Punishment and Rehabilitation

There’s an unspoken assumption here… Why is it seen as a punishment? Why not give it to everyone at birth? Society changes people from their natural state in all manner of ways, throughout our lives - this is just an explicit example.

It’s not as starkly one-sided as this, of course - the rules are created to bring benefit to those in “the group” - otherwise, no-one would join. The Group does not begin as a malevolent entity swallowing all - it is a voluntary structure that offers protection, support and stability in exchange for a degree of freedom. When those benefits do not outweigh the penalties of the alternatives, new rules and groups are created - revolution, insurrection.

The penalties of the alternatives must also include the cost of overcoming conservative elements within the group, which are higher in police states than democracies. Hence, where people are free and able to campaign for effective political change, people are not forced to accept as great penalties and the benefits must be clearer.

group membership is not always voluntary. at least not initially. and as long as the group retains control of information sufficiently, many within the group never realize that they do have a choice regarding membership.

the group is not “malevolent” or benevolent, such labels are meaningless with regard to the group. and often the mere appearance of protection and stability are all that it takes to maintain order, even when these things are lacking. of course thats not to say that there are no “benefits” of membership-- indeed there are a great many, from a pragmatic point of view. my contention here, however, is that such benefits are meaningless, and that the appearance of such benefits, while retaining some meaning, is still not the sole or even defining determinant regarding either group structure or evolution.

the group itself uses revolution and insurrection to its own ends. it is quite rare that totally “new” groups are created, because the group entity itself, the “group-ness” or being-a-group-entity (the power dynamic, the authority/administration/institutionalism) remains throughout transitions. hence the inevitability with which radical freedom movements end up establishing new (and more efficient) systems of control.

democracy is a case in point here. power systems and control were dispersed for efficiency sake within the economic and political institutions, and became completely inseparable from the group itself. supposed “checks” against such controls and power are nothing more than illusion, as they first and foremost establish compliance with the system itself (its rules) in order that “change” can be instituted at all. (you require a city permit to march or protest, you are “free” only because the Constitution establishes freedoms (e.g. “freedoms” exist within a larger structure of rules), etc).

institutionalism and indoctrination establish a repressive tolerance which marginalizes any truly radical elements. real change is impossible within such systems. democracy is no more than a more effective and subtle system of control. give people “control” over superficial elements that are insufficient to change the real foundation or administrative structure of the system itself, and you have succeeded in turning citizens into slaves.

groups are primary here. punishment serves an essential function within such groups. trying to understand punishment or rehabilitation outside of their group utility or psychological necessity only leads to oversimplification and error. punishment is part of that which the group/system uses to exert direct control over its citizens, by turning them against each other and also by giving the rules of membership primacy over all else, i.e. as punishing-behavior of the state is experienced vicariously by individuals, they unconsciously establish the rules of the system as primary, in that the violation of such rules is now associated with extreme detriment to the individual himself. linking the individual psychological ego to the group’s rules (to the need to follow such rules; to their irrevocability and unquestioned status), even when such rules impose upon the individual himself (and even when they impose HARSHLY upon the individual) is effective in mitigating real transitive change of the system itself. punishment becomes, among other things, that which cements the individual to the group via psychological rewards, not to mention physical rewards as well.

punishment is essential. there will never be a society that does not punish its dissidents or criminals. and if there were no criminals to speak of, society would manufacture them out of necessity.

But of course the trick is “justified in believing”. There is plenty of good evidence demonstrating many of the harsher forms of punishment (torture, death penalty, and so on) do very little to discourage crime. Indeed, the evidence is so overwhelming that I don’t think any person could cling to that believe in the modern world and be considered rational.

As for punishing innocents to deter others, I think it would be difficult to actually justify such a stance from a pragmatic standpoint much less a moral one. Punishments that are perceived as unjust are a massive source of societal strain so unless the government doing them is totalitarian in nature and rules through keeping its population in a constant state of fear (where punishments of this nature are demanded) it doesn’t make sense to actually implement them. The person being punished has to be perceived as guilty in order for it to work.

Mind expanding on this?

I agree. It dehumanizes it, which is bad for so human an institution.

In a system of deterrence, someone has to take the fall. Why not have the guilty party shoulder that burden? Better than an unrelated figure, wouldn’t you agree?

The jail time?

:laughing: That’s a good fucking question, and it kind of ruins my example, so let’s ignore it…the drug has just come out and the FDA is not comfortable giving it to newborns or even those not convicted or something like that.

Point ceded.

That is exactly what I had in mind. It seems a state which thinks deterrence justifies punishment would have to punish someone even if they knew that they are innocent as long as people see this person as guilty, and here’s where I can fit in a pretty good fatty analogy to show deterrence is not moral (as long as we’re agreeing in the first place that killing the fatty is not moral and that the two examples are parallel).

