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Thread: the notion of punishment - is it a failed social experiment?

  1. #1 the notion of punishment - is it a failed social experiment? 
    nfm
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    There's a new documentary film online which explains how punishing criminals is an unsustainable practice...
    I haven't yet come across any topic in this subforum which talks about this particular area. It would be interesting to get a discussion going about it.
    Here's a link to the documentary: Punishment: A Failed Social Experiment [Part 1 of 8] - YouTube
    Let's hear your thoughts on this.


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    Experiment? Perhaps you could point out any society at any time in human history that had a system of law that did not involve punishment.

    Ridiculous.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Experiment? Perhaps you could point out any society at any time in human history that had a system of law that did not involve punishment.

    Ridiculous.
    I'm wondering if meant incarceration, that would make more sense.
    "Cultivated leisure is the aim of man."
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    Incarceration has become a big profitable business which makes it a failed system.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    Incarceration has become a big profitable business which makes it a failed system.
    Do you have something against making a profit?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    Incarceration has become a big profitable business which makes it a failed system.
    Do you have something against making a profit?

    It can be a conflict of interest. Money and greed often places individuals in a conflict of interest with society, thats why juges have put kids in prisons to get a cut of the prison racket money, why GM and Chevron have killed the electric car, why corrupt politicians cash in on selling out the people again and again, why polluters prefer to offload tons of toxic materials in the environment rather than change their process, why people whose job is obsolete wont step up and point to the need for society to abolish their organization/job or to replace them by automation, why companies dont tell the whole truth to customers about their product be it a salesman that pushes for the product with more commissions or pushes for a service plan or the corporation keeping quiet for as long as possible about their product killing their own clients(cigarettes). etc.

    Hopefully in the distant future, when humanity achieves a civilization similar to that depicted in star trek, people will view our times as a dark barbaric period of history when money, hierarchy and deceit was still perceived as normal, along with famine, wars, poverty, crime, repression, wanton pollution, and corruption (systemic problems that require the system to change to be fixed).
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    Until very recently banishment, death or punishment was the only options--and only marginally effective. Modern social sciences and criminology are given us better options now, but it's going to take generations to gain acceptance in populations still moribund to tradition, scripture or suspicious of science.

    I found it interesting that our views on criminal punishment came up during the last Republican debate in the form of asking whether felons should ever be allowed to vote, or if yes, when should they get that right.


    when humanity achieves a civilization similar to that depicted in star trek,
    That "civilization" is the very definition of boredom, lack of creativity or richness. I consider it hellish, much like many peoples depictions of heaven.
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    That "civilization" is the very definition of boredom, lack of creativity or richness.
    Thanks for your feedback. Can you elaborate, I would like to know why you think that?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Experiment? Perhaps you could point out any society at any time in human history that had a system of law that did not involve punishment.

    Ridiculous.
    What were your thoughts on the data/information/views conveyed in the documentary?
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    Incarceration has become a big profitable business which makes it a failed system.
    Do you have something against making a profit?
    A prison system which promotes profit is not socially progressive because there is an incentive to lock more people up rather than prevent crime from happening in the first place. I think icewendigo did a good job on elaborating on this point.
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    That "civilization" is the very definition of boredom, lack of creativity or richness.
    Thanks for your feedback. Can you elaborate, I would like to know why you think that?
    Ok.
    First off I'll concede right off the bat that star trek was always severely limited by the audience which as Americans are all-to-often extremely parochial with little knowledge or interest and other cultures and jingoism. My comments on the other hand are viewed through the eyes of a middle aged man who's lived in every region of the US and been exposed to numerous cultures. Star Trek civilization is remarkably one dimensional place. To pick on a few things:
    o There is little spirituality; Even a largely secular society will not and can not displace spirituality because I think it's intrinsic part of being human.
    o There is little sexuality; humans enjoy sexuality in a remarkable range of ways while Star Trek is limited to heterosexual Western chauvinistic stereotypes.
    o There is little cultural diversity; there is probably greater diversity of music, food, language, architecture between the mountains and tidewaters of Virginia than expressed in the entire series of Star Trek--and that was nothing compared to difference say between Bangkok and Northern Thailand, or New York city and Baghdad.
    o What motivates people in Star Trek? I've written a few times about differences between extrinsic and intrinsic rewards systems--Star Trek hardly touches on either. Apparently Roddenberry is a Jean-Jacques Rousseau fan who thinks we're born perfect.

    I don't think I even need to get into the lack of interesting moral or legal systems--many of which are possible.

    Star Trek is one hell of a boring place.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nfm View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Experiment? Perhaps you could point out any society at any time in human history that had a system of law that did not involve punishment.

    Ridiculous.
    What were your thoughts on the data/information/views conveyed in the documentary?
    It was long on liberal ideology, short on science. In fact, totally lacking in any science from what I saw.
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    I did not watch the youtube videos. I am not willing right now to invest enough of my time to view 8 videos.

    However, I have thoughts on the 'justice' system. My view is that we must remain focused on the goal. When we deal with a convicted criminal, what is the goal? In my view, the only worthwhile goal is to reduce future offending - by the convicted criminal and by others. Punishment, retribution, and making victims feel better are not centred on this goal and these motives be cast aside.

    So how do we deal with a convicted criminal in such a way as to reduce future offending?
    The concept of deterrence has been pretty much discredited by empirical research. The severity of a conviction seems to have little effect on the likelihood of other people offending.

    To the best of my knowledge, the only thing that reduces likelihood of future offending on people other than the convicted criminal, is to create the impression that, if they offend, they will get caught and punished. The level of punishment has little effect. Just the perception by potential criminal that they will get caught and 'punished'. This is not achieved by penal methods, but by improving policing, and publicising the improvements and the success in catching the criminals.

    Attempts at rehabilitation have varying levels of success. Some systems have a degree of success, but (to my knowledge) nothing approaches even 50% success in inducing criminals not to reoffend. In fact, many methods of rehabilitation have success levels below 20%. Spending lots of money on something so ineffective seems kind of silly.

    Age is a factor. Teenage criminals often mature out of it. The age 30 appears to be a 'magic' number. Young offenders who reach about 30 years of age often 'rehabilitate' themselves. So, locking up teenage criminals till they are 30 years of age appears to have something going for it. Upon release, they are less likely to reoffend.

    For hardened criminals - those who offend well past 30 years of age - this will not work. I suggest that such people be kept locked up until they can be released to an old folks home. After about 65 years of age, they are unlikely to reoffend.

    As a general rule, I see prison as serving just one important function. It keeps criminals out of society so they cannot harm the innocents. Since punishment and retribution are not a part of the process, there is no need to be inhumane about the process of keeping criminals in prison. Give the felons steak meals. Give them TV, DVD's, movie nights, newspapers, regular exercise and recreation. Make their cells big enough for reasonable comfort. Even with a lounge suite and an ensuite.

    Do not permit them to contact the outside world, because they may continue to do harm. No conjugal visits (preventing these guys from reproducing is part of limiting the harm they do to society). Keep them in prison until the probability of them reoffending is seen as low.
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    Well, there is a high rate of recidivism, and the cost to society is huge as a consequence. Prisons tend to be places where young offenders get "schooled" by more experienced felons and thereby hone their illegal skills. Convicts are also stigmatized and therefore have difficulty in being successfully rehabilitated as a consequence, while being disenfranchised as they are in parts of the United States makes them resentful and bitter, alienated from the society which produced them.

    Am I against profit? Depends who is getting the profit, now, doesn't it?

    Let's say I get Harold's daughter hooked on heroin and have her out on a street corner making a profit for me?

    It's capitalism, baby!
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    Speaking of drugs, alcohol, and addiction, many crimes are committed under the influence, times when the consequences of one's actions are not uppermost in the minds of the offenders, to say the least. So any deterrent effect is greatly reduced, if present at all.
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    I think I will make a number of points:

    1) Punishment should not be the focus, rehabilitation (which they claim is the purpose of prison) should be the focus.

    2) Prisons SHOULD be profitable. They shouldn't be privatized, but they shouldn't operate a loss. These are people that have damaged attempts to make a decent society.

    3) Prisons should not be made the way they are now. Prisons should be work camps. Work camps should be divided into groups: groups for those who commit manslaughter/fraud, groups for those who sell drugs/murdered, groups for those who have raped/molested. You get the idea, divide the groups.

    4) Work camps provide state-sponsored work which will both be beneficial to society, and create a sense of contribution in the prisoner. Prisoners are indoctrinated into the belief that a society is a group of people working towards a better life for the community as a whole, by contributing - they see how they make the world a better place, and hopefully learn to accept that mutualism is the only way.

    5) Serial Killers, and people "not fit" for prosecution = death penalty. I don't believe serial killers deserve to live. I don't think people who are a threat to society, and are psychologically incapable of being prosecuted with a hope of rehabilitation should live off the welfare of a society - and quite frankly I am willing to state they don't deserve to be locked up in a psych-ward without the possibility of being released. It's much easier if we just get rid of the lot who are, in my opinion, a total waste.

    Of course, I am aware most of what I believe operates in an idealistic sort of way, which makes it unlikely to work. But I really think it should be given a shot, and see if it can be made to work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    I think I will make a number of points:

    1) Punishment should not be the focus, rehabilitation (which they claim is the purpose of prison) should be the focus.

    2) Prisons SHOULD be profitable. They shouldn't be privatized, but they shouldn't operate a loss. These are people that have damaged attempts to make a decent society.

    3) Prisons should not be made the way they are now. Prisons should be work camps. Work camps should be divided into groups: groups for those who commit manslaughter/fraud, groups for those who sell drugs/murdered, groups for those who have raped/molested. You get the idea, divide the groups.

    4) Work camps provide state-sponsored work which will both be beneficial to society, and create a sense of contribution in the prisoner. Prisoners are indoctrinated into the belief that a society is a group of people working towards a better life for the community as a whole, by contributing - they see how they make the world a better place, and hopefully learn to accept that mutualism is the only way.

