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Thread: Criminality

  1. #1 Criminality 
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    We are products of our knowledge and circumstance, so are criminals victims ?
    Would we all behave the same given exactly the same stimulus ?
    Is society the issue or just the act ?


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    It seems to me that prison is only a punishment for the privileged and is in fact a better way of life for many.


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  4. #3 Re: Criminality 
    Lyn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken
    We are products of our knowledge and circumstance, so are criminals victims ?
    If one is willing to grant that criminals can't help who they are because they are "products of our knowledge and circumstance," then by the same logic one must also grant that we can't help but treat criminals as criminals because we are also products of our knowledge and circumstance.

    (To clarify: I don't doubt that the criminal actions of some people were partly determined by circumstances of birth, upbringing, etc. that were beyond their control. That much is indisputable. What I do doubt is that a blanket theory can be made to apply to the entire class of peoples known as "criminals.")
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    How about the possibility of altering 'criminals' neuro chemicals to levels more consistent with 'non-criminals' (assuming we know precisely which chemicals in what quantities are responsible for whatever criminal behaviour). Is this option any more appealing than prison, or would it be considered infringing upon their freedom too much?
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  6. #5  
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    even if what you say is true, the threat of punishment might be one of the circumstances that pushes some people to a peaceful prosperous life. Also, even if these people are a product of their lives we still have to keep them away from society in order to protect those who don't commit crimes.

    Remember we live in a society were free will is the mainstream idea. thousands of years of duality don't just vanish.
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  7. #6 Re: Criminality 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyn
    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken
    We are products of our knowledge and circumstance, so are criminals victims ?
    If one is willing to grant that criminals can't help who they are because they are "products of our knowledge and circumstance," then by the same logic one must also grant that we can't help but treat criminals as criminals because we are also products of our knowledge and circumstance.

    (To clarify: I don't doubt that the criminal actions of some people were partly determined by circumstances of birth, upbringing, etc. that were beyond their control. That much is indisputable. What I do doubt is that a blanket theory can be made to apply to the entire class of peoples known as "criminals.")
    In most cases it's true though, we're all mostly influenced by "circumstances of birth, upbringing, etc. that were beyond their control."

    From the most imprisoned nation on earth, "land of the free," it's clear that therapy and treatment would be far suitable, appropriate and effective than prison.
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  8. #7 Re: Criminality 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    In most cases it's true though, we're all mostly influenced by "circumstances of birth, upbringing, etc. that were beyond their control."
    Sure... again, I don't doubt the influence. It's the "mostly" that makes this a thorny issue. For each person, that "mostly" is going to be different, and so making a blanket theory that covers something as abstract as "criminal behavior" rather than discussing case-by-case instances seems pretty fruitless to me.
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  9. #8 Re: Criminality 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyn
    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken
    We are products of our knowledge and circumstance, so are criminals victims ?
    If one is willing to grant that criminals can't help who they are because they are "products of our knowledge and circumstance," then by the same logic one must also grant that we can't help but treat criminals as criminals because we are also products of our knowledge and circumstance.

    (To clarify: I don't doubt that the criminal actions of some people were partly determined by circumstances of birth, upbringing, etc. that were beyond their control. That much is indisputable. What I do doubt is that a blanket theory can be made to apply to the entire class of peoples known as "criminals.")
    We all have a lot to learn.
    Treating a criminal as a criminal should not entail offering someone a better/easier way of life as "punishment".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prometheus
    How about the possibility of altering 'criminals' neuro chemicals to levels more consistent with 'non-criminals' (assuming we know precisely which chemicals in what quantities are responsible for whatever criminal behaviour). Is this option any more appealing than prison, or would it be considered infringing upon their freedom too much?
    Altering chemical composition does not erase memories or change the fact that prison is better/easier/healthier than struggling on minimum wage with learning disabilities brought about by an abusive upbringing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 15uliane
    even if what you say is true, the threat of punishment might be one of the circumstances that pushes some people to a peaceful prosperous life. Also, even if these people are a product of their lives we still have to keep them away from society in order to protect those who don't commit crimes.