Sure. Basically I’m saying here what I said to Kriswest. The prisoner is not responsible for potential criminals or the criminal mindset of people out there. He did not create their potential criminality. He is an effect of the same thing as those potential criminals. He has no obligation towards them, so why should he be the one to suffer so that those people can be deterred? The only reason I can see is that when the rehabilitated criminal is punished, this sends a better message, or a better targeted message, because what he did puts him in the same camp as those who the state wishes to deter, namely the other. But simply because it works doesn’t mean that it should be done. Pushing the fatty onto the tracks works, but that’s not fair to the fatty.

It is better all things considered, but I don’t think it’s good enough, at least if the standard is a moral system of punishment.

If you do a crime and all that happens is a mental adjustment to you then crime is worth doing. You do not deter crime with limp noodles slapping on a wrist. Euro, crime may be down but then again, Euro tends to be a lot harsher in their sentencing. From what I have seen and been told some of the prisons make SingSing look like a three star hotel.

Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. If I commit a crime I fully expect to do time. people made their decision to commit crime either because they chose not to control themselves or for what ever other reason. Harsh punishment sends at least a message that keeps many from doing crimes. It does, otherwise most of us would be out there commiting social crimes. Morals and ethics only work if they are backed up by a strong arm. People tend to be moral or ethical because of fear. Yes, that includes me. While I know a person or two that I would love to harm, it is against my interest to do so because I do not think they are worth my life. Morally it would bring harm to those dependent upon me so I can’t do it.

Deterence is a primary reason for prison or death sentence. Punihment/justice is another reason. So what? You choose to make the decision to commit a crime, deal with it. But I forget, the higher educated liberal society declares that we do not have to accept responsibility for our actions. Its always someone elses fault we screw up. :unamused: Sorry I believe in the death penalty, I believe in the death penalty for drug dealers that sell to kids, for rapists, for pedophiles, for assinine politicians that steal our money for several other types of crimes also.
Sometimes a Gov’t can be too kind.

The US has a far, far higher prison population
nationmaster.com/graph/cri_p … per-capita
and prison conditions vary very greatly by state
contexts.org/pubcrim/2007/07/28/ … 2001-2005/

My impression and what I’ve understood is that I’d rather be locked up almost anywhere in Europe than the Deep South.

Problem is, you have to have a rate of apprehension enough to make it a realistic risk. If you face 30 years for burglary with a 1% chance of being caught, that’s far less deterrent than 5 years at 50%.

And for the crime of being wrongfully convicted? :wink:

Actually not, Euro sentencing is more lenient generally, for example people can’t be sentenced to death or even go to jail for life (meaning life: in the UK its 15 to x years generally depending on the crime, with sentences like 200 years banned by the EU constitution), they must have a chance of parole unless they are insane no matter what the crime, serial killer or otherwise; for example Myra Hindley was due to be paroled in 2002 IIRC but she died, we had a couple more murders to pin on her though. Sentencing varies but generally it is more lenient than in the US. the reasons there is less crime in certain countries are usually due to social systems though, like providing higher social mobility and tackling poverty and poor education, ie the root of the problem. But its a complex business. Also our prisons are not as harsh as some of the maximum security prisons in the US, in fact generally they are more like holiday camps than yours.

You really can’t compare Europe to the US though, we don’t have as much of a historic underclass, or as much social deprivation in underclasses or anything like your history of subjugation of minorities so it would be completely pointless to compare the two. Perhaps Canada and the US would be a valid comparison.

This only works in crimes where there is aforethought, incarceration, then aforethought, then reincarceration and so on though. Many people also don’t expect to be caught, it’s only when they do that it provides an incentive.

The death sentence does not deter people, there is no evidence that murder is prevented by a death sentence or that it acts as a deterrent, where it has been removed sometimes murder rates have even fell in some states, but for the most part they stay the same regardless or there is no real statistical difference, implementation of the death penalty. reimplementation or removal. And the cost of the appellate procedure far outweighs the cost of life incarceration also. For example it is estimated were they to bring back the death sentence in New York state it would cost 8 times as much than the current system of incarcerating them for life because of the right to appeal. the average is about 4 times the cost of life imprisonment.

I think only an idiot would blame everything but the criminal in the crimes you mention btw, I’m not sure that isn’t just a strawman.

Anyway the death sentence is a subject for a whole 'nother thread no. Stringing up paedophiles or rapists we’d agree would satisfy our desire for punishment, but I doubt it’d prevent them from committing crimes in the first place. As I say the deterrent factor doesn’t work in some of the most serious crimes. If it did believe me I’d be all in favour of it, I’m nothing if not pragmatic.