    5) Serial Killers, and people "not fit" for prosecution = death penalty. I don't believe serial killers deserve to live. I don't think people who are a threat to society, and are psychologically incapable of being prosecuted with a hope of rehabilitation should live off the welfare of a society - and quite frankly I am willing to state they don't deserve to be locked up in a psych-ward without the possibility of being released. It's much easier if we just get rid of the lot who are, in my opinion, a total waste.

    Of course, I am aware most of what I believe operates in an idealistic sort of way, which makes it unlikely to work. But I really think it should be given a shot, and see if it can be made to work.
    1.) Agreed.

    2.) Restitution for victims, rather than profit for third parties, should be of primary importance, if anything is left over after operating expenses of the facilities are met. In line with 1.) this means education and vocational training.

    3.-4.) Agreed. Segregate them, at least violent from non-violent. I might add that drug/alcohol rehabilitation would be provided for those willing to attend.

    5.) I disagree. It is incompatible with the concept of rehabilitation to kill people, too hard to make the call, and we would be throwing away labor. Plus the odds of wrongful conviction at present are way too high. How would you feel if someone confessed to a crime you had already executed another person for? Plus there are practical difficulties involving extradition, etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    I think I will make a number of points:

    1) Punishment should not be the focus, rehabilitation (which they claim is the purpose of prison) should be the focus.

    2) Prisons SHOULD be profitable. They shouldn't be privatized, but they shouldn't operate a loss. These are people that have damaged attempts to make a decent society.

    3) Prisons should not be made the way they are now. Prisons should be work camps. Work camps should be divided into groups: groups for those who commit manslaughter/fraud, groups for those who sell drugs/murdered, groups for those who have raped/molested. You get the idea, divide the groups.

    4) Work camps provide state-sponsored work which will both be beneficial to society, and create a sense of contribution in the prisoner. Prisoners are indoctrinated into the belief that a society is a group of people working towards a better life for the community as a whole, by contributing - they see how they make the world a better place, and hopefully learn to accept that mutualism is the only way.

    5) Serial Killers, and people "not fit" for prosecution = death penalty. I don't believe serial killers deserve to live. I don't think people who are a threat to society, and are psychologically incapable of being prosecuted with a hope of rehabilitation should live off the welfare of a society - and quite frankly I am willing to state they don't deserve to be locked up in a psych-ward without the possibility of being released. It's much easier if we just get rid of the lot who are, in my opinion, a total waste.

    Of course, I am aware most of what I believe operates in an idealistic sort of way, which makes it unlikely to work. But I really think it should be given a shot, and see if it can be made to work.
    1.) Agreed.

    2.) Restitution for victims, rather than profit for third parties, should be of primary importance, if anything is left over after operating expenses of the facilities are met. In line with 1.) this means education and vocational training.

    3.-4.) Agreed. Segregate them, at least violent from non-violent. I might add that drug/alcohol rehabilitation would be provided for those willing to attend.

    5.) I disagree. It is incompatible with the concept of rehabilitation to kill people, too hard to make the call, and we would be throwing away labor. Plus the odds of wrongful conviction at present are way too high. How would you feel if someone confessed to a crime you had already executed another person for? Plus there are practical difficulties involving extradition, etc.
    #2 based off your comment it is agreeable, what I more so meant is that profit for a state should be promoted - but rehabilitation comes first, this is agreed.

    #5 for me this is just flat-out opinion. They have no merit to live with the rest of us. The way I personally see it is like this: Those incapable of being rehabilited have a right to live. but I think their right to life is outweighed by their inability to be a useful part of society. I should point out that in such a case, people who are psychologically incapable of responsibility does not mean anyone that is possibly a weigh on society.. It means people such as this: Murder of Tim McLean - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Vince Li will never be released from psychiatric care. I know people that work at the ward where he is kept, they insist he is there for life. In my opinion people with psychiatric problems like this need not be a financial burden for the rest of us. I know it is hypocritical, but the way I see it - they are broken beyond repair. No need in keeping them.

    Serial Killers just flat-out aren't human in my opinion. They have no purpose, they have no right to live - they surrendered that right when they took it away from others.

    Edit: You are right though, sometimes the factors for actual guilt pose a problem. I would maintain that in order for death penalty to be posed, the evidence would have to be insurmountable.

    2nd Edit: What I suggest for death penalty is not punishment. It is, the way I see it, society cutting its losses. As a society we don't want to kill or maim - but how can we live with such a threat within our custody? It is unfortunate, yes - but I don't see any other way of weaning away the evil.
    Last edited by stander-j; January 22nd, 2012 at 03:34 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    The level of punishment has little effect.
    How do you know this?
    Since punishment and retribution are not a part of the process, there is no need to be inhumane about the process of keeping criminals in prison. Give the felons steak meals. Give them TV, DVD's, movie nights, newspapers, regular exercise and recreation. Make their cells big enough for reasonable comfort. Even with a lounge suite and an ensuite.
    In your life experience, have you found that people tend to seek out pleasant experiences or unpleasant experiences? Do they in general try to avoid unpleasant experience? What qualities of criminals do you think makes them special or unique so that they would not be influenced by the prospect of either pleasant or unpleasant experiences?

    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler
    Am I against profit? Depends who is getting the profit, now, doesn't it?

    Let's say I get Harold's daughter hooked on heroin and have her out on a street corner making a profit for me?

    It's capitalism, baby!
    This is just plain idiotic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
    Speaking of drugs, alcohol, and addiction, many crimes are committed under the influence, times when the consequences of one's actions are not uppermost in the minds of the offenders, to say the least. So any deterrent effect is greatly reduced, if present at all.
    Of course, many crimes are not committed under the influence, so without any supporting evidence, what is your point? Some people are just nuts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post

    1) rehabilitation should be the focus.

    2) Prisons SHOULD be profitable.

    3) Prisons should be work camps.

    4) Work camps will be beneficial to society

    5) Serial Killers, and people "not fit" for prosecution = death penalty.
    Unfortunately, these are redneck suggestions that do not work. All these ideas have been tried and have failed. Repeatedly re-trying things we know do not work is not smart.

    Rehabilitation mostly does not work. Usually, at least 70 to 80% of those criminal 'rehabilitated' will re-offend.

    Trying to make prisons into profitable work camps does not work. One of the reasons people are in prison is an inability to do productive work. Why should this suddently change in prison? It doesn't!

    The death penalty has two major problems.

    a. It actually costs about 250% more to execute someone than keep them in prison for life. The reason is the desperate series of appeals in law courts, by a person wanting to do anything to stay alive. Each appeal can cost the taxpayer $1 million and more. Yet to deny the right of appeal is to deny people proper justice. You can go the way China has, and simply shoot people on the flimsiest evidence, but that makes society into a totalitarian and terror based state. Which appears to be the direction the US is moving anyway. I am very pleased to live in a civilised nation with no death penalty.

    b. A large number of those executed turn out by later evidence to actually be innocent. We have, doubtless, executed thousands of innocent people. We know that prejudice is often the reason innocent people are convicted. To execute large numbers of innocent people is simply wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post

    1) rehabilitation should be the focus.

    2) Prisons SHOULD be profitable.

    3) Prisons should be work camps.

    4) Work camps will be beneficial to society

    5) Serial Killers, and people "not fit" for prosecution = death penalty.
    Unfortunately, these are redneck suggestions that do not work. All these ideas have been tried and have failed. Repeatedly re-trying things we know do not work is not smart.

    Rehabilitation mostly does not work. Usually, at least 70 to 80% of those criminal 'rehabilitated' will re-offend.

    Trying to make prisons into profitable work camps does not work. One of the reasons people are in prison is an inability to do productive work. Why should this suddently change in prison? It doesn't!

    The death penalty has two major problems.

    a. It actually costs about 250% more to execute someone than keep them in prison for life. The reason is the desperate series of appeals in law courts, by a person wanting to do anything to stay alive. Each appeal can cost the taxpayer $1 million and more. Yet to deny the right of appeal is to deny people proper justice. You can go the way China has, and simply shoot people on the flimsiest evidence, but that makes society into a totalitarian and terror based state. Which appears to be the direction the US is moving anyway. I am very pleased to live in a civilised nation with no death penalty.

    b. A large number of those executed turn out by later evidence to actually be innocent. We have, doubtless, executed thousands of innocent people. We know that prejudice is often the reason innocent people are convicted. To execute large numbers of innocent people is simply wrong.
    Productivity was a part of the problem, yes. It was profitable though, in some implementations. The Convict Lease system provided a great deal of profit for the Government, though yes there were draw backs for employers - as they slowly began to realise. It also had to do with the inhumane treatment of the prisoners, corruption, and racial tendencies in the system.

    I doubt very many labour camps have offered concessions for increased productivity. You can give a prison televisions, and tell them to work hard -or- you can tell a prison if they're productive enough they'll earn televisions. Which prison has more incentive to work productively? Prisoners can earn vacation time, they can earn some McFood. A prisoner can earn a lot of things they took for granted when free.

    Convict lease - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    It's kind of negligent to think because something didn't work in the past means it would never work. You don't get anywhere by just saying, "It's hopeless," and then giving up - you innovate.

    As I said the idea is very idealistic, and therefore it's difficult to make it work, but I'd still like to see a trial-run. A small prison could implement a similar system (excluding the death penalty) to see if there are ways to work out the kinks. I doubt finding ways to make something like this work had ever been high on the list of priorities, I imagine the emphasis was for it to be profitable for the state - and not mutually profitable. Previous systems have often been compared to slavery, makes you wonder why it never worked - doesn't it?

    For the death penalty, I won't debate the facts there are obvious problems with using a death penalty. It is merely my opinion that a horrific crime is deserving of the death penalty, I have no comment on whether or not it can be implemented perfectly - that goes into too much of a grey area.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    I did not watch the youtube videos. I am not willing right now to invest enough of my time to view 8 videos.

    However, I have thoughts on the 'justice' system. My view is that we must remain focused on the goal. When we deal with a convicted criminal, what is the goal? In my view, the only worthwhile goal is to reduce future offending - by the convicted criminal and by others. Punishment, retribution, and making victims feel better are not centred on this goal and these motives be cast aside.

