I was reading where the family/loved ones were relieved and over joyed that the person who had murdered their love one was finally apprehended and incarcerated. Does this really feel like justice has been done? You lose a loved one, while the person who took them from you goes to prison, gets 3 meals a day, works out and watches cable tv everyday? How does everyone feel about this?
I thankfully haven't gone through this but I think the murderer being caught and put in jail would bring a small sense of justice to me. I don't have the greatest trust in the American justice system so it would be small. On an emotional level I think I'd want the person to suffer for what they did. It probably was closure for that family if it took a long time to get any kind of justice.
If I had to watch cable TV all day I would consider that a cruel and inhuman punishment, so great, let them suffer.
Sadly, prisoners have access to books. Why must we continually mitigate punishment.
It is the only justice that we can mete out, yes, unless the death penalty is used.
The only other alternative would be vigilante justice, which would be true justice in some cases, but is too fragile and violates the definition of legal justice and should not be used.
Even in "legal justice", sometimes, the system fails.
But it's the best that us humans can do.
Apparently your question focuses more on the situation of the prisoners, though, so I'll say that I think most prisons do the best they can. They can't just give everyone solitary confinement and take away all human activities like exercise etc.
But yes they give too many benefits to prisoners sometimes too.
I wonder..........what setup is given to death row inmates and lifetime inmates? Anyone know? Are they also given the perks like cable tv and workout gyms etc.........?
From your post, it actually sounds like you are discussing "revenge" rather than "justice"
Incarcerating a criminal should serve several purposes:
1)Protect other people from the harm that criminal causes.
2)Drive home the fact that negative actions against others results in negative consequences. Hopefully it will be not repeated when the person is released. We have a fair to poor record here.
3)Teach the person how to get along in the world, so that when released they are able to survive without harming others. We have a very poor record.
4)Show others contemplating the same action that consequences will be given, in the hopes of convincing them not to do the same thing. Considering the size of our penal system this is a failure as well.
Whether we get what we're trying for out of incarceration or not, nowhere does simple revenge have a part to play.
Strange to say Wilderness, but +1!
Had to happen one day
Clear and concise without attack - are you sure this is an HP forum post.
Allowing prison to be the punishment rather than giving into revenge keeps us from descending into savagery. We may want revenge but is that seeking our higher self or is it descending to the level occupied by an unreconstructed criminal?
I'm not insinuating resorting to 3rd world country, an eye for an eye type tactics, but something a little harsher. Some of this repeat offenders get "institutionalized" and prefer being in prison rather than in society, so its really not much of a punishment.
Without going into the tragedy of people who would prefer to be locked up rather than free, if they are locked up they are not committing crimes on the general public?
BTW, an eye for an eye means that the punishment should equal the crime, not exceed it. The US system of three strikes and you're out is much much harsher than an eye for an eye.
It is rather sad, though. Human beings are meant to be free and productive.
@ John.....huh??? How is 3 strikes and your out harsher than an eye for an eye? An eye for an eye, is exactly that. You take a life, you lose yours, You rape a woman, your genitals are cut off, You steal, your hand is cut off. How do you figure having 3 opportunities to kill some one before you are locked up forever is harsher??
That was Wilderness's whole point, revenge wouldn't make it better
And being locked up for life for three petty offences is . . . ?
BTW, having your hand cut off for theft is not an equal punishment.
In my opinion....absolutely.....if you know the consequences of your actions, no matter how "petty", and you continue to do them....that's just not smart. So crime is ok, as long as its petty crime?
No, but neither is life for petty crime an eye for an eye, it is barbaric.
The usual "3 strikes" rule involves felony convictions, not really petty crimes like shoplifting smokes.
It may be barbaric, but the option is to basically do nothing. Just allow the thief or whatever to continue to prey on society. That is a solution that is unacceptable, at least to me, and one that is directly responsible for the huge increase in minor crimes in our society. There are no real consequences to such actions, the criminal never learns and keeps right on doing it.