    Remember we live in a society were free will is the mainstream idea. thousands of years of duality don't just vanish.
    A change in circumstance and education will change anyone.
    Punishment does not work it adds resentment to the criminals list of disgruntlements. Prison is not punishment to the majority of the criminals, it is a step up from the life that made them criminals.

    Thousands of years of cultural knowledge has been erased by the victors of war duality can be educated out.
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  12. #11 Re: Criminality 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyn
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    In most cases it's true though, we're all mostly influenced by "circumstances of birth, upbringing, etc. that were beyond their control."
    Sure... again, I don't doubt the influence. It's the "mostly" that makes this a thorny issue. For each person, that "mostly" is going to be different, and so making a blanket theory that covers something as abstract as "criminal behavior" rather than discussing case-by-case instances seems pretty fruitless to me.
    It comes down to "what is a criminal?".
    A human being in difficulties, not some mythical beast that should be flailed .
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    A society that encourages greed by jealousy and shows power through force and violence is more of the cause of much criminality than an individuals physical composition.
    Fashion and the beauty industry showing everyone how ugly they are and will be through ageing is not good either. It does not help those who are insecure. It promotes vulnerability and drives people to try to be something they are not.

    If we judge success by material wealth and beauty, we find 10% successful people and 90% feeling worthless to a lesser or greater degree.

    Where is the compassion ?
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken
    A society that encourages greed by jealousy and shows power through force and violence is more of the cause of much criminality than an individuals physical composition.
    How did you arrive at the boldfaced part? Do you have a way of measuring it? It sounds like the kind of thing that only be asserted.

    It seems to me that a false dichotomy is being constructed between societal circumstances and "physical composition" (as you put it). Surely both play a role, and surely the degree to which each plays a role is different from person to person? Is it really realistic to expect that we can formulate a general theory explaining criminal behavior without looking at specific instances?
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  15. #14 Re: Criminality 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken
    We are products of our knowledge and circumstance, so are criminals victims ?
    No. Knowledge precludes the claim of criminals being victims. Unless suffering from a mental illness the criminal knows the difference between right & wrong. Victims remain at the scene, criminals for the most part, don't.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyn
    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken
    A society that encourages greed by jealousy and shows power through force and violence is more of the cause of much criminality than an individuals physical composition.
    How did you arrive at the boldfaced part? Do you have a way of measuring it? It sounds like the kind of thing that only be asserted.

    It seems to me that a false dichotomy is being constructed between societal circumstances and "physical composition" (as you put it). Surely both play a role, and surely the degree to which each plays a role is different from person to person? Is it really realistic to expect that we can formulate a general theory explaining criminal behavior without looking at specific instances?
    Logic and the reactions of potential differences.
    E=MC^2 says matter is energy, potential differences create energy flow, energy flow is information transfer - a balancing of opinion.
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  17. #16 Re: Criminality 
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken
    We are products of our knowledge and circumstance, so are criminals victims ?
    No. Knowledge precludes the claim of criminals being victims. Unless suffering from a mental illness the criminal knows the difference between right & wrong. Victims remain at the scene, criminals for the most part, don't.
    So nothing motivates more than knowledge ?
    Knowing right from wrong is fairly irrelevant if you feel wronged to a greater degree than the wrong you feel you need to commit to address the balance.
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  18. #17  
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    Good and bad , right and wrong are independent to circumstance/perspective.
    To understand someones perspective "walk a mile in their shoes".
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    To have positive and negative nothing must exist, if nothing exists it is a thing and therefore not nothing.
    By recalibrating scales we are no longer tied to negativity, we are instead governed by potential difference.
    It's all about scale.

