with crime should match up with our natural instincts or they will be impossible to sell to the public and even to agree upon in private.

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Oct 01, 2009 1:46 am UTC

Why_do_I_try wrote:Not trying to quote snipe, just pointing out I didn't pull that idea/word out of the air.
Well, okay, but what you quoted doesn't have anything to do with the claim I was discussing.
Why_do_I_try wrote:Part of what I said was directed at you though, and I feel you missed my point(section II and the last paragraph of section IV). My point (one of them) was that punitive motivation is necessary, the feeling of "rightness" is necessary to prevent unrest. Not to prevent the specific criminal from performing more criminal acts, or even to prevent other criminals from performing similar crimes. The LA race riots did not begin after the Rodney King video was released, they happened when the officers were acquitted.. when the punishment was not incurred, when the feeling of rightness wasn't achieved. I still believe that our motivations in dealing with crime should match up with our natural instincts or they will be impossible to sell to the public and even to agree upon in private.
Isn't this cyclical? The more we treat criminals as if they deserve punishment, the more the public reacts violently when we don't give them the punishment they deserve - thereby increasing the notion that criminals deserve punishment. In fact, I'd propose that the very reason we have a blood-thirsty public so interested in delivering punishment upon the 'deserving' is, in some part, because we have a system in place geared to deliver punishment upon the 'deserving'.

I can't honestly buy this whole 'we need to punish criminals because the public demands reciprocity' argument. Part of the reason they demand reciprocity is because we've been operating under a system that demands reciprocity. That's the problem.

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby Why_do_I_try » Thu Oct 01, 2009 2:03 am UTC

Great Hippo wrote:
Isn't this cyclical? The more we treat criminals as if they deserve punishment, the more the public reacts violently when we don't give them the punishment they deserve - thereby increasing the notion that criminals deserve punishment. In fact, I'd propose that the very reason we have a blood-thirsty public so interested in delivering punishment upon the 'deserving' is, in some part, because we have a system in place geared to deliver punishment upon the 'deserving'.


To a degree, yes, it also has to do with the sense of "fairness" we develop when we are young. For a murder victim's family I don't think that a stern admonition and mandated anger management classes are going to cut the mustard. If there isn't at least some parity between what they lost and what the responsible party is given as a result, the probability that someone in that family will go batshit crazy gets uncomfortably high. Especially when you consider that they have just been shown the trivial consequences that will result. This is how feuds start. The same applies on a larger scale depending on how closely the larger group identifies with the victims.

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:26 am UTC

Why_do_I_try wrote:To a degree, yes, it also has to do with the sense of "fairness" we develop when we are young. For a murder victim's family I don't think that a stern admonition and mandated anger management classes are going to cut the mustard.
If we remove compensation for victims from the equation of our punitive measures, why does 'cutting the mustard' for the sake of a victim's family matter? I have no particular desire to punish criminals in accordance to the wishes of those they have wronged; I only wish to punish criminals in such a way that will lead to no more criminals. Indeed, I would be quick to point out that those who are wronged by criminals are in the worst possible position to determine proper justice; they have a deep and powerful emotional connection to the issue at hand.

Also, really now - do you think that a stern admonition and mandated anger management classes would lead to less murdering? And if so, are you saying that you'd rather satisfy someone's desire for vengeance and reciprocity rather than take a course of action that would lead to less murder? I mean, not to demonize your perspective (and I apologize if I'm missing something here), but if the choice is between satisfying someone's desire for reciprocity and preventing murder, I am going to go with the latter. 11 times out of 10 (I'll use a time machine to do it twice).

I'm also not very convinced that the foundations of the criminal system are going to start crumbling around us the moment we stop treating criminals like they deserve to be punished. Like, what - are we going to see blood feuds here? Are people suddenly not going to be able to deal with the notion that evil-doers do not always face evil fates? I mean, we've been dealing with this notion ever since we started hitting each other with rocks.

Besides, there's one other thing I think you're glossing over here - and that's the fact that a truly utilitarian system would account for this. If we're truly interested in a system that prevents crime, then our punishments will reflect this. If we can prove that refraining from punishing criminals sufficiently leads to dissatisfaction among the masses - which in turn leads to them becoming criminals - well, that's a reason to punish criminals more.