First of all its three felonies not misdemeanors that get you locked up for life.
Felonies are not considered "petty offenses"!
We've been through that already - try and keep up.
"A third strike offense can be any felony, including simple drug possession or petty theft."
http://www.law.stanford.edu/organizatio … kes-basics
From your source!
I kept up, learn comprehension!
"The main feature of the Three Strikes law is the imposition of a life sentence for any felony conviction, no matter how minor, if the defendant has two prior "serious" felony convictions."
That doesn't make the third offence any more than a petty offence.
A felony is not a "petty offense"!
It takes three FELONIES!
If you have been through this then WHY don't you know that I was correct?
Like I said, we've been through this before. Please review the thread before wasting any more of my time.
You are wasting your time arguing things you are wrong about, a felony is not a petty offense! A misdemeanor is a petty offense in some cases. If you think beating your wife is a petty offense then you think all misdemeanors are.
When you learn something about the American legal system come back and debate until then continue to post incorrect information and act as if you know more than everyone else!
Agreed, an eye for an eye is somewhat barbaric, but there has to be enough harshness in the punishment in order for it to be a deterrent. If you know your going to chill in a jail cell for 3 months and watch cable tv all day, for your petty charge, of course your going to get out and do it again.
No, an eye for an eye is fair, life for petty crime is not an eye for an eye, it is purely barbaric and totally unfair.
Amongst other reasons, the thought of spending three months without my liberty would persuade me away from petty crime.
@ retief, yes, I take your point but it doesn't really dilute my argument.
It doesn't take that for many people. A good friend learned the lesson well with just 10 days behind bars; he has never repeated the offense while stating he will NOT go back there,
Others never learn. 10 days, a year or 5 years and they don't learn. Prison, to them, is insufficient incentive to stop their crime spree. So what's left? Keep putting them back, eventually equaling nearly a complete life sentence, but also producing a host of victims along the way?
Criminals love a liberal society, they thrive on it.
Even Swedens approach doesn't seem to have stopped crime although reoffending rates have fallen.
Unless the people are prepared to rid society of the problem altogether criminals will have a free hand to do exactly as they please.
Lowest crime rates in the world are in Scandinavia. So you are provably incorrect.
@Josak - I have no knowledge of anything about Scandinavia. What kind of governing system does Scandinavia have?
Progressive social democracy trending to socialism in a few countries. Norway for example has incredibly low crime rates to alongside being the wealthiest country in the world per capita and having the best quality of life index in the world.
The USA had 8 times more murders per hundred thousand people than Norway in 2009.
71 out of every 100 000 Norwegians are in jail compared to 743 out of every 100 000 in the USA so ten times more people in jail per capita here.
AND most importantly their justice system works, in the USA 67% of people who get out of prison are re-arrested and 52% go back to jail, on the other hand only about 20% of people released from Norwegian prisons are re-arrested.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/20 … me-nation/
Surely the aim is to stop crime Josak?
Maybe the issue is what is freedom and what happens when you take it away? If someone believes they were not free in the first place would taking away their freedom serve the purpose?
Nope the aim is to minimize it, stopping crime entirely is a utopian dream, frankly I doubt humanity will ever manage it. The Scandinavian model has been the most successful in that sense.
Norway has the highest freedom results in recent Gallup questionnaires, Scandinavians feel more free than any other group (at least Norway does anyhow).
Having been one , I truely believe Americans to be niave about justice for a victims of violent crime , We can only side with the poor jailed man who has no enjoyable life ! the Poor poor --perpetrator My ass ! America has become soft on crime !
And statistically the "tougher" on crime we are the more victims there will be.
If there is no consequence to criminal activity then there is no need for laws against it.
If the penalty is better than what they have at the moment it isn't a penalty.
Seeking revenge and hoping the correct punishment is applied is part of the healing process for the victims and their families.