    Nothing or 0 is the point of perspective/point of reference not in-existence.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken
    E=MC^2 says matter is energy, potential differences create energy flow, energy flow is information transfer - a balancing of opinion.
    A real-life example is long overdue. Please explain how the above gibberish can be applied to the case of, say, Bernie Madoff or Phillip Garrido.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyn
    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken
    E=MC^2 says matter is energy, potential differences create energy flow, energy flow is information transfer - a balancing of opinion.
    A real-life example is long overdue. Please explain how the above gibberish can be applied to the case of, say, Bernie Madoff or Phillip Garrido.
    I do not know these people.

    We are driven by potential difference. A poor man that sees riches realises he is poor and tries to do something about it. The larger the potential difference the greater the reaction.

    After trying all legal and socially acceptable actions and finding that riches will never be yours by those means leaves one with what option ?
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  22. #21  
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    It's unfortunate how typical this is of so much philosophy. When pressed to analyze real-life examples, you just retreat further into abstractions, where it's safe because no one can test your theory. Some philosophers happily admit that their domain is not the real world of human affairs, and that's fine. But when a theory comes along that purports to explain a very real phenomenon, as yours does, you have to expect that people are going to ask you to back it up with some analysis of data. If you can't, then your bluff has been called.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken
    To have positive and negative nothing must exist, if nothing exists it is a thing and therefore not nothing.
    By recalibrating scales we are no longer tied to negativity, we are instead governed by potential difference.
    It's all about scale.

    Nothing or 0 is the point of perspective/point of reference not in-existence.
    It is good to read an intellectual post in the philosophy sub forum.
    I was fed up, earlier on today in the mess, having to listen to a thirty minute argument over the merits of HP sauce. I really do need a higher standard of debate although, I should add, I prefer tomato ketchup!
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyn
    It's unfortunate how typical this is of so much philosophy. When pressed to analyze real-life examples, you just retreat further into abstractions, where it's safe because no one can test your theory. Some philosophers happily admit that their domain is not the real world of human affairs, and that's fine. But when a theory comes along that purports to explain a very real phenomenon, as yours does, you have to expect that people are going to ask you to back it up with some analysis of data. If you can't, then your bluff has been called.
    I have life experience, I am not a criminologist but I have known some criminals really quite well.
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  25. #24 Re: Criminality 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken
    We are products of our knowledge and circumstance, so are criminals victims ?
    No. Knowledge precludes the claim of criminals being victims. Unless suffering from a mental illness the criminal knows the difference between right & wrong. Victims remain at the scene, criminals for the most part, don't.
    So nothing motivates more than knowledge ?
    Knowing right from wrong is fairly irrelevant if you feel wronged to a greater degree than the wrong you feel you need to commit to address the balance.
    Are you saying most criminals don't know they're committing a crime?
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  26. #25 Re: Criminality 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    From the most imprisoned nation on earth, "land of the free," it's clear that therapy and treatment would be far suitable, appropriate and effective than prison.
    In the land of the free, people are not free to commit crimes. How do you convince a criminal to go to therapy and treatment, and what evidence do you have that it would be more effective than prison?
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  27. #26 Re: Criminality 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    How do you convince a criminal to go to therapy and treatment,
    Combination of carrot and stick tends to be pretty reliable.


    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    and what evidence do you have that it would be more effective than prison?
    Basic research into the human mind has demonstrated for decades that punishment is less effective that rehabilitation. Punishment teaches people how to avoid getting caught. Rehab teaches people how to behave in the manner expected.

    It's a philosophical difference, really. Some people want little more than retribution. Others genuinely want to improve society and the people living within it. I suspect you're in the retaliation / retribution camp?
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  28. #27 Re: Criminality 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    How do you convince a criminal to go to therapy and treatment, and what evidence do you have that it would be more effective than prison?
    First off even calling him a criminal taints the question. But for some things the US criminalize, like drug use, there's strong evidence from programs in other nations. Portugal for example, has nearly decriminalized all drug us and replaced it with an option to attend mandatory rehabilitation--their program is a resounding success by nearly every measure such as drug use, drug related crime, cost to the government etc.
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  29. #28 Re: Criminality 
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken
    We are products of our knowledge and circumstance, so are criminals victims ?
    No. Knowledge precludes the claim of criminals being victims. Unless suffering from a mental illness the criminal knows the difference between right & wrong. Victims remain at the scene, criminals for the most part, don't.
    So nothing motivates more than knowledge ?
    Knowing right from wrong is fairly irrelevant if you feel wronged to a greater degree than the wrong you feel you need to commit to address the balance.
    Are you saying most criminals don't know they're committing a crime?
    Not at all but there is a principle of the greater good, - x - = +. Perspective dictates good and bad for that perspective. What is good for 1 is bad for another.

