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Is lifelong imprisonment inhumane?

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sivispacem
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#31

Posted 11 July 2013 - 10:14 AM

Solitary confinement had a place, but only in protecting prisoners from the aggression of others. It shouldn't be used as a tool in and of itself.

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#32

Posted 11 July 2013 - 02:31 PM

Hell, lifelong imprisonment should be legal. They still get the right to live (considering their crimes, they really, really, don't deserve it), can have fun with their inmates, and stuff. Even if it's illegal, the judges have a heart, and they'll just give the man 100 years.

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#33

Posted 11 July 2013 - 02:38 PM

Generally people who are imprisoned for life are people who have committed inhumane actions themselves. Brevik is the perfect example of someone who should be kept locked up for the rest of his life. He killed many people and ruined the lives of many more who lost ones close to them or were affected badly by this. In his case, it would be insulting for him to ever be able to walk the streets again as a free man. He's committed his crime and should suffer the consequences for it.

Help should be offered to these people while they're inside in an attempt to make sure that if they are ever released that they will no longer be a threat to society, but even if these people will never commit another crime again, the fact is that they should remain locked up. As I said, it would be insulting to families who have suffered to see a murderer, cured or not, walking the streets again as a free man when he took that freedom from people who he had killed previously.

sivispacem
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#34

Posted 11 July 2013 - 03:13 PM

Why should they remain locked up, though? Aside from retribution, what purpose does incarcerating someone who no longer poses any threat actually achieve? And the very principle of retributive justice is morally questionable, barbaric and uncivilised. Evidence shows nations with rehabilitation as the primary focus of the justice sysyem; those with no real retribution in their justice system are freer, more civil, happier and safer societies. Do we really need to pander to the emotional whims of victims and their families? Does doing so actually make justice more just? I would argue the inverse.

Emotion has no place in the legal justice system. It should be based on empiricism and rationality. Allowing people impede on these golden standards because of their personal whims is entirely contradictory to the basic principles of justice. Retribution serves no purpose other than to make societal ethically weaker and morally poorer, and the moment people forget the whole idea of punishment for selfish reasons rather that rehabilitation for society's good, the faster we will become more civil.

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#35

Posted 11 July 2013 - 07:16 PM

Not to mention that creating a productive member of society out of a criminal benefits said society. If a convict has been rehabilitated he/she should be given an equal opportunity to give something back.

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#36

Posted 11 July 2013 - 10:53 PM

QUOTE (GTAvanja @ Thursday, Jul 11 2013, 13:16)
Not to mention that creating a productive member of society out of a criminal benefits said society. If a convict has been rehabilitated he/she should be given an equal opportunity to give something back.

This.

If someone is in prison and, for the sense of the hypothetical, they're rehabilitated to the standard that would allow for parole, but we decide to keep them there indefinitely, it's the taxpayer that has to pay for the prisoner's incarceration.

If, however, we let the prisoner re-enter society to become (hopefully) a productive member, the taxpayers are no longer on the hook for footing the bill for the prisoner's incarceration, since it would now be $0 (although there will be some incidental costs, like supervision, parole officer, et cetera - but much less than the cost of keeping them in the prison themselves). The added bonus is that if they're working, they're contributing to the tax pool and hence, giving back to society.

So yeah, if a prisoner meets the standards of rehabilitation to be released back into general society, it should be considered, since it actually works better for the taxpayers. If they're still a danger to the public, then by all means, keep them inside.

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#37

Posted 12 July 2013 - 04:13 AM

QUOTE (Icarus @ Thursday, Jul 11 2013, 22:53)
If, however, we let the prisoner re-enter society to become (hopefully) a productive member, the taxpayers are no longer on the hook for footing the bill for the prisoner's incarceration, since it would now be $0 (although there will be some incidental costs, like supervision, parole officer, et cetera - but much less than the cost of keeping them in the prison themselves). The added bonus is that if they're working, they're contributing to the tax pool and hence, giving back to society.