Revenge is not a value or a virtue, it's an understandable human emotion, just as wanting to kill the criminal yourself might often be but it is wrong and counterproductive.
Punishment is only worth something in so far as it acts as a deterrent and reduces crime, other systems (like the Scandinavian ones) have much lower crime rates and MUCH MUCH lower recidivism with lesser punishments so obviously our level of punishment is useless.
Victims inflict revenge thus assuring that there will be more victims who will seek revenge in turn creating more victims until we end up with our current enormous crime rate and prison population.
It is better to have fewer victims than it is to make victims feel better.
When you kill someone you take away everything he has ever had or will ever have, what punishment then would befit the crime?
After a little research I find Sweden's crime rate is increasing especially in the more violent crimes.
And a little more research would show you that Sweden is becoming more capitalist.
It's funny you should say that John as another report was trying to link the low crime rates to the swede's believing in hell. Another report pit the increase in crime squarely at the door of the influx of immigrants as there had been a sharpe rise in arrests of immigrants. I suppose governments can make figures say exactly what they want them to say.
Murder depends on the circumstance, in my view first degree deserves life without parole unless the extenuating circumstances are something crazy ie. they were avenging a murder of a family member or something.
That is not however a proportional view of crime and punishment, murder is a tiny portion of the crime rate.
Sweden has had a conservative government for two terms, of course the crime rate is increasing. As I said, use Norway.
Sooooo! We forget about punishment because .....it -doesnt- work! ? Right , If you don't believe in punishment for crime then you don't believe in the need for laws ? How is that gonna work . As I said already - maybe you guys would understand more by having been be a victim , open your minds !.
Punishment only works in so far as is it is a deterrent, given our crime rate compared to nations with much less punishment obviously our punishment is excessive as a deterrent and is instead just creating criminals.
There really isn't a debate to be had here, there is a system that already exists, it works and the tough on crime system actively does not work and statistically massively increases crime. Hence one is superior system and "tough on crime" is an inferior one.
Inferior systems are to be abandoned.
So how does no punishment work as a deterrent? Maybe we are not harsh enough?
So should we be even less harsh on criminals? Would that eliminate crime altogether?
Prison is still a deterrent, (obviously since they have far lower crime rates) but a deterrent that rehabilitates rather than hardens criminals.
I think Norway has it about right in their prison system though I would have longer sentences for some crimes personally, the truth is however that there is nowhere to go with this argument, one system simply mathematically, provably and incontrovertibly works better and one works worse, having a debate on which is better in light of those facts is just dumb.
The statistics speak for themselves and I have listed some of them above, anything else is just creating more victims for the meager pleasure some people seem to get from inflicting pain on others.
You speak of this as if it is a causal relationship. Causal relationships in human behavior are extremely difficult once one gets past the immediate and proximate to the delayed and distant. If you eat too much and do too little you get fat. Increased or decreased punishment does not directly clearly correlate to a change in behavior. There is a rational element even in the commission of a crime. For example, if child molesters face the death penalty than it offers an incentive to kill the child and dispose of its body so no victim testimony or physical/psychological signs of molestation are available.
Crime and punishment are complex social events that do not readily yield to easy understanding or easy solution, much like economic events.
I agree, we may not necessarily fully understand exactly what in these systems creates the results but we can measure the quantifiable effect from all different countries with different systems and simply trace the pattern of systems that work and systems that don't even without completely understanding every facet of why.
Perhaps it is cultural, demographic, economic, educational, family dynamic, government welfare policies, availability of drugs, legality of drugs, rock music, nose picking, meat consumption. It is bad science to conclude that crime is low because punishment is soft. There may be a correlation or may not be. It may merely be coincidental considering the urbanization, demographic, marital, educational and cultural differences between the United States and all Western European countries.
How does one account for the low homicide rate in Norway, Sweden and Finland - all with high firearms ownership rates - and the homicide rate in the US? Is it merely a threshold number when reached tips the population to become killers? Hardly a scientific conclusion but born out by correlating only two disparate variables.