Though, to be fair, I find the notion of punishing criminals to prevent riots to be absolutely abhorrent. But I think that one of the reasons that riots happen in response to our criminal system is, again, because our criminal system has convinced us that reciprocity is the goal. That when a criminal does wrong, they wrong all of society - and all of society gets to inflict its vengeance upon them. Which seems to me like mob justice, only with a veneer of civility.

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby zug » Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:50 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:if the choice is between satisfying someone's desire for reciprocity and preventing murder, I am going to go with the latter. 11 times out of 10 (I'll use a time machine to do it twice).

Why do we have to choose? Our current system allows for both at once. Capital punishment satisfies both these desires. So does lifetime imprisonment.

It seems pretty clear that you've never been the victim of a heinous crime (rape/murder/etc), Hippo. I see a lot of naivete in your assumptions. That the victimized shouldn't be party to ANY decisions on punishment... why the hell not? They're the ones who the criminal originally punished! You seem to be arguing that victims ought to be taken completely out of the equation, but how many of our lawmakers are themselves victims of crime? I know it's more than zero.

I'd also argue that the desire for revenge is natural and not something "barbaric" that must be "overcome." The desire for sex is natural, and could be called barbaric in a similar fashion (aka, it's not barbaric, it's base and instinctive in a morally-neutral way). They both lend themselves to propagation of the good in our species.

You seem to think, again, that there's something wrong with the instinctive response to avenge wrongs enacted on one's self and loved ones. I think that trying to eradicate or mitigate the effects of this instinct is unnatural as hell. More civilized, possibly, but in a very creepy and impersonal, even alien, manner.
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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Oct 01, 2009 4:01 am UTC

zug wrote:It seems pretty clear that you've never been the victim of a heinous crime (rape/murder/etc), Hippo. I see a lot of naivete in your assumptions.

And I see a hell of a lot of presumption in yours. Who the fuck are you to declare that anyone must not have been a victim if they think victims aren't in the right place to decide on the legal consequences of an action? You're now the sole arbiter of what crime victims ought to think about crime and punishment?

zug wrote:I'd also argue that the desire for revenge is natural and not something "barbaric" that must be "overcome." The desire for sex is natural, and could be called barbaric in a similar fashion (aka, it's not barbaric, it's base and instinctive in a morally-neutral way).

Complete non sequitor. Simply stating that revenge is morally neutral, unlike such other natural things as rape and murder, doesn't make it so.

zug wrote:I think that trying to eradicate or mitigate the effects of this instinct is unnatural as hell. More civilized, possibly, but in a very creepy and impersonal, even alien, manner.

And now on into naturalistic fallacy land. Eradicating or mitigating disease with technology is also unnatural as hell. Pretty alien to billions of years of evolution, and hella creepy from the perspective of people a hundred or more years ago. And speaking of unnatural but civilized, very creepy, impersonal, and alien things: you're talking with people you'll never see by typing at a lit up piece of glass, for chrissake!

What if it turned out that, beyond simply being a naturally common and widespread phenomenon, there was an actual instinct to rape? Affected by a gene in some individuals, perhaps, that preserved itself quite handily by encouraging those individuals to mate with partners willing or not. Trying to eradicate that genetically-based instinct would be incredibly unnatural. But so the fuck what? Would rape being an instinct suddenly make you change your mind and say, okay, in that case I guess it's not really such a bad thing after all?

Pointing out that something is natural or unnatural bears no relationship whatsoever on its ethical status.
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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:01 am UTC

zug wrote:They're the ones who the criminal originally punished! You seem to be arguing that victims ought to be taken completely out of the equation, but how many of our lawmakers are themselves victims of crime? I know it's more than zero.
Assuming our goal is merely to prevent more victims, what special knowledge does a victim bring to a discussion about how to reach this goal? Beyond, that is, a description of the crime itself?
zug wrote:I'd also argue that the desire for revenge is natural and not something "barbaric" that must be "overcome." The desire for sex is natural, and could be called barbaric in a similar fashion (aka, it's not barbaric, it's base and instinctive in a morally-neutral way). They both lend themselves to propagation of the good in our species.
What gmaviluk said, but I'll try to be a little nicer: There is absolutely no reason to value a process merely because it is 'natural'. If revenge is natural, and lynch mobs are an expression of that, are lynch mobs therefore good? If tribalism is natural, and racism is an expression of that, is racism therefore good? I don't think you want to set your moral compass to whatever 'feels' right. Feelings do not dictate effective morality.