Could you explain this a bit more clear to me? When you say "prisoners contributing to tax pool", do you mean "prisoners paying tax after they've received parole or paying tax - from the wages they receive - while serving prison sentence?

English isn't my first language, so I find it hard to wrap my head around what you wrote there. But I do love the idea of prisoners paying taxes for their incarceration. smile.gif



I forgot to add this in my previous post so I'll do it here. I believe prisoners should be taught a skill so when they get out they can improve their situation. While learning a skill they'll get paid a little bit after their wages are garnished (whilst still in jail) to pay for their stay. That way they can at least have a little money when they get out. As the inmate is learning the skill, he should sell the skill. If the he is learning how to basket weave, sell the baskets. If he is doing automobile restoration, sell the restored cars.


This might definitely bring a change in a prisoner's attitude once he becomes a free lance again. Our prison system for less-violent and non-violent offenders is seriously broken. Having so many people in prison is a problem and its probably a bigger drain on society having them in then out.

Icarus
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#38

Posted 12 July 2013 - 04:17 AM

QUOTE (rudy. @ Thursday, Jul 11 2013, 22:13)
QUOTE (Icarus @ Thursday, Jul 11 2013, 22:53)
If, however, we let the prisoner re-enter society to become (hopefully) a productive member, the taxpayers are no longer on the hook for footing the bill for the prisoner's incarceration, since it would now be $0 (although there will be some incidental costs, like supervision, parole officer, et cetera - but much less than the cost of keeping them in the prison themselves). The added bonus is that if they're working, they're contributing to the tax pool and hence, giving back to society.

Could you explain this a bit more clear to me? When you say "prisoners contributing to tax pool", do you mean "prisoners paying tax after they've received parole or paying tax - from the wages they receive - while serving prison sentence?

Sorry, my phrasing was a little poor. I had just woken up when I wrote that.

I'm referring to the former (when they're earning wages after prison). If a prisoner is released back into society and obtains employments, they'll have to start paying taxes, so they'll start putting money back into the system rather than the system having to pay for him/her being locked up in prison.

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#39

Posted 12 July 2013 - 04:24 AM

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Thursday, Jul 11 2013, 09:13)
Why should they remain locked up, though? Aside from retribution, what purpose does incarcerating someone who no longer poses any threat actually achieve?

I think most people would agree with you on principle.
but you already stated the caveat that makes this decision so difficult.

by what guaranteed measurement can we say that someone "no longer poses any threat" ??
it would have to be a pretty strict guideline that almost never failed.

once again I think it's pretty safe to say that we can rehabilitate the average petty offender. most lives of crime can be turned around given the right support.
but it's really another matter entirely to say that we've found a method for safely releasing serial rapists/murders back into the wild with absolute confidence.

sivispacem
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#40

Posted 12 July 2013 - 01:05 PM

A reasonable point but it is worth mentioning I'm talking hypothetically here. The actual technicalities of the subject are much less clear cut and the limitation of risk to the public should also take precedent over any other consideration. However I feel that this propensity towards addressing serial violent offenders as if their category of action is entirely distinct from other criminals is unhelpful. It has been demonstrated that even the most heinous of criminals can be reformed, though obviously the bar for doing so is higher than in more minor cases. Hence why I dismiss whole life tariffs without the prospect of release-but that isn't to say no additional care needs be taken in the case of serious and deviant offenders.

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#41

Posted 12 July 2013 - 02:26 PM Edited by Melchior, 29 August 2013 - 09:18 AM.

It's also ridiculous to say that a serial killer is just "further gone" than a car thief, as if they're criminals for the same reason, only the latter has somehow been more exposed to the forces that cause criminalisation. That's obviously not the case. A car thief is completely different from a serial killer. Obviously a serial killer is much more high risk than a car thief but it's stupid to assume that they get the same rehabilitation and that they can be compared in any way.