    So how do we deal with a convicted criminal in such a way as to reduce future offending?
    The concept of deterrence has been pretty much discredited by empirical research. The severity of a conviction seems to have little effect on the likelihood of other people offending.
    I'm glad you have at least touched on the main point, which is deterrence. (Though I'm surprised you're the only one.) If you measure the value of deterrence against people who have already committed crimes, that's like measuring the effectiveness of a drug against people who have already demonstrated immunity to that drug.

    There will always be some people who are not deterred regardless of the consequences. But there are also a lot of people who are deterred. There's also a third group of people who need no deterrent, but there's no way to know how big that third group is (I strongly suspect they're not as numerous as we like to imagine they are.)





    To the best of my knowledge, the only thing that reduces likelihood of future offending on people other than the convicted criminal, is to create the impression that, if they offend, they will get caught and punished. The level of punishment has little effect. Just the perception by potential criminal that they will get caught and 'punished'. This is not achieved by penal methods, but by improving policing, and publicising the improvements and the success in catching the criminals.
    That's a good point. Small incentives often have the same (or sometimes stronger) effect than large incentives, if only because a person has an easier time imagining the small incentive without needing to have experienced it first. Unimaginable penalties may escape a person's thought process because they simply can't think about them.



    For hardened criminals - those who offend well past 30 years of age - this will not work. I suggest that such people be kept locked up until they can be released to an old folks home. After about 65 years of age, they are unlikely to reoffend.

    As a general rule, I see prison as serving just one important function. It keeps criminals out of society so they cannot harm the innocents. Since punishment and retribution are not a part of the process, there is no need to be inhumane about the process of keeping criminals in prison. Give the felons steak meals. Give them TV, DVD's, movie nights, newspapers, regular exercise and recreation. Make their cells big enough for reasonable comfort. Even with a lounge suite and an ensuite.

    Do not permit them to contact the outside world, because they may continue to do harm. No conjugal visits (preventing these guys from reproducing is part of limiting the harm they do to society). Keep them in prison until the probability of them reoffending is seen as low.
    This is where the balance becomes important. If they're not going to be deterred by punishment, then we might as well not bother deterring them, but at the same time we need a deterrent to prevent those who can be deterred from ever committing a crime in the first place.

    In economics, we would call this principle "price discrimination". If we look at the "penalty" as a "price" for a product (whatever the benefit of crime was intended to be) then we want to charge different prices to different people. Some will be aghast if the price is too high, and will always decide against risking that they might have to pay it. Some will be willing to pay it no matter how high it is, but charging them the price has no effect on their behavior other than to make them difficult/unruly prisoners. It's better not to charge them that price, and just focus on keeping them comfortable in their cage away from the rest of us.

    The problem is that, in economics, perfect price discrimination is almost never possible to achieve. We're selling the same product to both parties, so we have to charge them essentially the same price. That's why I agree with Stander-j. It has to be hard time. It's the only way to ensure we set the price high enough for the deterrable people.
    Last edited by kojax; January 22nd, 2012 at 11:48 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    As a general rule, I see prison as serving just one important function. It keeps criminals out of society so they cannot harm the innocents.
    Those that actually harmed anyone, or property are only 14% of the Federal prison system. All the rest are there for victimless (using DOJ definitions) crimes. In most cases that 86% would be better served by another means, other than prison (crime immersion school) so they don't run afoul of the law again.
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    Perhaps 'incarceration' needs to be be confinement with law abiding people who contribute to society rather than with criminals. At least for those that are capable of rehabilitation. When prisoners join gangs simply to avoid being the victim of those prison gangs, for self protection, the results on release are not going to be law abiding citizens.

    A deep concern I have with punishment - rather than rehabilitation or confinement for the protection of others - is that horrible things get done, guilt free, when we think someone 'deserves' it. Not simply guilt free, but we can feel pleasure and satisfaction in knowing 'bad' people get to suffer. Lots of entertainment and drama feeds off those emotional responses because they are quite strong. The fatal flaw (sometimes literally) with this is that the threshold for concluding someone deserves it can be as low as being told they do or even that they are a member of a group that we are told are bad and deserve it.
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    Another problem with the system is when people that have paid for their crime and can't ever put it behind them since applications for housing, a job, and other things has that question if you have ever been convicted of a felony. This definitely creates bias and judgement on their character and they are labeled for life. Society does not allow individuals that have been convicted of a crime to actually practice rehabilitation by giving these people a second chance by the majority of the masses.

    Those questions on applications concerning your criminal record and your answers puts a permanent label on their character so there is no rehabilitation in the system.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    Perhaps 'incarceration' needs to be be confinement with law abiding people who contribute to society rather than with criminals. At least for those that are capable of rehabilitation. When prisoners join gangs simply to avoid being the victim of those prison gangs, for self protection, the results on release are not going to be law abiding citizens.

    A deep concern I have with punishment - rather than rehabilitation or confinement for the protection of others - is that horrible things get done, guilt free, when we think someone 'deserves' it. Not simply guilt free, but we can feel pleasure and satisfaction in knowing 'bad' people get to suffer. Lots of entertainment and drama feeds off those emotional responses because they are quite strong. The fatal flaw (sometimes literally) with this is that the threshold for concluding someone deserves it can be as low as being told they do or even that they are a member of a group that we are told are bad and deserve it.
    The system should be limited to individuals that actually do physical harm to other people and not for many of the stupid crimes that most are in the system for that is controlled by profit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    The system should be limited to individuals that actually do physical harm to other people and not for many of the stupid crimes that most are in the system for that is controlled by profit.
    I believe that the laws are in place because the majority of people think they should be. What does profit have to do with it?
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    I think we are too much influenced by how punishment of others we believe to be bad makes us feel and not enough by outcomes like rehabilitation. It's easy to invoke those emotional reactions - satisfaction in 'bad' people suffering and outrage that 'bad' people could get away without suffering when we think (or are told) that they deserve it. Political campaigns routinely tap into those easy to trigger emotional reactions and rarely look to outcomes; just because it's popular doesn't mean harsh punishment is the most effective way to reduce future crime rates.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeteorWayne View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
    Speaking of drugs, alcohol, and addiction, many crimes are committed under the influence, times when the consequences of one's actions are not uppermost in the minds of the offenders, to say the least. So any deterrent effect is greatly reduced, if present at all.
    Of course, many crimes are not committed under the influence, so without any supporting evidence, what is your point? Some people are just nuts.
    If they are "nuts" in that they know not right from wrong, then legally they are guilt free no matter how dangerous they are. We still lock them up until it is determined they are no longer a threat.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    The system should be limited to individuals that actually do physical harm to other people and not for many of the stupid crimes that most are in the system for that is controlled by profit.
    I believe that the laws are in place because the majority of people think they should be. What does profit have to do with it?
    Crime pays- what have you got against capitalism? There is no Mafia, there are only legitimate businessmen here.

    Speaking of business, let's haggle over pleas- PLEASE!

    Getting most criminals to plead guilty to lesser charges saves time and expenses of a trial and GUARANTEES most of the people in jail in the USA are serving time for crimes they did NOT commit, though they may have committed greater offenses- or not. We will never know, since they have been coerced into forfeiting their rights under the Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    The system should be limited to individuals that actually do physical harm to other people and not for many of the stupid crimes that most are in the system for that is controlled by profit.
    I believe that the laws are in place because the majority of people think they should be. What does profit have to do with it?
    Crime pays- what have you got against capitalism? There is no Mafia, there are only legitimate businessmen here.
    What in the hell are you talking about?

    Speaking of business, let's haggle over pleas- PLEASE!

    Getting most criminals to plead guilty to lesser charges saves time and expenses of a trial and GUARANTEES most of the people in jail in the USA are serving time for crimes they did NOT commit, though they may have committed greater offenses- or not. We will never know, since they have been coerced into forfeiting their rights under the Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments.
    What is your point? Do you want to eliminate plea bargaining? No one has to plea bargain if they don't want to.
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    No, they do not. But IF they all figured this out and insisted on the due process of law, the system would break down utterly. It would be chaos, ergo, bad for business, and you are surely not advocating that. So pressure to plea bargain, an abomination, is immense from multiple directions.
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    Okay. What are you getting at? What do you think should be done?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    The system should be limited to individuals that actually do physical harm to other people and not for many of the stupid crimes that most are in the system for that is controlled by profit.
    I believe that the laws are in place because the majority of people think they should be. What does profit have to do with it?
    By making our legal system centered around profit, laws are made with stricker punishments (allowing many branches of the system that an individual has to pay fees to) with longer sentences that are viewed as too harsh that don't really fit the crime.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    The system should be limited to individuals that actually do physical harm to other people and not for many of the stupid crimes that most are in the system for that is controlled by profit.
    I believe that the laws are in place because the majority of people think they should be. What does profit have to do with it?
    Crime pays- what have you got against capitalism? There is no Mafia, there are only legitimate businessmen here.

    Speaking of business, let's haggle over pleas- PLEASE!

    Getting most criminals to plead guilty to lesser charges saves time and expenses of a trial and GUARANTEES most of the people in jail in the USA are serving time for crimes they did NOT commit, though they may have committed greater offenses- or not. We will never know, since they have been coerced into forfeiting their rights under the Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments.
    Can you imagine if everyone today decided not to take the plea agreement and let it go to trial, this would definitely create chaos and doubt of the system since many would win in the trial due to incompetence of evidence of the details of the crime. It would clearly become evident that our system does not do their job efficiently and the motivation for profit clearly becomes the motive instead of actually doing justice that the system advocates.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    The system should be limited to individuals that actually do physical harm to other people and not for many of the stupid crimes that most are in the system for that is controlled by profit.
    I believe that the laws are in place because the majority of people think they should be. What does profit have to do with it?
    By making our legal system centered around profit, laws are made with stricker punishments (allowing many branches of the system that an individual has to pay fees to) with longer sentences that are viewed as too harsh that don't really fit the crime.
    It seems you are trying to spin a conspiracy theory. Some profit-making enterprise (lawyers?, judges?,prison operators?) are bribing legislators to pass unpopular laws, so as to increase their profit. Or are they brainwashing the voters into supporting these profit-making laws? How, exactly, do you think this conspiracy works?
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    Actually, fines are a pretty good alternative to incarceration for minor offences. Punishment = revenue for law enforcement or other purposes. Of course, corporal punishment is pretty cost-effective too, but has largely fallen out of favor, particularly crucifixion. Torture has made a brief comeback in the military but as far as civil matters in the USA, so far, not so much.
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    Harold, it doesn't take conspiracy, just political expediency that puts popularity ahead of well thought out policy. Whipping up anger about crime is easy. Promoting well thought out policies of rehabilitation and selling it to the public is hard.

