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Is lifelong imprisonment inhumane?

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I'd have to question why murder is so high up there. Soldiers kill in cold blood, I don't mind passing them on the street.


Most soldiers fire at barely discernible targets hundreds of metres away who are shooting at them. Furthermore, those targets would gladly kill those soldiers and everyone those soldiers hold dear and seek to attack our society. As such, I find it very hard to regard the work of an infantry soldier as "murder". Indeed, lumping in service personnel with murderers, many of whom commit murder because they enjoy it, is disingenuous at best and insulting at worst.



I'm not into the idea of completely dehumanising the enemy. I mean, I recognise that some ISIS members are native Sunni Iraqis and Syrians who were given the dubious choice to join up or face death, but the broad strokes are there. Nowadays the vast majority of Western soldiers cannot be considered as murderers.




El_D: Whilst I agree with your sentiments and am largely in favour of isolating highly dangerous individuals from wider society, Mel does raise a good point. I mean, if you have a stable nuclear family one minute, then dad gets 20 years for dealing drugs, little Johnny is left without the essential father figure, the family is down to one income and things will get tough. I think what Mel is saying here is that the government should be more cognizant of this family's plight and give them support of some kind (counselling, stipend for an appropriate amount of time to help with the financial burden, etc). I mean the notion of not punishing the son for his father's crimes has been enshrined in our morality for eons.

Edited by Failure

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El Dildo

you're right but it's just such a sticky subject...

what exactly do you propose we do about it??


we don't punish the son for the fathers crimes.

the social and/or financial fallout of raising children in a fatherless household is no different if dad is sent to prison than if dad was killed in a car accident. we already have programs in place for these situations. every K-12 school offers free counseling and social workers (like probation officers) attempt to follow up with families that are rendered broken by way of criminal proceedings.


it's not like we actually abandon these people.

but I would agree with you to say that these programs need to be expanded and could be significantly improved. we need more social welfare and less corporate welfare but that's a whole 'nother can of worms.


if you want to compensate the family members of murders/rapists, you're probably going to have to address all other families who have also lost their primary breadwinner in a sudden/unexpected manner. where do you begin? who is going to pay?

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Good points Diablo.



Again, I'm just spit-balling really (in part because I feel that I have to defend Mel once in a while or my inner Labour voter will finally die). I think we need to think of this circumstantially. I mean if you're looking at an already impoverished family, it's clear that more needs to be done to support them when dad goes to prison that a middle class family, the patriarch of which was secretly keeping people in the attic. All in all its about preventing young lads from going astray which only worsens the issue of prison overcrowding.

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Only in countries that do a sh*t job of rehabilitating offenders. In those nations which actually do it properly, it's simply accepted fact. You can't really use the attitudes of citizens in countries notoriously poor at actually engaging in rehabilitation as an argument against rehabilitation.

But I'm not arguing against rehabilitation. I'm arguing in favor of it for anything except very heinous crimes, i.e. murder 1, serial rape/child molestation, human sex trafficking, and a very small few others. Please keep that in mind when making blanket pro-rehabilitation statements in this discussion to me. I'm already convinced.




Again, says whom? I'm happy to listen to the opinions of the expert panels whose job it is to actually decide whether someone has been or even can be recuperated, but people without that knowledge or information waxing lyrical about whether people deserve to be rehabilitated or not just strikes me as ridiculous. Even worse when it's really just their opinion.

The opinions of most criminology experts are that people who carry out very heinous crimes usually have a sociopathic or biological distinction that allows such to be done. Think about somebody who trafficks humans sexually, serial kills, carries out mass murders... these are people with no regard for their fellow humans. I'm sure you're aware of that though. I'm not sure we are clear going back and fourth here that I agree with rehabilitation in 95% of cases before the criminal justice system.


What legal system? There isn't some homogeneous international one. You can't really talk about it like it's a monolithic entity. I assume you're primarily referring to the US legal system, in which case my reply is "good".

Common law specifically.




That's not really an objective harm that can justify a law, though. By that measure negative reviews should be outlawed.

It absolutely is. And no, that is not a relevant comparison. Laws are created to protect peoples' liberty and property. A store is a storeowner's property and his/her livelihood. Loitering hurts storeowners' bottom lines. Therefore, a law is entirely justified to protect that.




This is simply confusing correlation with causation. The law doesn't actually affect the overall crime rate, the extra enforcement does. You could use any otherwise pointless law on the statute books as an excuse to get more police on the streets.

Sure it does. The law does affect the crime rates. Broken windows policing has had a measurable impact on crime rates. Again, it can be argued if it is the overarching thing responsible for the drop in violent crime (some scholars make a case for abortion coupled with broken windows as being the #1 thing for the lower crime rate interestingly enough). However, it's not disputed that enforcing public order laws has an effect on taking criminals who would perpetrate higher level crimes off the street.





Because the overwhelming majority of people are simply too ill-informed regarding the subject to do anything more than parrot whatever new tough-on-crime incentive their local MP/favourite political party/newspaper of choice/TV personality (delete as appropriate) has put forward. There's no critical thinking involved.