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#42

Posted 13 July 2013 - 12:42 AM

QUOTE (El_Diablo @ Friday, Jul 12 2013, 04:24)
QUOTE (sivispacem @ Thursday, Jul 11 2013, 09:13)
Why should they remain locked up, though? Aside from retribution, what purpose does incarcerating someone who no longer poses any threat actually achieve?

I think most people would agree with you on principle.
but you already stated the caveat that makes this decision so difficult.

by what guaranteed measurement can we say that someone "no longer poses any threat" ??
it would have to be a pretty strict guideline that almost never failed.

once again I think it's pretty safe to say that we can rehabilitate the average petty offender. most lives of crime can be turned around given the right support.
but it's really another matter entirely to say that we've found a method for safely releasing serial rapists/murders back into the wild with absolute confidence.

Who gives a f*ck if they're rehabilitated or not? There is a fundamental problem with every single argument being made here. You all assume that your protection from someones crimes should outweigh their protection from being incarcerated. It shouldn't. As I stated previously, unless someone is going to do something that ruins lives again (that means almost exclusively rape or murder) they should not be imprisoned for long periods of time. I don't care if someone will jack 1,000 cars, putting someone behind bars for the remainder of their lives is a cruel and disgusting thing to do. It should be an absolute last resort.

sivispacem
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#43

Posted 13 July 2013 - 06:38 AM

QUOTE (Zugzwang @ Saturday, Jul 13 2013, 01:42)
You all assume that your protection from someones crimes should outweigh their protection from being incarcerated. It shouldn't.

Can I ask why not? Both conventional and negative utilitarianism would place limitation of harm to a larger number of people above a limitation or revocation of a fundamental freedom for a predetermined time in terms of "good".

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#44

Posted 13 July 2013 - 04:03 PM Edited by rudy., 13 July 2013 - 05:37 PM.

QUOTE (El_Diablo @ Friday, Jul 12 2013, 04:24)
by what guaranteed measurement can we say that someone "no longer poses any threat" ??
it would have to be a pretty strict guideline that almost never failed.

I understand the point you're trying to make, but trust me, you're only screwing those said prisoner's life by perpetuating their imprisonment.

Also, I think member Icarus had already mentioned it in this topic. If they're gonna pose any more danger to the society, lock them again and be done with them.

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#45

Posted 13 July 2013 - 04:18 PM

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Thursday, Jul 11 2013, 15:13)
Why should they remain locked up, though? Aside from retribution, what purpose does incarcerating someone who no longer poses any threat actually achieve? And the very principle of retributive justice is morally questionable, barbaric and uncivilised. Evidence shows nations with rehabilitation as the primary focus of the justice sysyem; those with no real retribution in their justice system are freer, more civil, happier and safer societies. Do we really need to pander to the emotional whims of victims and their families? Does doing so actually make justice more just? I would argue the inverse.

Emotion has no place in the legal justice system. It should be based on empiricism and rationality. Allowing people impede on these golden standards because of their personal whims is entirely contradictory to the basic principles of justice. Retribution serves no purpose other than to make societal ethically weaker and morally poorer, and the moment people forget the whole idea of punishment for selfish reasons rather that rehabilitation for society's good, the faster we will become more civil.

How can you prove that someone is really does not pose a threat though? You can rehabilitate them, however someone who has committed mass murder surely cannot be trusted to go back onto the streets again after 20 years? What if they go on and do the exact same thing again as soon as they have been released? If they have committed an immoral action like this then surely it's only right that, even if they're offered help, they suffer the consequences for what they've done. You can help people as much as you want, but the fact is that if someone commits an atrocity and is released in what seems like a short space of time for what they've done, then they're going to realise that as long as they pretend that they have been 'cured' or whatever you want to describe it as, they can do what they did before and go through that whole process again. Plenty may realise their wrong actions while imprisoned, but in many cases to simply release them again is a risk that cannot be taken.

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#46

Posted 13 July 2013 - 05:53 PM Edited by rudy., 13 July 2013 - 06:05 PM.

