Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Dilemma

What if the use of imprisonment actually causes more harm than the crimes to which it is a response? What if this punishment actually prompts future crime and social dysfunction?
In facing that question we are forced to wonder about what is more important to us as a society -reducing future crime, or hurting the criminal? It is rarely pointed out so starkly that some punishments may actually cause great social harm than the initial offence, and that should cause us to wonder why we prefer punishment that leads to future crime?

2 comments:

  1. It's kind of like an amphibian - not quite a fish, but not quite an animal that can actually navigate the land yet. The urge to punish is a blunt, fairly random impetus which probably did have some gain at various times in the past.

    These days you might be better teaching people about their cognitive biases - teaching them emotional management plans so when their rage does bubble up, they see it coming, rather than being owned by it and potentially commiting a crime. Then there are people who you have to wonder, if the basic staples of life (food and shelter) were not desperately uncertain, would they commit the crime they did? Probably about as much as a rich stock broker would rob a liqour store - not at all.

    Generally society is stuck in a fairly barberous work cycle (you noticed the 6am wake up requirement, eh?), so while the general population faces such sucky conditions, they are inclined to ensure criminals face even suckier conditions.

    While a tiny group of the ultra rich make sure the whole status quo stays the same, so they can play out their conquest games.

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  2. The trouble is that there is no one cause of crime. The abused wife who beats her husband with a hammer does not have the same reason as a serial killer.

    I have met people who have committed crimes because they believe it gets them one up on the system. I have met people who commit crimes because they believe they are tough. I have met people who commit crimes because they morally justify every single action to themselves and believe they can do no wrong. None of these people needed to commit crime.

    If a person is a drug addict, or mentally ill, then they may commit crime. If a person is quite simply a nasty person, then they can also commit crime. Assuming they can both be handled in the same way is wrong.

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