Hence why, particularly in the English speaking world, and overwhelmingly when right leaning governments are in power, we see perceived crime rates rising when actual crime rates fall; increasing support for prison sentences for fairly mundane crimes when they've been shown to actually worsen reoffending rates (even the Law Society came out as saying all prison sentences under 2 years in length are entirely and completely pointless as the lack of rehabilitation support for short term prisoners is so poor that reoffending rates are ridiculous); why you see increasing support for the death penalty in the UK even though both the number of "capital" crimes are falling and the complete lack of tangible positive impact.

I agree with all of this. I think that short prison terms coupled with no rehabilitation/education of the offender is one of the worst things you can do for the medium/long term crime rate.



But what do you expect when a coalition government spends tens of millions of pounds on research led white paper on drug law reform, them throws the whole thing in the bin when it fails to conform to the views of certain parts of the primary party's core leadership and effectively does the exact opposite of all expert advice. If you can't trust lawmakers to actually listen to experts instead of doom-mongering tabloids and the terminally stupid, what chance does your average man on the street have?

Agreed, again though, I'm not talking about disagreeing with rehabilitation overall. Actually, if you look at some polls most Americans of all people believe in rehabilitation for low and medium offenses. A poll here shows that most Texans even believe rehabilitation is preferred for low-mid level offenders.







Poll the populace about their views on the technicalities Big Bang, the formation of the universe and the science behind the initial existence of life. Perhaps we can poll them on the comparative benefits of different kinds of intercranial surgery, and the comparative benefits of solid fuel versus liquid fuel rocket technology too? You'll get an answer pool with a similar level of validity because in all these instances the vast majority of people simply lack the qualification to have an opinion worthy of listening to.

I believe that when it comes to deciding how criminals should be dealt with, the public has a valid opinion. After all, why have we used juries for hundreds of years in the common law system? And as the polls I linked above show, people are not as stupid and uneducated as you think with regard to rehabilitation for minor-mid grade offenders.




I'd have to question why murder is so high up there. Soldiers kill in cold blood, I don't mind passing them on the street. Like some kid in a gang, what's the difference between him and someone in the military? They were probably ordered to do it, probably weren't in a position to disobey.


Sociopathy just means essentially that you don't feel empathy in a situation where we expect someone to. A debt collector taking a families TV while the children cry isn't expected to feel anything, so he's not a sociopath. It isn't some magic dust in the brain that turns you into a serial killer.


I am referring to premeditated, calculated murder. Not heat of the moment, crime of passion murder (murder 2). Gang violence, believe it or not, falls under murder 2 more often than you'd think. It's very, very hard to prove murder 1, but when it can be proven, that person is severely f*cked up.

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Clem Fandango

Most soldiers fire at barely discernible targets hundreds of metres away who are shooting at them. Furthermore, those targets would gladly kill those soldiers

I don't see how this doesn't apply to gang members.



Indeed, lumping in service personnel with murderers, many of whom commit murder because they enjoy it, is disingenuous at best and insulting at worst.

99% of kids in the military aren't there for ideological (or should I say aesthetic?) reasons. Israel literally has a draft, so this should be obvious.


Soldiers do enjoy killing. Human beings enjoy violence and will look for any excuse, if you think every Israeli soldier is solemnly doing their duty and tearfully apologising to every Palestinian woman they kick to death then you've got another thing coming.




I'm not into the idea of completely dehumanising the enemy.

Dehumanise ISIS all you want, but they're not really 'the enemy' when everyone actually engaging them is specifically anti-Western, and when most people in the Middle East world consider the US responsible for the current state of affairs

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I'm fully aware of the complexities of the Middle East.

Also come on, very few Israeli soldiers enjoy kicking women to death. I can certainly understand enjoying enemy contact because of the adrenaline rush, but suggesting that any significant proportion of soldiers enjoy killing civilians is just straight up wrong. The IDF actually has a very strict policy about civilian casualties and all but the most extreme Jewish figures (see Kahane, Schlissel) agree that purposefully killing civilians is categorically wrong.

Also most people drafted in to the IDF don't go into direct contact with the enemy. Indeed, for every infantry soldier you need people in the background supporting him.

Also gang members aren't sanctioned to kill eachother by their government. Sure I get what you mean about the survival aspect, sure, but being in a gang has all sorts of things coupled with it besides that, such as public disturbance, drug dealing and vandalism. Male no mistake, I see gang behavior and entrenched criminality as a symptom of endemic impoverishment, but that doesn't mean I don't want gang members to be put in jail for their crimes. I think more needs to be done to tackle the issue at its source, but we're not there yet as a society.

About gang members, I don't think that draconian sentences are that helpful really. I mean it's a difficult Catch 22: on the one hand you don't want to violent criminals walking the street, but on the other hand prisons are breeding grounds for further criminality and hatred of the establishment. I'm not qualified to offer up an alternative sadly.

Also I wouldn't call the Peshmerga anti-Western.



Edit: Phone spelling.

Edited by Failure

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