    Prison operators ought to be more aware than anyone of the effectiveness or otherwise of imprisonment to reduce crime but vested interest does colour the choices about what kind of politics around crime they consider appropriate. It does appear to be a major sector for growth in the US and presumably they are reliant on tax money for funding. They are deeply involved both as beneficiaries of funding and as lobbyists. Like any business they will focus on maximising their profitability. They operate prisons and are funded according to how many prisoners they handle so it's almost inevitable that they will be supporters of prison as the best response to the problem of crime; they wouldn't be prison operators unless they had some level of belief in it.

    I suspect much of their business decision making will be 'commercial-in-confidence' and not available to public scrutiny but even within that framework it's unlikely that it would ever be openly written, stated or admitted that anything as ugly and crude as commercial gain is reason for supporting the politics of harsher sentencing. Yet it's almost certainly there.

    The question remains, has harsher sentencing been effective in reducing crime? At some point it ought to lead to reductions in crime, recidivism and imprisonment rates if it works. Is that actually the case?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    Harold, it doesn't take conspiracy, just political expediency that puts popularity ahead of well thought out policy. Whipping up anger about crime is easy. Promoting well thought out policies of rehabilitation and selling it to the public is hard.
    Peddling your ideological bias and passing it off as science is even easier yet.
    Prison operators ought to be more aware than anyone of the effectiveness or otherwise of imprisonment to reduce crime but vested interest does colour the choices about what kind of politics around crime they consider appropriate. It does appear to be a major sector for growth in the US and presumably they are reliant on tax money for funding. They are deeply involved both as beneficiaries of funding and as lobbyists. Like any business they will focus on maximising their profitability. They operate prisons and are funded according to how many prisoners they handle so it's almost inevitable that they will be supporters of prison as the best response to the problem of crime; they wouldn't be prison operators unless they had some level of belief in it.

    I suspect much of their business decision making will be 'commercial-in-confidence' and not available to public scrutiny but even within that framework it's unlikely that it would ever be openly written, stated or admitted that anything as ugly and crude as commercial gain is reason for supporting the politics of harsher sentencing. Yet it's almost certainly there.

    The question remains, has harsher sentencing been effective in reducing crime? At some point it ought to lead to reductions in crime, recidivism and imprisonment rates if it works. Is that actually the case?
    Unfortunately, given the state of "social science" there really isn't any way to know. Feynman called it pseudoscience, and I agree. There really isn't any good way of conducting a science experiment with people, that controls for all of the numerous factors that influence an individual's behavior. I'd rather stick with the traditional, time proven, methods. Yes, laws involve punishment. No one has ever figured out another way to make laws. If you don't think laws work, you should give up on politics entirely, because that's what politics is. Laws. And laws, by their very definition, have penalties specified for their violation. A law without a penalty is merely a suggestion.
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    In Arizona, many people die from prison officials abusing their power and they are not held accountable for those crimes under the same punishment as it is with those committing the same offenses in society. Many are mentally ill and their behavior is viewed as "uncooperative" to the prison guards that end up beating them to death. The system implies. "Do as I say and not what I do" seems to be accepted behavior from our justice system. In my opinion, this is clearly wrong and it is not a justice system when you have people that work for the system are not accountable for the same laws under the system.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    In Arizona, many people die from prison officials abusing their power and they are not held accountable for those crimes under the same punishment as it is with those committing the same offenses in society. Many are mentally ill and their behavior is viewed as "uncooperative" to the prison guards that end up beating them to death. The system implies. "Do as I say and not what I do" seems to be accepted behavior from our justice system. In my opinion, this is clearly wrong and it is not a justice system when you have people that work for the system are not accountable for the same laws under the system.
    You have written a lot of generalities, without any facts to back them up. When you say "many people die" how many is many? When you say prison officials abuse their power and are not held accountable, all you are saying is that someone has made an allegation which has not been proven in a court of law. If it were proven in a court of law, then they would have been found guilty and held accountable. I have no particular reason to believe that the unproven allegations are true. I'm not accepting your word for it.

    You still haven't tied the problem, if it exists, to a profit motive. For all I know, the alleged abuses of power were against public employees, not private companies. It isn't any good to rail against "the system." You have to identify what is wrong with "the system," who or what is to blame for it, and what you think should be done about it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    As a general rule, I see prison as serving just one important function. It keeps criminals out of society so they cannot harm the innocents.
    Those that actually harmed anyone, or property are only 14% of the Federal prison system. All the rest are there for victimless (using DOJ definitions) crimes. In most cases that 86% would be better served by another means, other than prison (crime immersion school) so they don't run afoul of the law again.
    I suspect that a large number of those people did in fact hurt someone, and badly, but agreed to plea to a lesser charge (which may not have included confessing to having done any real harm.)

    Even Al Capone was never prosecuted for his many murders, but they managed to get him on tax evasion. (And failures to launder ones money well enough is stil the reason many gangsters go down today.)



    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    The system should be limited to individuals that actually do physical harm to other people and not for many of the stupid crimes that most are in the system for that is controlled by profit.
    I believe that the laws are in place because the majority of people think they should be. What does profit have to do with it?
    By making our legal system centered around profit, laws are made with stricker punishments (allowing many branches of the system that an individual has to pay fees to) with longer sentences that are viewed as too harsh that don't really fit the crime.
    It seems you are trying to spin a conspiracy theory. Some profit-making enterprise (lawyers?, judges?,prison operators?) are bribing legislators to pass unpopular laws, so as to increase their profit. Or are they brainwashing the voters into supporting these profit-making laws? How, exactly, do you think this conspiracy works?
    Not everything that happens on the group level is the result of a conscious choice where the participants meet together in a big council and decide what they will plan to do. Profit motive incites people to move in a direction by each individually arriving at the same conclusion unaware of the behavior of the others who may be moving in the same direction (due to perceiving the same incentives.)

    Calling it a conspiracy would be totally inaccurate, but dismissing it as non-existent is also. Requiring people to choose one of those two options before they can go on discussing it is a false dichotomy.
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    I was not implying it was a conspiracy for each entity of the court system that capitalizes off of the many ways to impose fines, counseling service fees, probation fees, etc. How it ends up this way is irrelevant to this conversation since it can't be proven or as Kojax stated that not everything happens on the group level is the result of a conscious choice of the participants that represent all of the parties involved that are contracted by the courts to provide these services with fees.

    I have a friend who was drinking at her boyfriend's house and they got into an argument and she went into the driveway and got into her car to avoid any further conflict. The boyfriend called police because she wouldn't leave his home. She was drunk and did not want to drive but her mistake was she put the key into the ignition so she could run the air conditioner since it was in the hottest part of the summer months. She was arrested for DWI but without the driving part and she has paid the system almost $20, 000 so far in fines, a breatherlizer device, counseling fees, etc. and all this because of some stupid technically that if you put your key into the ignition, you are considered a DWI.

    It is these loopholes that bring enormous amount of profit to the legal system that is not justified in my opinion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    I was not implying it was a conspiracy for each entity of the court system that capitalizes off of the many ways to impose fines, counseling service fees, probation fees, etc. How it ends up this way is irrelevant to this conversation since it can't be proven or as Kojax stated that not everything happens on the group level is the result of a conscious choice of the participants that represent all of the parties involved that are contracted by the courts to provide these services with fees.

    I have a friend who was drinking at her boyfriend's house and they got into an argument and she went into the driveway and got into her car to avoid any further conflict. The boyfriend called police because she wouldn't leave his home. She was drunk and did not want to drive but her mistake was she put the key into the ignition so she could run the air conditioner since it was in the hottest part of the summer months. She was arrested for DWI but without the driving part and she has paid the system almost $20, 000 so far in fines, a breatherlizer device, counseling fees, etc. and all this because of some stupid technically that if you put your key into the ignition, you are considered a DWI.

    It is these loopholes that bring enormous amount of profit to the legal system that is not justified in my opinion.
    If she was sitting in the back of the vehicle, or in the passenger seat, it probably would've been dismissed.. As they say, hindsight is 20/20.

    To reach as far as claiming they got her because of a 'loophole'?? That's some serious bull. Do you really think that is a loophole? If it was that easy for it to be dismissed EVERY person getting caught with the keys in the ignition while under the influence would use excuses like that: It's for the a/c, I wanted to listen to the radio, etc.

    Of course, if she wasn't in the driver's seat, I would agree. But the problem is the legal system can't say without a doubt your friend was not intending to drive, I'd hardly call that a loop-hole.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    I was not implying it was a conspiracy for each entity of the court system that capitalizes off of the many ways to impose fines, counseling service fees, probation fees, etc. How it ends up this way is irrelevant to this conversation since it can't be proven or as Kojax stated that not everything happens on the group level is the result of a conscious choice of the participants that represent all of the parties involved that are contracted by the courts to provide these services with fees.

    I have a friend who was drinking at her boyfriend's house and they got into an argument and she went into the driveway and got into her car to avoid any further conflict. The boyfriend called police because she wouldn't leave his home. She was drunk and did not want to drive but her mistake was she put the key into the ignition so she could run the air conditioner since it was in the hottest part of the summer months. She was arrested for DWI but without the driving part and she has paid the system almost $20, 000 so far in fines, a breatherlizer device, counseling fees, etc. and all this because of some stupid technically that if you put your key into the ignition, you are considered a DWI.