This is anecdotal, but my father once gave me an excellent piece of advice on this very subject: "The way you can tell the difference between the right thing and the wrong thing is that the right thing is always the one thing you don't want to do."
zug wrote:You seem to think, again, that there's something wrong with the instinctive response to avenge wrongs enacted on one's self and loved ones. I think that trying to eradicate or mitigate the effects of this instinct is unnatural as hell. More civilized, possibly, but in a very creepy and impersonal, even alien, manner.
My goal is a society where the least amount of humans are victimized. I wish to accomplish this by violating as few human rights as possible. You are free to call that alien, but I fail to see how such a society would not be a vast improvement from one where victims are punished for being victims and criminals are punished for being criminals.
Last edited by The Great Hippo on Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:04 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Crime and Punishment: What Criminals Deserve

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:04 am UTC

zug wrote:I'd also argue that the desire for revenge is natural and not something "barbaric" that must be "overcome." The desire for sex is natural, and could be called barbaric in a similar fashion (aka, it's not barbaric, it's base and instinctive in a morally-neutral way). They both lend themselves to propagation of the good in our species.

You seem to think, again, that there's something wrong with the instinctive response to avenge wrongs enacted on one's self and loved ones. I think that trying to eradicate or mitigate the effects of this instinct is unnatural as hell. More civilized, possibly, but in a very creepy and impersonal, even alien, manner.

The difference is it's all fair and good for an individual to seek retribution against an individual, but it's poorly weighted when a state seeks retribution against an individual. If I came home to find someone raping my girlfriend, I'd probably attempt to kill/punish the rapist. I may even attempt to kill or otherwise punish the rapist well after the incident. As an individual, I think my feelings of retribution would be justified. But I don't think state-administered punishment for rape should be the death pentalty, or castration, or the amputation of a limb, or any of the other form of cruelty.

When states seek to punish individuals, the results become messy very quickly. States also make bureaucratic errors, and innocents shouldn't be drawn and quartered. States should only seek to protect society, while individuals can seek their vengeance. And if they can't get their punishment in before the criminal is captured by the state, then they may have to settle for compensation instead.

But shouldn't we also consider the nature of punishment? If a student won't submit an essay, the teacher will find suitable punishment with a view to motivate the student to hand-in future assignments. The punishment has a purpose, towards reforming the student. Likewise, if a customer is being a douche, but store policy requires me to submit to their demands, then I'll make the customer wait as long as I can before I help them. The intent of the punishment is to teach the customer some humility, for next time. But if a parent is overcome with stress and kills two of their children, what's the point in punishment? The auntie of the family may want the parent to suffer, but not practical good will come from punishing the criminal. Rather the parent needs help. Jail, also. Such a person is not safe, but punishment won't undo the tragedy, and it's not torture will convince such a person their actions aren't kosher if they don't already know it.
do the crime do the time wrote:Very sad that some people want to protect the rights of people who take the rights of others .
Human beings not monsters you say?
I disagree , these are evil people with no respect for life and no remorse for the actions they have carried out .
People believe that by having "rights" no matter what that person has done is a good thing these people who fight for rights for criminals are damaging society.

Human beings may be monsters, capable of evil and undeserving of rights. But by pretending we're all good, and acting as if it's true, we've managed to coat our societies in this flimsy veneer we call "civilisation". When we hold ourselves upto our imaginary standards of morality and human rights, we get to keep the veneer. Otherwise, we find it chips off very easily.

For example, the British administration of India sometime acted superbly and, at other times, barbariously. When the administration and its courts forgot to remember that the Indian people were human, massacres occured. When they remembered to treat them with dignity and respect, the British were forced to examine injustices in their laws and correct them. A system that empathises with its criminals will never go far wrong; a system that demonizes its criminals will earn a colourful mention in history books.
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