QUOTE (JMan2 @ Saturday, Jul 13 2013, 16:18)
You can rehabilitate them, however someone who has committed mass murder surely cannot be trusted to go back onto the streets again after 20 years?

I'm pretty sure no one would love to spend another 20 years incarcerated by/for doing something which got them thrown in prison in the first place.

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#47

Posted 13 July 2013 - 09:14 PM

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Saturday, Jul 13 2013, 06:38)
QUOTE (Zugzwang @ Saturday, Jul 13 2013, 01:42)
You all assume that your protection from someones crimes should outweigh their protection from being incarcerated. It shouldn't.

Can I ask why not? Both conventional and negative utilitarianism would place limitation of harm to a larger number of people above a limitation or revocation of a fundamental freedom for a predetermined time in terms of "good".

Long term incarceration causes more pain to the prisoner than any amount of pain they would cause to others if they were free (again, except in rare cases like serial killers/rapists). People just don't find this to be a palatable view point because they like to think criminals deserve their punishment. The vast majority of people are willing to let criminals suffer for years on end to preserve their naive view of justice- and I find that disgusting. Lifelong imprisonment, like the death penalty, like solitary confinement, is just another way society goes out of its way to harm convicts and I hope we can progress past it in time.

sivispacem
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#48

Posted 13 July 2013 - 10:57 PM

QUOTE (Zugzwang @ Saturday, Jul 13 2013, 22:14)
QUOTE (sivispacem @ Saturday, Jul 13 2013, 06:38)
QUOTE (Zugzwang @ Saturday, Jul 13 2013, 01:42)
You all assume that your protection from someones crimes should outweigh their protection from being incarcerated. It shouldn't.

Can I ask why not? Both conventional and negative utilitarianism would place limitation of harm to a larger number of people above a limitation or revocation of a fundamental freedom for a predetermined time in terms of "good".

Long term incarceration causes more pain to the prisoner than any amount of pain they would cause to others if they were free (again, except in rare cases like serial killers/rapists).

Sorry, but this statement has no objective value. Not only is it completely without empirical support, but it also introduces caveats that didn't exist when you initially proposed the argument. It is tosh I'm afraid; come back with a re-evaluated argument please.

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#49

Posted 14 July 2013 - 06:30 AM

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Saturday, Jul 13 2013, 22:57)
QUOTE (Zugzwang @ Saturday, Jul 13 2013, 22:14)
QUOTE (sivispacem @ Saturday, Jul 13 2013, 06:38)
QUOTE (Zugzwang @ Saturday, Jul 13 2013, 01:42)
You all assume that your protection from someones crimes should outweigh their protection from being incarcerated. It shouldn't.

Can I ask why not? Both conventional and negative utilitarianism would place limitation of harm to a larger number of people above a limitation or revocation of a fundamental freedom for a predetermined time in terms of "good".

Long term incarceration causes more pain to the prisoner than any amount of pain they would cause to others if they were free (again, except in rare cases like serial killers/rapists).

Sorry, but this statement has no objective value. Not only is it completely without empirical support, but it also introduces caveats that didn't exist when you initially proposed the argument. It is tosh I'm afraid; come back with a re-evaluated argument please.

Sorry, but there's no way to have 'empirical support' in a discussion of ethics because there's no way to objectively measure suffering. There are no moved goalposts here either. Look at my earlier post, I mention people who would kill/rape again if released. Come back when you know more about ethics than the wiki definition of utilitarianism please.

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#50

Posted 14 July 2013 - 08:13 AM Edited by sivispacem, 14 July 2013 - 08:18 AM.

QUOTE (Zugzwang @ Sunday, Jul 14 2013, 07:30)
QUOTE (sivispacem @ Saturday, Jul 13 2013, 22:57)
QUOTE (Zugzwang @ Saturday, Jul 13 2013, 22:14)
QUOTE (sivispacem @ Saturday, Jul 13 2013, 06:38)
QUOTE (Zugzwang @ Saturday, Jul 13 2013, 01:42)
You all assume that your protection from someones crimes should outweigh their protection from being incarcerated. It shouldn't.