    It is these loopholes that bring enormous amount of profit to the legal system that is not justified in my opinion.
    If she was sitting in the back of the vehicle, or in the passenger seat, it probably would've been dismissed.. As they say, hindsight is 20/20.

    To reach as far as claiming they got her because of a 'loophole'?? That's some serious bull. Do you really think that is a loophole? If it was that easy for it to be dismissed EVERY person getting caught with the keys in the ignition while under the influence would use excuses like that: It's for the a/c, I wanted to listen to the radio, etc.

    Of course, if she wasn't in the driver's seat, I would agree. But the problem is the legal system can't say without a doubt your friend was not intending to drive, I'd hardly call that a loop-hole.
    The fact that she didn't drive is the point. It is like saying you are found guilty for thinking of doing a crime without actually doing it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    The fact that she didn't drive is the point. It is like saying you are found guilty for thinking of doing a crime without actually doing it.
    Right, that's why when you're found guilty it is "beyond benefit of the doubt".
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    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    I was not implying it was a conspiracy for each entity of the court system that capitalizes off of the many ways to impose fines, counseling service fees, probation fees, etc. How it ends up this way is irrelevant to this conversation since it can't be proven or as Kojax stated that not everything happens on the group level is the result of a conscious choice of the participants that represent all of the parties involved that are contracted by the courts to provide these services with fees.

    I have a friend who was drinking at her boyfriend's house and they got into an argument and she went into the driveway and got into her car to avoid any further conflict. The boyfriend called police because she wouldn't leave his home. She was drunk and did not want to drive but her mistake was she put the key into the ignition so she could run the air conditioner since it was in the hottest part of the summer months. She was arrested for DWI but without the driving part and she has paid the system almost $20, 000 so far in fines, a breatherlizer device, counseling fees, etc. and all this because of some stupid technically that if you put your key into the ignition, you are considered a DWI.

    It is these loopholes that bring enormous amount of profit to the legal system that is not justified in my opinion.
    If she was sitting in the back of the vehicle, or in the passenger seat, it probably would've been dismissed.. As they say, hindsight is 20/20.

    To reach as far as claiming they got her because of a 'loophole'?? That's some serious bull. Do you really think that is a loophole? If it was that easy for it to be dismissed EVERY person getting caught with the keys in the ignition while under the influence would use excuses like that: It's for the a/c, I wanted to listen to the radio, etc.

    Of course, if she wasn't in the driver's seat, I would agree. But the problem is the legal system can't say without a doubt your friend was not intending to drive, I'd hardly call that a loop-hole.
    Under the law in Arizona, you could be passed out in the back seat with the key in your purse- you are considered "in control of the vehicle", so, TENT CITY. Also the case if you test positive for certain medications, even if legitimately prescribed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    The fact that she didn't drive is the point. It is like saying you are found guilty for thinking of doing a crime without actually doing it.
    Right, that's why when you're found guilty it is "beyond benefit of the doubt".
    It is a matter of the way the law is written. The law judges people on their actions, not their intentions. And if they intend to get a fair trial, they have to buck the system of plea bargaining, which I much doubt was the intention of the authors of the Bill of Rights, personally.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    The fact that she didn't drive is the point. It is like saying you are found guilty for thinking of doing a crime without actually doing it.
    Right, that's why when you're found guilty it is "beyond benefit of the doubt".
    It is a matter of the way the law is written. The law judges people on their actions, not their intentions.
    Is that why conspiracies are legal?
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    Let's say that Arizona really does have a law that says you are guilty of drunk driving if you are sitting in the car with the air conditioner running. How do you think this law came about? My guess is that the activist groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving lobbied for crackdowns on drunk driving. The cops were probably complaining about someone who got off on some technicality when the police didn't actually see the driver operating the vehicle. Then a politician somewhere proposed a change to the drunk driving laws. If some other legislator voted against it, they would be accused of being soft on drunk driving. Their opponent, or MADD perhaps, would run a campaign ad saying "look here, this guy voted against the police approved drunk driving law." Presto, the law is passed. No profit motive required.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Let's say that Arizona really does have a law that says you are guilty of drunk driving if you are sitting in the car with the air conditioner running. How do you think this law came about? My guess is that the activist groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving lobbied for crackdowns on drunk driving. The cops were probably complaining about someone who got off on some technicality when the police didn't actually see the driver operating the vehicle. Then a politician somewhere proposed a change to the drunk driving laws. If some other legislator voted against it, they would be accused of being soft on drunk driving. Their opponent, or MADD perhaps, would run a campaign ad saying "look here, this guy voted against the police approved drunk driving law." Presto, the law is passed. No profit motive required.
    You can rationalize it any way you want to but the fact is she never left the driveway therefore she was not driving it so it is not a DWI!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Let's say that Arizona really does have a law that says you are guilty of drunk driving if you are sitting in the car with the air conditioner running. How do you think this law came about? My guess is that the activist groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving lobbied for crackdowns on drunk driving. The cops were probably complaining about someone who got off on some technicality when the police didn't actually see the driver operating the vehicle. Then a politician somewhere proposed a change to the drunk driving laws. If some other legislator voted against it, they would be accused of being soft on drunk driving. Their opponent, or MADD perhaps, would run a campaign ad saying "look here, this guy voted against the police approved drunk driving law." Presto, the law is passed. No profit motive required.
    You can rationalize it any way you want to but the fact is she never left the driveway therefore she was not driving it so it is not a DWI!
    If you will reread what I wrote, you will see that I was not saying the law is right. I was only showing how such a law comes about without the influence of any corrupt money interests.
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    30 years ago this kind of situation that happened to my friend would not have resulted in an arrest.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    30 years ago this kind of situation that happened to my friend would not have resulted in an arrest.
    I think that's irrelevent, the law is in place to protect people from what looks a lot like a decision to engage in drunken-driving. You suggesting that it's a profit system before it is a judicial system is anathema to the fact that once the charge is placed, the law can't pick and choose who they believe and who they don't. The evidence needs to speak for itself. The only fair way to have such a law, is to make everyone 'caught' go through the motions. It's not based on profit, it's based on consistency. If that means a few people get burned, well that's unfortunate.. Live and Learn I guess.
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    There are competing means and motivations involved in laws and their enforcement - protection of society's citizens and property from immediate damage and injury via incarcaration or supervision, prevention of further crime via rehabilitation of offenders or by instilling fear of consequences (making examples), giving satisfaction to victims of crime via acknowledgement and apology or via restitution by offenders, giving satisfaction to victims and angered citizens by perpetrators being forced to suffer personal harm via institutionalised revenge. And there are the motivations of lawmakers which will include all those as well as an overriding desire to reinforce the popularity of their political agendas, parties and individual representatives to further the interests of organisations and ideologies they are aligned with.

    I think that it's an area that would benefit from science/evidence based objectivity.

    I admit to being most interested in seeing prevention of further harm by offenders via rehabilitation and recompense to victims via restitution and have strong reservations about deciding what's appropriate by what's most popular. I think the intersection of the popularity of seeing bad people suffer and the interests of politicians to achieve popularity makes for less than optimal, sometimes counterproductive and sometimes dangerously divisive lawmaking. I think that too much intrusion on the independence of courts to decide what's appropriate via lawmakers, driven by sensationalist and drama seeking media focusing on that popularity of seeing offenders suffer is counterproductive to a civil society. I have heard of surveys of jury members vs general public that show that the former found sentencing to be appropriate with the latter finding it inappropriate. The latter outnumber the former so politics will tend to be more influenced by wider public sentiment despite the former being far better informed.

    I think it's an area where giving in to populism is counterproductive.
    Last edited by Ken Fabos; January 30th, 2012 at 04:14 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    I think that too much intrusion on the independence of courts to decide what's appropriate via lawmakers, driven by sensationalist and drama seeking media focusing on that popularity of seeing offenders suffer is counterproductive to a civil society.
    Well, we wouldn't want voters to intrude into the lawmaking process, would we Ken?
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    Harold I believe elected representatives have a duty above being and doing what is popular, including looking beyond that to the longer term good of their constituents - by seeking advice based on evidence and expertise about the outcomes of laws that are in place as well as laws they enact. I don't believe lawmaking should ignore voter sentiment but those lawmakers - politicians and political parties - have some obligations in turn to both do their best to be well informed and encourage voters to be well informed. That may include informing voters that the popular urge to punish harshly doesn't necessarily reduce crime or encourage a civil society. And that alternatives may be more productive. Don't you think that well considered policy might have advantages to society over mob rule?
    Last edited by Ken Fabos; January 31st, 2012 at 01:16 AM. Reason: clarity
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    There are different kinds of crimes and misdemeaners and there are strong arguments that some laws, such as those that target drug possession and use or consenting sexual practices or that target minorities ought not be in place irrespective of how strong popular support for them is. Elected representatives should have obligations to the security, prosperity and fair treatment all their constituents, not only their perceived supporters and the members of a dominant majority. They even have obligations to the human rights of people who are alleged or convicted criminals.

    A civil democratic society relies on much more than simply the will of the majority. Appeals to those innate human emotional responses of solidarity with people with shared values and distrust and dislike of those that don't are reliable ways of inciting popular support but they are not reliable ways of developing laws or deciding appropriate punishments for those that break them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    I was not implying it was a conspiracy for each entity of the court system that capitalizes off of the many ways to impose fines, counseling service fees, probation fees, etc. How it ends up this way is irrelevant to this conversation since it can't be proven or as Kojax stated that not everything happens on the group level is the result of a conscious choice of the participants that represent all of the parties involved that are contracted by the courts to provide these services with fees.

    I have a friend who was drinking at her boyfriend's house and they got into an argument and she went into the driveway and got into her car to avoid any further conflict. The boyfriend called police because she wouldn't leave his home. She was drunk and did not want to drive but her mistake was she put the key into the ignition so she could run the air conditioner since it was in the hottest part of the summer months. She was arrested for DWI but without the driving part and she has paid the system almost $20, 000 so far in fines, a breatherlizer device, counseling fees, etc. and all this because of some stupid technically that if you put your key into the ignition, you are considered a DWI.