It is a good example of confirmation bias, a normal human thing often confused with sound thinking and scientific conclusions.
But it is a fair assumption to say that crime is high because punishment is harsh. That is assuming that we measure crime by punishment and not by actual figures.
If country A decides that crime X deserves a prison sentence whilst country B decides that crime X deserves community service it follows that country A will have more people in prison for crime X than country B. Or if for the same crime, country A gives an average tariff of 5 years and country B 30 months, then again country A will have a higher prison population than B.
That is a measure of prison population not crime. But I take your point and it is reasonably presented.
If A punishes with 5 year sentences the same crime that B punishes with 2 years of house arrest than prison population rates will be different but crime rates cannot be assumed to be the same because A keeps a potential repeater imprisoned longer than B.
Does it follow that B would have a higher crime rate because its former offenders are free to pursue their nefarious trade sooner? Or does it follow that the convicted criminal in A has an opportunity to polish and expand his criminal repertoire and therefore have a decreased chance for apprehension? Or that he has a greater chance of re-arrest because his scope of confident larceny has increased, thus increasing the opportunity to brush against the agents of the law?
If crime and punishment were simple it would not be a social problem. Perhaps it is human conduct that is the real social problem. Can we identify a single extinguished problem? Crime, violence, poverty, ignorance, hunger, etc...aren't these all eternal problems for humanity?
Whilst the criminal must take ultimate responsibility for his crimes, we, as society must take our share of the blame for encouraging criminal behaviour. For example, anecdotal only, after a certain prime Minister of the UK encouraged everybody to believe that there is no such thing as society and it was a case of every man for himself, we have seen an increase both in crime and the criminal/victim relationship.
Many years ago I was working on my car on the street, packed up and went inside. Some hours later answered a knock on the door to find a local, with convictions for theft standing there, clutching a handful of tools that I hadn't put away. Fast forward many years and I'm in a supermarket. I dropped some change on the floor and before I was half way down to get it a young girl had swooped up the lot. Smiling and holding out my hand so that she could return the money was met with a filthy look and when her mother got involved (apparently fairly well educated). Mother insisted that as the money was lost and her daughter had found it, it was by rights, her's to keep. My insistence that I hadn't actually lost the money (up until having it stolen) cut no ice and mother and daughter left in a cloud of righteous indignation.
Nope it's simply a correlation of course we can argue about cause and causation, any sane person however would conclude given the vast variety of areas (not just in Western Europe) where that system has lower crime and the vast numbers of areas (not just the US) that have our system and have higher crime that the criminal system is the cause.
Anything else is indeed confirmation bias.
This is itself a logical fallacy.
....any sane....any reasonable...any one but an idiot....all are claims meant to place greater value on the claim presented without any additional proof for the claim. It raises the standard for disproving the claim by attacking the one attempting to disprove the claim. It is a logical fallacy.
There is a claim made. NO proof offered for the claim. But, any sane person will accept the claim, therefore only lunatics would attempt to refute the claim. Not a reasonable argument but an attack.
Perhaps it is entirely socialization. Americans have a surfeit of defiance, stubbornness, independence and the freedom to engage in all kinds of stupid and self destructive behavior - including crime. In many places the nail that sticks up gets pounded down - here he gets a reality show.
Crime is still rising in Norway, for a system to be truly safe for society then shouldn't crime be falling?
Being in the legal community I've been privy to a lot not normally seen by the general public. Some years ago, I happened to be in court during the sentencing phase of a heinous murder trial. Prior to sentencing the prisoner had the chance to address the court. He promised if granted leniency his future would be different -- he would do everything from helping old ladies across the street to working for charities -- and it went on and on and on. The old judge listened attentively and when the murderer was through making all his promises the judge quietly pronounced sentence -- which was life in prison without parole. He then said "Mr. Jones, the first murder in Texas isn't free. This court is adjourned." We need more judges like that -- my opinion only.
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