Can I ask why not? Both conventional and negative utilitarianism would place limitation of harm to a larger number of people above a limitation or revocation of a fundamental freedom for a predetermined time in terms of "good".

Long term incarceration causes more pain to the prisoner than any amount of pain they would cause to others if they were free (again, except in rare cases like serial killers/rapists).

Sorry, but this statement has no objective value. Not only is it completely without empirical support, but it also introduces caveats that didn't exist when you initially proposed the argument. It is tosh I'm afraid; come back with a re-evaluated argument please.

Sorry, but there's no way to have 'empirical support' in a discussion of ethics because there's no way to objectively measure suffering

Which is kind of my point. You've made the claim that incarceration causes a greater pain to the prisoner than they could possibly cause to society if released. Aside from this being questionable at best, you're the person who brought up utilitarian ethics by doing a comparison of qualitative goods. I'm asking you quantify this, as by my interpretation it can mean only one thing- that the right to individual freedom is empirically superior to the right for individuals to have themselves protected from criminal activity. Given that this statement fails just about any quantitative or qualitative ethical test you put it to, I must assume that you believe individual freedoms to be an inalienable, universal and therefore objective right- which I don't believe is tenable because I find the entire principle of objective ethics fundamentally flawed. So you've claimed that suffering caused to prisoners by their incarceration outweighs any suffering they can cause on society- which is basically an empirical statement (x is more than y), and then admitted that you can't qualify it because it isn't actually empirical? Doesn't that seem a little contradictory to you?

QUOTE (JMan2 @ Saturday, Jul 13 2013, 17:18)
How can you prove that someone is really does not pose a threat though?

A good question- the whole idea is based on probability of success and clear response to treatment. The idea is to bring levels of offending in a particular area of crime down to the same level amongst historic offenders as to the rest of the population, or as near as can be achieved. You can never positively and completely say someone doesn't pose a threat, but that applies to "out on the street" as much as it does amongst groups of offenders.

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#51

Posted 14 July 2013 - 10:07 AM

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Sunday, Jul 14 2013, 08:13)
QUOTE (Zugzwang @ Sunday, Jul 14 2013, 07:30)
QUOTE (sivispacem @ Saturday, Jul 13 2013, 22:57)
QUOTE (Zugzwang @ Saturday, Jul 13 2013, 22:14)
QUOTE (sivispacem @ Saturday, Jul 13 2013, 06:38)
QUOTE (Zugzwang @ Saturday, Jul 13 2013, 01:42)
You all assume that your protection from someones crimes should outweigh their protection from being incarcerated. It shouldn't.

Can I ask why not? Both conventional and negative utilitarianism would place limitation of harm to a larger number of people above a limitation or revocation of a fundamental freedom for a predetermined time in terms of "good".

Long term incarceration causes more pain to the prisoner than any amount of pain they would cause to others if they were free (again, except in rare cases like serial killers/rapists).

Sorry, but this statement has no objective value. Not only is it completely without empirical support, but it also introduces caveats that didn't exist when you initially proposed the argument. It is tosh I'm afraid; come back with a re-evaluated argument please.

Sorry, but there's no way to have 'empirical support' in a discussion of ethics because there's no way to objectively measure suffering

Which is kind of my point. You've made the claim that incarceration causes a greater pain to the prisoner than they could possibly cause to society if released. Aside from this being questionable at best, you're the person who brought up utilitarian ethics by doing a comparison of qualitative goods. I'm asking you quantify this, as by my interpretation it can mean only one thing- that the right to individual freedom is empirically superior to the right for individuals to have themselves protected from criminal activity. Given that this statement fails just about any quantitative or qualitative ethical test you put it to, I must assume that you believe individual freedoms to be an inalienable, universal and therefore objective right- which I don't believe is tenable because I find the entire principle of objective ethics fundamentally flawed. So you've claimed that suffering caused to prisoners by their incarceration outweighs any suffering they can cause on society- which is basically an empirical statement (x is more than y), and then admitted that you can't qualify it because it isn't actually empirical? Doesn't that seem a little contradictory to you?