    It is these loopholes that bring enormous amount of profit to the legal system that is not justified in my opinion.
    If she was sitting in the back of the vehicle, or in the passenger seat, it probably would've been dismissed.. As they say, hindsight is 20/20.

    To reach as far as claiming they got her because of a 'loophole'?? That's some serious bull. Do you really think that is a loophole? If it was that easy for it to be dismissed EVERY person getting caught with the keys in the ignition while under the influence would use excuses like that: It's for the a/c, I wanted to listen to the radio, etc.

    Of course, if she wasn't in the driver's seat, I would agree. But the problem is the legal system can't say without a doubt your friend was not intending to drive, I'd hardly call that a loop-hole.
    The police could have made a judgement call. There is no chance in hell that their actions made the streets even 0.00000001% safer, which is what we tax payers pay them to do for us, not just to make our lives miserable every chance they get. They need to remember the "serve" part of "protect and serve".

    It's a wonderfully stupid law in its own right. They not only expect drunk people to call a cab, but now they can't even wait in comfort for the cab to arrive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Let's say that Arizona really does have a law that says you are guilty of drunk driving if you are sitting in the car with the air conditioner running. How do you think this law came about? My guess is that the activist groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving lobbied for crackdowns on drunk driving. The cops were probably complaining about someone who got off on some technicality when the police didn't actually see the driver operating the vehicle. Then a politician somewhere proposed a change to the drunk driving laws. If some other legislator voted against it, they would be accused of being soft on drunk driving. Their opponent, or MADD perhaps, would run a campaign ad saying "look here, this guy voted against the police approved drunk driving law." Presto, the law is passed. No profit motive required.
    A very probable explanation. A public that only hears soundbites, because there's just too much information to absorb, so we make idiotic laws, which then undermine our central laws by making it apparent you can end up in trouble without even meaning to get there.

    9/10 of what makes a law effective is the perception that

    1) - You will be punished if you break the law.
    2) - You will not be punished if you make a reasonable attempt to obey the law.

    #2 is about a bazillion times more important than #1, because it creates the tipping point between certainty and uncertainty. It's possible to bring #2 very near to a certainty, but totally impossible to bring #1 anywhere close to that.

    If a probability exists to be punished by accident (even a mistake of your own) because the police will cart you off on technicalities (valid though they may be), then the punishment's ability to influence behavior is gravely undermined. That's why we have an "innocent until proven guilty" system. It's so people who end up in prison are always people who deliberately chose to roll the dice on it. It's likely the police actually made the streets more dangerous (if only slightly) instead of less dangerous by doing that bull$hit due to its effect on undermining the strength of the deterrent.
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    She was asleep in a truck that had no backseat by the time the police had arrived. She knew she was drunk and that is why she didn't leave the driveway. Its over 100% even at night in the summer time here and in order to turn on the airconditioner you have to put the keys into the ignition. If the police were allowed any rational thinking of the situation instead of a black and white rule, she should have not been arrested.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    I was not implying it was a conspiracy for each entity of the court system that capitalizes off of the many ways to impose fines, counseling service fees, probation fees, etc. How it ends up this way is irrelevant to this conversation since it can't be proven or as Kojax stated that not everything happens on the group level is the result of a conscious choice of the participants that represent all of the parties involved that are contracted by the courts to provide these services with fees.

    I have a friend who was drinking at her boyfriend's house and they got into an argument and she went into the driveway and got into her car to avoid any further conflict. The boyfriend called police because she wouldn't leave his home. She was drunk and did not want to drive but her mistake was she put the key into the ignition so she could run the air conditioner since it was in the hottest part of the summer months. She was arrested for DWI but without the driving part and she has paid the system almost $20, 000 so far in fines, a breatherlizer device, counseling fees, etc. and all this because of some stupid technically that if you put your key into the ignition, you are considered a DWI.

    It is these loopholes that bring enormous amount of profit to the legal system that is not justified in my opinion.
    If she was sitting in the back of the vehicle, or in the passenger seat, it probably would've been dismissed.. As they say, hindsight is 20/20.

    To reach as far as claiming they got her because of a 'loophole'?? That's some serious bull. Do you really think that is a loophole? If it was that easy for it to be dismissed EVERY person getting caught with the keys in the ignition while under the influence would use excuses like that: It's for the a/c, I wanted to listen to the radio, etc.

    Of course, if she wasn't in the driver's seat, I would agree. But the problem is the legal system can't say without a doubt your friend was not intending to drive, I'd hardly call that a loop-hole.
    The police could have made a judgement call. There is no chance in hell that their actions made the streets even 0.00000001% safer, which is what we tax payers pay them to do for us, not just to make our lives miserable every chance they get. They need to remember the "serve" part of "protect and serve".

    It's a wonderfully stupid law in its own right. They not only expect drunk people to call a cab, but now they can't even wait in comfort for the cab to arrive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Let's say that Arizona really does have a law that says you are guilty of drunk driving if you are sitting in the car with the air conditioner running. How do you think this law came about? My guess is that the activist groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving lobbied for crackdowns on drunk driving. The cops were probably complaining about someone who got off on some technicality when the police didn't actually see the driver operating the vehicle. Then a politician somewhere proposed a change to the drunk driving laws. If some other legislator voted against it, they would be accused of being soft on drunk driving. Their opponent, or MADD perhaps, would run a campaign ad saying "look here, this guy voted against the police approved drunk driving law." Presto, the law is passed. No profit motive required.
    A very probable explanation. A public that only hears soundbites, because there's just too much information to absorb, so we make idiotic laws, which then undermine our central laws by making it apparent you can end up in trouble without even meaning to get there.

    9/10 of what makes a law effective is the perception that

    1) - You will be punished if you break the law.
    2) - You will not be punished if you make a reasonable attempt to obey the law.

    #2 is about a bazillion times more important than #1, because it creates the tipping point between certainty and uncertainty. It's possible to bring #2 very near to a certainty, but totally impossible to bring #1 anywhere close to that.

    If a probability exists to be punished by accident (even a mistake of your own) because the police will cart you off on technicalities (valid though they may be), then the punishment's ability to influence behavior is gravely undermined. That's why we have an "innocent until proven guilty" system. It's so people who end up in prison are always people who deliberately chose to roll the dice on it. It's likely the police actually made the streets more dangerous (if only slightly) instead of less dangerous by doing that bull$hit due to its effect on undermining the strength of the deterrent.
    It is clearly evident here in Arizona that law enforcement is arresting people for profit for the system. The police brutality in our jail system has caused many deaths over the years and we the tax payors have paid so many lawsuits that their loved ones won in court over the death of these immates that obviously they were found guilty of these offenses. I have a big problem with law officials that do not obey the same laws that are imposed on everyone else.
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    9/10 of what makes a law effective is the perception that

    1) - You will be punished if you break the law.
    2) - You will not be punished if you make a reasonable attempt to obey the law.
    I'd like to any data that backs that up. My guess would be more like 10% even consider punishment--they are guided by a good moral compass and well grounded common sence. We already know that the majority of offenders don't consider consequences at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    We already know that the majority of offenders don't consider consequences at all.
    How do we know this, and what is the percentage of non-offenders who consider consequences?
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    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    The fact that she didn't drive is the point. It is like saying you are found guilty for thinking of doing a crime without actually doing it.
    Right, that's why when you're found guilty it is "beyond benefit of the doubt".
    It is a matter of the way the law is written. The law judges people on their actions, not their intentions.
    Is that why conspiracies are legal?
    Some are legal, like surprise birthday parties, while some are not, like contract murders.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    She was asleep in a truck that had no backseat by the time the police had arrived. She knew she was drunk and that is why she didn't leave the driveway. Its over 100% even at night in the summer time here and in order to turn on the airconditioner you have to put the keys into the ignition. If the police were allowed any rational thinking of the situation instead of a black and white rule, she should have not been arrested.
    She had control of the vehicle. She had no business being in the vehicle in that condition according to the letter of the law, she was a menace to herself and others and if she did not know this then she most certainly does now. But this DOES illustrate the difficulties of punishment as a deterrent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
    But this DOES illustrate the difficulties of punishment as a deterrent.
    How does it do that? She probably won't be getting into a car and running the motor while drunk again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
    But this DOES illustrate the difficulties of punishment as a deterrent.
    How does it do that? She probably won't be getting into a car and running the motor while drunk again.
    Dude, I know a chick with THREE DWIs. She's a teacher.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    The fact that she didn't drive is the point. It is like saying you are found guilty for thinking of doing a crime without actually doing it.
    Right, that's why when you're found guilty it is "beyond benefit of the doubt".
    It is a matter of the way the law is written. The law judges people on their actions, not their intentions.
    Is that why conspiracies are legal?
    Some are legal, like surprise birthday parties, while some are not, like contract murders.
    You missed the point of my comment. You said the law is supposed to judge people on their actions, not their intentions - conspiracy isn't action, it's intent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    The fact that she didn't drive is the point. It is like saying you are found guilty for thinking of doing a crime without actually doing it.
    Right, that's why when you're found guilty it is "beyond benefit of the doubt".
    It is a matter of the way the law is written. The law judges people on their actions, not their intentions.
    Is that why conspiracies are legal?
    Some are legal, like surprise birthday parties, while some are not, like contract murders.
    You missed the point of my comment. You said the law is supposed to judge people on their actions, not their intentions - conspiracy isn't action, it's intent.
    Conspiracy to commit a crime is itself a crime- conspiracy itself is a neutral activity. And it IS an activity regardless of the goals of the conspirators, since it involves communication, demonstrably an activity. I will admit that the law does take into consideration for certain crimes the issue of premeditation.

    Then there is the whole can of worms regarding the insanity defense, so you are right, it is the general case that the law judges us on our actions, principally for practical considerations- intent can be quite difficult to establish.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
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    The fact that she didn't drive is the point. It is like saying you are found guilty for thinking of doing a crime without actually doing it.
    Right, that's why when you're found guilty it is "beyond benefit of the doubt".
    It is a matter of the way the law is written. The law judges people on their actions, not their intentions.
    Is that why conspiracies are legal?
    Some are legal, like surprise birthday parties, while some are not, like contract murders.
    You missed the point of my comment. You said the law is supposed to judge people on their actions, not their intentions - conspiracy isn't action, it's intent.
    Conspiracy to commit a crime is itself a crime- conspiracy itself is a neutral activity. And it IS an activity regardless of the goals of the conspirators, since it involves communication, demonstrably an activity. I will admit that the law does take into consideration for certain crimes the issue of premeditation.