I’ll just stick with this portion because this is likely the crux of our disagreement. The bolded portions assumes an unencumbered individual. Since I reject that concept, I’m not sure we can go forward. Additionally, the italicized portion is why he is a suitable example for those we wish to deter. It is because they share those similarities that the message is able to be effective.

As for whether it is fair to the fatty, it is only unjust if the fatty is unrelated to the situation at hand. It is precisely that part of the analogy which fails here. On a related note, is a remedial virtue like justice the best candidate for a trump virtue in discussions on society?

Sounds to me like some of you are for allowing criminals to get just a slap on the wrist. If most people did not expect to get caught in commiting a crime more people would commit crimes. The vast majority of humans would cross that line for one reason or another. It is only consequences that prevent most humans from commiting antisocietal actions. We are too primal and to self serving yet. We are part of society because of need, not because we want to or desire society. Otherwise we would all live in communal housing not individual housing. We would not have possessions. We would strive to improve society not ourselves.

I don’t give a toss what they do as long as it works, and doesn’t cost the tax payer 4 times more than other methods and isn’t just about revenge. If they shot people out of a cannon and it proved a deterrent I’d be in favour of that. The argument isn’t one of sympathy its one of practicality. If it works then use it, if it doesn’t reduce crime and it costs a lot, and another method is more practical don’t. Who’s mentioned moral arguments about sympathy here?

If you want to reduce crime then legalize some things that are illegal to use and instead of prison, forced drug rehab. I know our prisons would empty out somewhat if they would just stop arresting people for pot. Just marijuana imprisonment alone is costing us billions. Tax the sales and pay for harder drug rehab. Somethings are just plain stupid to have illegal. If an adult wants to fry their brain let them, if they commit crimes while fried euthanize them, its faster and less painful then killing yourself on drugs. Some would say its even merciful…Then prostituiton my next favorite ilegal thing, what happens between two consenting adults is noone’s business. Key word consenting, most prostitution is consenting although you do have some very vocal feminsts saying its not. Thats Bullshit. If its not consenting then its forced rape at a profit. Then do the world a favor and delete the pimp and John/jane. Legalizing prostitution here should be done taxes and controlling disease are excellent reasons to legalize it.

Sidhe many countries in Euro have legalized so many things that are illegal here. The laws here are archaic and cause more problems then they are worth.

The fatty is related, but he is not responsible. He is related in the sense that he is a deviant, like those who need to be deterred, but that’s not the kind of relation which would make him responsible for their deterrence. The kind of relation necessary for this purpose is one where this specific criminal is somehow causally responsible for their behavior.

Being in the same group as someone does not make a person responsible for the rest of the group, in the same way that being in the group of Albanians-in-the-US does not make me responsible for these other Albos.

The idea of the encumbered individual is vague in my mind, but I don’t see it producing an answer which says the rehabilitated criminal is anymore responsible for those who need to be deterred than you or me. Like I said above, punishing him instead of you or me would work better, off course, just like pushing the fatty onto the tracks instead of you or me would work better, too, but simply because it works does not mean it’s moral.

But this makes me wonder what makes the use of a criminal for purposes of deterring other criminals moral now that we don’t have these sort of vaccines. The same problem would apply, namely, that there is no reason to have the criminal shoulder this burden of deterrence, other than the reason that this works best.

The criminal makes their choice knowing the consequences, society does not force them to shoulder anything. Its a simple rule. “If you do this you get this.” the person that commits the crime knows full well what to expect if caught. They made their decision. Its their responsibility because they chose that course of action. Prison is perfectly moral, ethical and valid as a consequence as is the death penalty.

I don’t see how a conscious choice to commit a crime makes the criminal somehow responsible for other people who choose to do illegal things, and also for other people who might do illegal things. Why should this load be on them? What reason is there? What makes them responsible?

If person A consciously chooses to do X*, and
If person B consciously chooses to do X
this doesn’t mean that A is responsible for B, or for C,D,E,F,G who MIGHT choose X.

*any act whatsoever.

In a system as complicated and as recursive as society, I do not think that applying a rigid sense of linear causality makes sense. There are waaay too many variables to make even an attempt at such a process even marginally meaningful. We can identify clusters of problems but, of course, addressing a cluster is incredibly problematic.

So what do we do? We use the tools we have available to best address the clusters. You said it yourself:

Sure it does. Our membership to these groups, chosen or not, has a great deal of meaning and largely shapes who we are. Our interactions both within and outside of the group has a great deal of bearing on the group.