Alright I see your point- it's an interesting one. I think there was a slight miscommunication here (I tend to communicate poorly when people call my arguments 'bosh').

I was wrong in saying ethics can't be quantified. What I was trying to articulate was more that you can't specifically show how much suffering something causes. There's no metric, no unit that can be applied. For example you can't say "x event causes 118 suffering units which is more than y event which produces only 94". That being said, there are cases where one can look at two things and clearly tell that one causes more pain than the other. For example no one would argue that being shot doesn't cause more pain than being punched- despite the fact that the pain caused by these two events isn't quantifiable per se. The trouble comes when you look at two different events and there is controversy over which causes more pain. That's where we get back to lifelong imprisonment. I am saying that lifelong imprisonment causes more pain than would be caused by a free criminal. It seems to me that the crux of this argument should be whether or not that's actually true.

sivispacem
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#52

Posted 14 July 2013 - 04:13 PM

I see, that makes more sense. I agree with you in relation to whole life tariffs- I thought your initial argument was in relation to all prison sentences of any nature being more harmful to the offender than the harm the offender would be capable of causing.

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#53

Posted 15 July 2013 - 04:36 PM Edited by Raavi, 15 July 2013 - 04:40 PM.

If and only if a prisoner is proven to be rehabilitated and able to contribute to the very society he/she was 'expelled' from by imprisonment he/she should get the chance to function in society again. Even if the crime resulted in the abrupt end of another person' life. Life imprisonment serves no real purpose and only detracts from civilized society, there always should be a way for convicts to redeem themselves, and by redeem I don't mean shipped away in a cardboard box like is done with most that die within the walls of a correctional facility.

Excuse the short post as I am typing this from my phone, I will edit it as soon as I get to my computer.

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#54

Posted 15 July 2013 - 08:06 PM

QUOTE (Raavi @ Monday, Jul 15 2013, 16:36)
If and only if a prisoner is proven to be rehabilitated and able to contribute to the very society he/she was 'expelled' from by imprisonment he/she should get the chance to function in society again. Even if the crime resulted in the abrupt end of another person' life. Life imprisonment serves no real purpose and only detracts from civilized society, there always should be a way for convicts to redeem themselves, and by redeem I don't mean shipped away in a cardboard box like is done with most that die within the walls of a correctional facility.

Excuse the short post as I am typing this from my phone, I will edit it as soon as I get to my computer.

How do you define 'contribute'? Should we be letting people out of prison only if they'll benefit us?

Also I hear this term 'rehabilitated' tossed around a lot and I'm wondering why. It seems to me that a majority of criminals, or at least a significant portion of them, aren't people who are mentally ill or in need of any rehabilitating at all- they're just people who snapped or were put in an extraordinary circumstance. In other words, a lot of these people are people who made a bad decision but are not necessarily any more prone to making more bad decisions than the average person. So I'm curious, what does everyone think about these people? There certainly are a lot of them, and they're being kept incarcerated for solely punitive, not protective, reasons.

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#55

Posted 16 July 2013 - 03:02 AM

QUOTE (Zugzwang @ Tuesday, Jul 16 2013, 06:06)
Also I hear this term 'rehabilitated' tossed around a lot and I'm wondering why. It seems to me that a majority of criminals, or at least a significant portion of them, aren't people who are mentally ill or in need of any rehabilitating at all- they're just people who snapped or were put in an extraordinary circumstance. In other words, a lot of these people are people who made a bad decision but are not necessarily any more prone to making more bad decisions than the average person.

People commit crimes because they're ill-equipped to function in society.