    Then there is the whole can of worms regarding the insanity defense, so you are right, it is the general case that the law judges us on our actions, principally for practical considerations- intent can be quite difficult to establish.
    Ohm I thought you were implying that arresting a drunk with a car turned on was pushing the envelope of what a DWI actually is, as in such a case you're juding somebody on a supposed intent rather than action which would make it wrong.

    Edit: And by "Ohm", I most certainly mean "Oh".
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    You are using a Blackberry? Anyway, the relevant law in Arizona, if I am correct, states that an intoxicated person in control of a motorized vehicle is guilty of a crime. Penalties are notoriously severe and people continue to violate the laws. Arizona is also noteworthy for deriving a lot of state revenue from fines and fees, so enforcement is not lax by any means- i.e. the probability of getting caught is high.

    Despite this, human behavior is what it is- arguably it would be worse in the absence of sanctions, to give the other side of the coin some light. It is a complicated question.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    9/10 of what makes a law effective is the perception that

    1) - You will be punished if you break the law.
    2) - You will not be punished if you make a reasonable attempt to obey the law.
    I'd like to any data that backs that up. My guess would be more like 10% even consider punishment--they are guided by a good moral compass and well grounded common sence. We already know that the majority of offenders don't consider consequences at all.
    All I've really got is anecdotal evidence for this. I had a long talk on the road with my cousin's husband who is a career prison guard about his life as a guard. It's something he told me from his lifetime of experience dealing with inmates, that most of them actually do weigh the odds. They're just degenerate gamblers. For example, he mentioned that if you lock the door to your house, even with a lock that is easy to defeat, most burglars will leave it alone because it's common knowledge that breaking and entering carries a prison term more than twice as long as simple robbery. The main reason so many of these multiple count offenders even exist is because they had the common sense to maneuver their crimes around the laws that carry the lightest penalties.



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    The fact that she didn't drive is the point. It is like saying you are found guilty for thinking of doing a crime without actually doing it.
    Right, that's why when you're found guilty it is "beyond benefit of the doubt".
    It is a matter of the way the law is written. The law judges people on their actions, not their intentions.
    Is that why conspiracies are legal?
    Some are legal, like surprise birthday parties, while some are not, like contract murders.
    You missed the point of my comment. You said the law is supposed to judge people on their actions, not their intentions - conspiracy isn't action, it's intent.
    Conspiracy to commit a crime is itself a crime- conspiracy itself is a neutral activity. And it IS an activity regardless of the goals of the conspirators, since it involves communication, demonstrably an activity. I will admit that the law does take into consideration for certain crimes the issue of premeditation.

    Then there is the whole can of worms regarding the insanity defense, so you are right, it is the general case that the law judges us on our actions, principally for practical considerations- intent can be quite difficult to establish.
    Ohm I thought you were implying that arresting a drunk with a car turned on was pushing the envelope of what a DWI actually is, as in such a case you're juding somebody on a supposed intent rather than action which would make it wrong.

    Edit: And by "Ohm", I most certainly mean "Oh".
    The irony is that her intent not to drive was obvious, given that her BF had to call the police when she refused to leave his driveway. The only reason they were there in the first place is because of her determination not to endanger anyone's life by driving to somewhere else.

    I have no problem with intent laws. Without them, it would be nearly impossible for the police to successfully prevent crimes. They'd have to stand back and let them happen. The trouble with them is when people make the mistake of thinking the action associated with that intent is "intent" all by itself, instead of evidence of intent. In this poor woman's case, the evidence of intent was clearly outweighed by other, stronger evidence against, and the police busted her anyway.
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    For example: In drug laws of some states, possession of a certain quantity of drugs will get you charged with "intent to distribute". Clearly the underlying assumption is that nobody would possess that amount of drugs intending it all for personal use. Is the assumption guaranteed to be accurate? Clearly not, but it's good enough evidence if nothing exists to say otherwise.

    I wouldn't mind if threatening a person's life got turned into some kind of "intent" law. Sure you have freedom of speech, but if you threaten somebody, the act of threatening them is a confession of intent. The threat itself is not the crime the person is being charged with. It's the evidence of the crime.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    For example: In drug laws of some states, possession of a certain quantity of drugs will get you charged with "intent to distribute". Clearly the underlying assumption is that nobody would possess that amount of drugs intending it all for personal use. Is the assumption guaranteed to be accurate? Clearly not, but it's good enough evidence if nothing exists to say otherwise.

    I wouldn't mind if threatening a person's life got turned into some kind of "intent" law. Sure you have freedom of speech, but if you threaten somebody, the act of threatening them is a confession of intent. The threat itself is not the crime the person is being charged with. It's the evidence of the crime.
    I believe that's called assault.
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    Terroristic threats - 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2706 - Pennsylvania Attorney Resources - Pennsylvania Laws

    2706. Terroristic threats.
    (a) Offense defined.--A person commits the crime of terroristic threats if the person communicates, either directly or indirectly, a threat to: (1) commit any crime of violence with intent to terrorize another; (2) cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly or facility of public transportation; or (3) otherwise cause serious public inconvenience, or cause terror or serious public inconvenience with reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience.
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    Stupid law that's overly broad and could fit far too many relatively minor crimes combined with disproportional punishments--in this just telling someone you'll beat his ass could fit and get you thrown away for decades. We've done a lot of that over the past ten years.
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    That whole word needs a narrowed legal definition. Terrorism is basically just extortion carried out against a government or country, so I can see how it would be easy to blur the lines between it and other forms of violence or intimidation.

    All the more reason we should be taking extra caution in how we deal with it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    For example: In drug laws of some states, possession of a certain quantity of drugs will get you charged with "intent to distribute". Clearly the underlying assumption is that nobody would possess that amount of drugs intending it all for personal use. Is the assumption guaranteed to be accurate? Clearly not, but it's good enough evidence if nothing exists to say otherwise.

    I wouldn't mind if threatening a person's life got turned into some kind of "intent" law. Sure you have freedom of speech, but if you threaten somebody, the act of threatening them is a confession of intent. The threat itself is not the crime the person is being charged with. It's the evidence of the crime.
    They do in regards to "intent" and that is a person can obtain a restraining order against someone that posses a threat to them.
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    I believe way may be looking at this very wrong. Punishment is indeed needed to create a just society. But why is it that Americans cannot look at other countries to see what they are doing RIGHT that the need for so many prisons is not there? There are other forms of punishment in use in other countries that may seem harsh for what is used in America currently, but if what we are doing currently is not working...and it is NOT working...maybe we need to change the system. We have made it too easy to do wrong and get a slap on the wrist. If we made our punishment more harsh, as they should be, then doing wrong would not become the option for possible future offenders.

    Now i am NOT saying we need to be inhumane. But i am saying, set the laws so people know the punishment. Then, enforce those harsher punishments and it will not take long before the word is out and people second guess rather they want to commit a crime or not. Crime will go down when people are forced to think twice about committing the crime.

    For those that make it to prison, there should be NO benefits to it for them. No tv, no movie days, no radios, no newspapers or books(unless they go to school and earn a degree or diploma of which they must pay for). They should have nothing more than a hard floor to sleep on and 3 meals...not neccessarily hot or healthy. They made their choices and they must pay the consequences. I agree that the prisoner should be made to help their community. Work hard all day long rain or shine. There should be plenty of work lined up to do indoors and outdoors. There should be no visitations of any kind. If they want to visit family then dont do anything to go to prison. You can visit when you get out. Yes, I know this may sound harsh...but really...isnt that the point. Humane harshness...maybe that should be the new theme! Prison should be something EVERYONE avoids.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stephanie aull johnson View Post
    Now i am NOT saying we need to be inhumane..........................I agree that the prisoner should be made to help their community. Work hard all day long rain or shine. There should be plenty of work lined up to do indoors and outdoors.
    And if the prisoners refuse to work, what then?
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    I think the mental health of prisoners - a great many of whom are there because of mental health problems - will not be enhanced by sleeping on hard floors, deprived of all stimulation except discomfit, pain, the interactions of other prisoners and brutal enforcement of rigid discipline. Upon release the mentally ill - both those for whom it's made worse and those the experience induced - will probably be less capable of rational choices. Making prisons harsher won't make their behavioral choices more rational and there's a strong likelihood their behavior will be less rational.

    I think we can take as given that, despite some access to tv's, clean beds or reading materials - they are very unpleasant places to be and very few individuals, having experienced them, ever want to go back. The idea that they are like motels and the experience like a holiday has very little basis in reality, even for most of the lowest security prisons.

    In our thoughts about crime and punishment is at least some element of how it makes us feel colours our views of what is appropriate. The urge to see people we believe are bad - and therefore deserve it - getting treated badly in turn is real but it tells us nothing about what works and doesn't work to reduce criminal behaviour. How it makes us feel when we imagine that people who deserve it are having a holiday in a motel-like environment definitely should not be the basis of decisions about punishment. Trusting the judgement of those who urge us to believe that is the case - who are almost certainly fishing for emotional responses rather than seeking to inform - would be unwise.