It isn’t just any rehabilitated criminal but a criminal of the same type as others. Punishing a white middle class male serial murder won’t discourage a white middle class male from committing investment fraud. But punishing a middle class white male for investment fraud will (if done correctly) discourage another white middle class male from committing investment fraud. That is the relationship.

What you mean like building a military base, stocking it with lunatics (cult members), and then stockpiling an armoury which could probably take out a small country. Yeah fairly practical idea making that one illegal I think? :smiley:

Actually joking aside the constitution doesn’t really guarantee that many activities or enshrine in law much to do with the legal system, so the question should be since your legal system works on precedent just like ours why are you saying the laws are archaic, or more precisely what laws do you mean? I mean granted the death sentence is a bit pointless when you have an appellate system where all murderers found guilty are guaranteed the right to appeal (same as ours incidentally, although you are entitled to the right to appeal on any crime over here IIRC). I mean it makes sense in China where the right to appeal is something like screaming “don’t kill me!” When the judge is about to press the button that opens the trap door that leads to the shark tank.

Archaic laws such as prohibition laws dealing with vice. Gambling, prostitution, liquor, drugs etc. Our nation has a trillion dollar deficit. Removing most old vice laws would put billions of tax dollars in the coffers. It would cut crime down, cut costs on housing for criminals cut costs on prosecution. Vice laws are still around not because vice is evil but, because that is where the police and courts make their money. Vice is big big money here in the states for top crime lords and law enforcement.

Are you talking about Waco Texas??? That was one huge debacle for the Gov’t. :unamused:

I do feel that every US citizen should be allowed an armory if they can afford it. I can’t see this country ever getting invaded then. Would you invade a country where darn near everyone was armed to the teeth? I sure wouldn’t , I would be kissing some ass and making friends :laughing: :laughing:

Ah I see, yeah you do seem to have a lot of religious people pandering old fashioned ideas about things that are going to happen either above the radar or below it. If anything demonstrated that well it was the prohibition laws. Mind you as a liberal, in the not stopping people from doing what they want sense of the word, you’re speaking to the converted. I’ve always been a believer that its better to tax human nature than restrict it.

I can’t see any modern democracy being invaded by another modern democracy anyway really, ex colonial/empire concerns aside. I think your army could cope anyway, you know just about with the meagre resources its given. :wink:

Actually there are plenty of others that have the same sort of set up, fascist organisations, those waiting for the fall of government and so on (there are probably more nut job groups than you care to imagine living in the backwoods of Picketywich, X), but it does seem a little anachronistic. 1) the government isn’t going to collapse and 2) you couldn’t build a big enough armoury to overthrow the army whether it collapsed or not. 3) overthrowing tyranical rule in your goverment seems a little pointless these days 4) The imperialist dogs, ie Britain are your closest allies and not only that our monarchy got over not being allowed to invade the US again in the reign of King George III, just be thankful our government controlled the army then, and France was a far bigger threat than it is now. Besides I think we realised there’s no point trying to force a country that yearns to be free into servitude, pity it took us nearly 200 years more to finally get the message, but meh vast mineral and textile and x wealth and slavery are profitable businesses if you can control the trade routes with a large navy. Still I suppose we can look on it as something formative in the long run that left nations a little more advanced than they would be, even if it comes with a bag o’ crap along with it.

I always find it ironic that we abolished slavery before the US, being as we had much more to lose? Still liberals have their purposes I suppose. :slight_smile:

I agree about democratic nations. Its the non democratic countries that are South of us, east and west of us that would try. Third world countries that are more regimes than anything else could cause trouble or problems or ally with others that find us distasteful. Here in the US, the military cannot operate within the states unless the presiding state Gov’t requests it.( supposedly) (it is written that way) :unamused:
While invasion would be unsuccessful it still would cause alot of death and damage, considering I live near a coast line that is barely patroled I sort of kind of really do not wish to twiddle my thumbs waiting for help to arrive, many here agree. Did you know that some third world countries are buying up submarines? yea, thats not good for anyone. Not you all, not us. They may not succeed but when has that ever stopped egotists? It was said earlier about most criminals do not think they will get caught, Don’t you think the same goes for dictators??

On another note; my son’s Jr, high school started up a controversial program due to gang related violence. Every student was allowed to carry a legal sized knife to school. Violence dropped drastically. From two stabbings or shootings a week it dropped to an average of one act of violence per semester. In a school with 3000 kids thats a hell of drop. No deaths occurred that year. The next year when the program was cutdue to panicky Gov’t officials, violence went back up. We got our son out of there and moved out of state to a calmer part of the country. ( I hate cities now) :smiley:
About the only violence out here is hunting game. :wink: :laughing:

The theory of that program was based on the cold war. Balance of power.