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#56

Posted 16 July 2013 - 04:41 AM

not always.

Zugzwang is talking about people who commit "crimes of passion," as they're known in the criminal justice system.
these are people who - by all rational measure - are completely normal and balanced individuals leading productive lives. but (for instance) one day they arrive home early from work to find their spouse f*cking the piano instructor in the bedroom where they conceived their children.

suddenly you have a dead piano instructor, a dead wife, and a guy left holding a pistol who can't believe what he's just done.
it happens. normal people really do snap. and it's not because they were ill-equipped for anything.

I think that's what he's getting at.

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#57

Posted 16 July 2013 - 06:55 AM

Which is a reasonable point, but I don't think it constitutes a "majority" of criminals. When 90% of offenders are on short prison sentences (under a year), and something like 75% of those will re-offend within 3 years, I think it's safe to say there are far more petty habitual criminals on whom rehabilitation efforts should take precedent over punishment or prolonged incarceration than there are "snap" offenders.

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#58

Posted 16 July 2013 - 12:33 PM

yeah, I was just clarifying the connotation in Zugz's statement about "people who snapped or were put in an extraordinary circumstance."
since Melchior didn't seem to follow.

you're right of course.
I would be surprised if 'crimes of passion' account for more than 30% of all violent offenders. they're not the majority of cases.

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#59

Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:01 PM

Thing is, people walk in on their wife with another man all the time without flipping out and murdering people. The fact that the "crime of passion" appears to be an isolated incident doesn't mean they aren't a danger. The fact that most of the people who "snap" are men should tell you that socialisation and psychology have much more of a bearing on whether or not someone will commit a "crime of passion" than simple chance.

tbh, when you say that people who commit crimes of passion are otherwise normal, you're basically implying that there's a distress threshold and that people will turn violent if they cross it. That doesn't sound terribly likely. More like these people have latent violent tendencies and don't deal with their rage properly. Just because someone isn't a chronic offender doesn't mean they don't need to be rehabilitated.

I'm sorry, but someone who batters their wife for cheating on him isn't "normal." Someone who beats another person to death with a pool cue because they got in a fight at the pub isn't "normal." Someone who stabs their boss in the chest because they got fired isn't "normal"... you get the picture.

Zugzwang
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#60

Posted 16 July 2013 - 06:46 PM Edited by Zugzwang, 17 July 2013 - 04:56 AM.

QUOTE (Melchior)
Thing is, people walk in on their wife with another man all the time without flipping out and murdering people. The fact that the "crime of passion" appears to be an isolated incident doesn't mean they aren't a danger. The fact that most of the people who "snap" are men should tell you that socialisation and psychology have much more of a bearing on whether or not someone will commit a "crime of passion" than simple chance.


I don't think the fact that most people who snap are men tells us anything other than men are physically larger and thus more capable of being violent. This isn't really a psychological thing as it is evidence that if you're bigger than someone it's much easier to start a physical confrontation with them. So, at the very least, I don't think this evidence points to a psychological cause for crimes of passion.

QUOTE (Melchior)
tbh, when you say that people who commit crimes of passion are otherwise normal, you're basically implying that there's a distress threshold and that people will turn violent if they cross it. That doesn't sound terribly likely. More like these people have latent violent tendencies and don't deal with their rage properly. Just because someone isn't a chronic offender doesn't mean they don't need to be rehabilitated.


I'd bet there is. Any one pushed past their limits is bound to due some pretty crazy, and often criminal, stuff. Most of us are never placed in a situation that pushes us past our threshold. There are people who chronically are, yes, and perhaps they need rehabilitation in some form. But those aren't the people I'm talking about right now. I'm talking about people who are put in a situation, that most people wouldn't have been in, that pushes them past their limits and makes them react criminally. There's no rehabilitating to be done there; the person did what a normal person would have done under the same emotional strain. You shouldn't punish someone for doing something most people would have done in the same circumstance, even if it is criminal.




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