    Rather than rely on emotional responses, a genuine desire to reduce recidivism and encourage law abiding behaviour requires science based enquiry based on good information about the psychology of individual offenders and what motivates actual changes in behaviour.
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  84. #83  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    She was asleep in a truck that had no backseat by the time the police had arrived. She knew she was drunk and that is why she didn't leave the driveway. Its over 100% even at night in the summer time here and in order to turn on the airconditioner you have to put the keys into the ignition. If the police were allowed any rational thinking of the situation instead of a black and white rule, she should have not been arrested.
    She had control of the vehicle. She had no business being in the vehicle in that condition according to the letter of the law, she was a menace to herself and others and if she did not know this then she most certainly does now. But this DOES illustrate the difficulties of punishment as a deterrent.
    How is she a menace to others? You forget why the police were called in the first place because she wouldn't drive her car out of the driveway like her boyfriend wanted her to.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    I think the mental health of prisoners - a great many of whom are there because of mental health problems - will not be enhanced by sleeping on hard floors, deprived of all stimulation except discomfit, pain, the interactions of other prisoners and brutal enforcement of rigid discipline. Upon release the mentally ill - both those for whom it's made worse and those the experience induced - will probably be less capable of rational choices. Making prisons harsher won't make their behavioral choices more rational and there's a strong likelihood their behavior will be less rational.

    I think we can take as given that, despite some access to tv's, clean beds or reading materials - they are very unpleasant places to be and very few individuals, having experienced them, ever want to go back. The idea that they are like motels and the experience like a holiday has very little basis in reality, even for most of the lowest security prisons.

    In our thoughts about crime and punishment is at least some element of how it makes us feel colours our views of what is appropriate. The urge to see people we believe are bad - and therefore deserve it - getting treated badly in turn is real but it tells us nothing about what works and doesn't work to reduce criminal behaviour. How it makes us feel when we imagine that people who deserve it are having a holiday in a motel-like environment definitely should not be the basis of decisions about punishment. Trusting the judgement of those who urge us to believe that is the case - who are almost certainly fishing for emotional responses rather than seeking to inform - would be unwise.

    Rather than rely on emotional responses, a genuine desire to reduce recidivism and encourage law abiding behaviour requires science based enquiry based on good information about the psychology of individual offenders and what motivates actual changes in behaviour.
    There are many mentally ill individuals in the prison system that should not be there but our state is too cheap to provide any for them. Many prisoners have died due to not getting medical care or are physically abused by staff. I don't have a problem with having laws with due punishment given but I do have a problem when the enforcement of those laws are not subject to the same punishment as everyone else in society.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by stephanie aull johnson View Post
    Now i am NOT saying we need to be inhumane..........................I agree that the prisoner should be made to help their community. Work hard all day long rain or shine. There should be plenty of work lined up to do indoors and outdoors.
    And if the prisoners refuse to work, what then?
    Then the "humane" bit goes out the window, usually.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stephanie aull johnson View Post
    Prison should be something EVERYONE avoids.
    By GOD! You are RIGHT! Something MUST be done about these VAST LINES of PEOPLE WAITING IMPATIENTLY for the CHANCE to GO to PRISON!

    Maybe we should set up some sort of lottery system, they seem popular. Or build more jails, that seems to be working well so far. Have PRISONERS build and STAFF the freaking things, yeah!
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    The purpose of prison is to give pleasure to the sadists who get horny from observing the stronger mistreat the weaker. Prison is not meant to make an inmate a "better" person. Prison guards/wardens love to see the alpha inmate torture, mutilate and kill lower-ranking inmates. There is no such thing as "protective custody" because guards often intentionally leave the doors to p.c. open to allow these vulnerable inmates to be abused by the general population.

    It's bad enough in adult prisons. In juvenile detention centers, it is much worse with 17-year-olds bullying and abusing 10-year-olds.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Xenon View Post
    The purpose of prison is to give pleasure to the sadists who get horny from observing the stronger mistreat the weaker. Prison is not meant to make an inmate a "better" person. Prison guards/wardens love to see the alpha inmate torture, mutilate and kill lower-ranking inmates. There is no such thing as "protective custody" because guards often intentionally leave the doors to p.c. open to allow these vulnerable inmates to be abused by the general population.

    It's bad enough in adult prisons. In juvenile detention centers, it is much worse with 17-year-olds bullying and abusing 10-year-olds.
    Complete and utter BS.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    I think the mental health of prisoners - a great many of whom are there because of mental health problems - will not be enhanced by sleeping on hard floors, deprived of all stimulation except discomfit, pain, the interactions of other prisoners and brutal enforcement of rigid discipline. Upon release the mentally ill - both those for whom it's made worse and those the experience induced - will probably be less capable of rational choices. Making prisons harsher won't make their behavioral choices more rational and there's a strong likelihood their behavior will be less rational.
    Honestly, we've got to quit looking at prison as a place to save lost citizens and convert them into good citizens. The ones with mental health problems should be in an asylum. As for the rest...... what makes us think we can change them???? Any relationship counselor will tell you that you should get into a relationship with someone hoping they will change. Change is possible, but not probable. Expecting someone to stay the same is the winning bet most of the time.

    However, if we do want reform, the more rigid the structure and rules are, the better it will train them to live in the outside world. If we make them work all day, they won't feel squeamish about applying for a job after they get out. If we force them to follow a tight schedule exactly to the letter, and punish them every time they commit even the smallest infractions, we're basically doing what the military would have done to them if they joined the military, or what a football coach might do for them.

    What we're doing wrong right now is giving them the freedom to lounge around and get bored. The unregulated prisoners then brutalize each other, forcing the less brutal ones to get meaner so they can survive, and ultimately making hard criminals out of people who had only been light criminals before. We have to understand that, on the inside, there will be rules no matter what we do. If we're not the ones setting those rules, then the criminals themselves will be setting them for each other, and their rule sets are really bad rule sets. It's very dangerous to leave a vacuum in a place where you know a bunch of criminals are dying to fill it.





    In our thoughts about crime and punishment is at least some element of how it makes us feel colours our views of what is appropriate. The urge to see people we believe are bad - and therefore deserve it - getting treated badly in turn is real but it tells us nothing about what works and doesn't work to reduce criminal behaviour. How it makes us feel when we imagine that people who deserve it are having a holiday in a motel-like environment definitely should not be the basis of decisions about punishment. Trusting the judgement of those who urge us to believe that is the case - who are almost certainly fishing for emotional responses rather than seeking to inform - would be unwise.

    Rather than rely on emotional responses, a genuine desire to reduce recidivism and encourage law abiding behaviour requires science based enquiry based on good information about the psychology of individual offenders and what motivates actual changes in behaviour.
    Remember, though, that the prison's primary role is as a deterrent, not a correctional facility. We're more concerned with striking fear into would-be offenders so they never commit a crime in the first place (and never come up on our radar), and less concerned with correcting the behavior of those who've already demonstrated that the deterrent isn't scary enough for them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Green Xenon View Post
    The purpose of prison is to give pleasure to the sadists who get horny from observing the stronger mistreat the weaker. Prison is not meant to make an inmate a "better" person. Prison guards/wardens love to see the alpha inmate torture, mutilate and kill lower-ranking inmates. There is no such thing as "protective custody" because guards often intentionally leave the doors to p.c. open to allow these vulnerable inmates to be abused by the general population.

    It's bad enough in adult prisons. In juvenile detention centers, it is much worse with 17-year-olds bullying and abusing 10-year-olds.
    Maybe you should just go ahead and say what you went through.

    Clearly not enough effort has gone into preventing this stuff from happening inside. I think prison guards perceive that it's easier to manage the prisoners if you let them pick on each other, because that way they're not thinking of ways to kill prison guards, but letting them abuse each other just serves to reinforce the kind of thinking that made them criminals to begin with.

    I agree that it needs to be stopped. Prisoners should not have free time. If we give them free time, they'll occupy themselves finding ways to commit acts of sadism against each other. They should have to work every hour of the day, except a few hours they need to rest. If they refuse to work, then they should go straight into solitary, and stay there until they change their mind, however long that is, or until their prison term ends, whichever comes first.
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    What kind of jobs could they do that does not involve using tools that could be used as weapons?
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    In reality, I wouldn't assign them any useful work. If it were up to me, they'd be carrying heavy stones across the courtyard of the prison. Once all the stones made it to one side, they'd turn around and carry them back to the other side - for as long as they were there.

    Perhaps it could be a punishment reserved for misbehaved criminals, like the ones who go around threatening other inmates. (Just threatening would be sufficient cause to impose it.) Basically, they spend every waking moment either working, eating, or in solitary confinement until a long enough time has passed that the warden feels like taking a risk on putting them back in with the general public. If they decide not to work, then just solitary (every day they can choose - stay in the solitary cell or go out and work). The best system would be one where there were varying degrees of hard labor, and each misbehavior moved the inmate into a worse job.

    But.... under no circumstances should the work be useful. Wouldn't want anyone to think the state is profiting off of them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    In reality, I wouldn't assign them any useful work. If it were up to me, they'd be carrying heavy stones across the courtyard of the prison. Once all the stones made it to one side, they'd turn around and carry them back to the other side - for as long as they were there.

    Perhaps it could be a punishment reserved for misbehaved criminals, like the ones who go around threatening other inmates. (Just threatening would be sufficient cause to impose it.) Basically, they spend every waking moment either working, eating, or in solitary confinement until a long enough time has passed that the warden feels like taking a risk on putting them back in with the general public. If they decide not to work, then just solitary (every day they can choose - stay in the solitary cell or go out and work). The best system would be one where there were varying degrees of hard labor, and each misbehavior moved the inmate into a worse job.

    But.... under no circumstances should the work be useful. Wouldn't want anyone to think the state is profiting off of them.
    Why shouldn't the State not profit off of their work? It certainly would reduce the tax payors burden that goes to them already.
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    This post explains our systems very well for habitual offenders those who have spent more time in the system than not have a disregard for society and its social controls. They will not stop re-offending to avoid incarceration because it is a society and culture that they are familiar and comfortable with there fore deterrence from it has no effect on them. Habitual offenders may be better off in the prison system or in monitored housing to prevent them from offending. For those that have a sense of social morals and family ties and relationship incarceration is a deterrent although some individuals may lack the social skills to live with in and accept social controls and there fore will always have a high risk of being involved with the justice system in some way through out their lives. Fore those who do live comfortably with in our societal norms they still commit crimes but the shame and humility of exposure and losing a predominant position could possibly have a greater impact then incarceration. In those cases incarceration would also be deterrent because it is a culture they are very unfamiliar with and would most likely be uncomfortable with.
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