    Many people put themselves in a position that is bad for them but good for others, like doctors working too many hours, or rescuers going into dangerous environments, but this is heroics.

    Many crimes have similar motives they consider their actions although bad to be to the benefit of others/themselves.
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  30. #29 Re: Criminality 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    From the most imprisoned nation on earth, "land of the free," it's clear that therapy and treatment would be far suitable, appropriate and effective than prison.
    In the land of the free, people are not free to commit crimes. How do you convince a criminal to go to therapy and treatment, and what evidence do you have that it would be more effective than prison?
    Better education would be where I would start. More attention for those that need it rather than 50 or so kids having to learn at exactly the same pace.
    An overly intelligent child is often removed from class to sit in detention because they get bored, of all the people to choose to make criminals of....
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  31. #30 Re: Criminality 
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    How do you convince a criminal to go to therapy and treatment,
    Combination of carrot and stick tends to be pretty reliable.


    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    and what evidence do you have that it would be more effective than prison?
    Basic research into the human mind has demonstrated for decades that punishment is less effective that rehabilitation. Punishment teaches people how to avoid getting caught. Rehab teaches people how to behave in the manner expected.

    It's a philosophical difference, really. Some people want little more than retribution. Others genuinely want to improve society and the people living within it. I suspect you're in the retaliation / retribution camp?
    No I am in the improvement camp

    One must consider the cost of keeping a prisoner and then consider, would that person have become a criminal if they were earning even half that prior to becoming a criminal.
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  32. #31  
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    Good and bad exist either side of the lines...... but we can move the lines.
    Calibration/change of perspective.
    Using a different reference point or ground.


    I believe these things relate :
    http://www.thescienceforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=31109
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  33. #32  
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    keep in mind that prisons do not just exist to punish the criminal:

    1. punishment
    2. deterrence
    3. preventing future harm to others
    4. vengeance

    not all of these apply to every crime / criminal.
    Lets factor these in with the above mentioned:

    if the act of committing a crime is predetermined then punishment would not be fitting as the subject did not act out of free will (lets not get started on free will just yet).

    Deterrence would be irrelevant considering the person would act out of an urge that is more primal then the fear for punishment.

    Since we have a precedent on our subject and we know that the person has committed a crime, lockup would prevent the subject from repeating criminal behavior.

    vengeance does not relate to the will of the subject to act, our sense of justice demands some form of retort for the act that impacted the rights of the victim (be those legal or otherwise)
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  34. #33  
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    This is useful:


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison#History
    For most of history, imprisoning has not been a punishment in itself, but rather a way to confine criminals until corporal or capital punishment was administered. There were prisons used for detention in Jerusalem in Old Testament times, and the Bible details the imprisonment of Joseph in Egypt.[2] Dungeons were used to hold prisoners; those who were not killed or left to die there often became galley slaves or faced penal transportations. In other cases debtors were often thrown into debtor's prisons, until they paid their jailers enough money in exchange for a limited degree of freedom.

    Only in the 19th century, beginning in Britain, did prisons as known today become commonplace. The modern prisons system was born in London, as a result of the views of Jeremy Bentham. The notion of prisoners being incarcerated as part of their punishment and not simply as a holding state until trial or hanging, was at the time revolutionary. This is when prisons had begun to be used as criminal rehabilitation centers.


    And more on the philosophy here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rehabil...%28penology%29
    The assumption of rehabilitation is that people are not permanently criminal and that it is possible to restore a criminal to a useful life, to a life in which they contribute to themselves and to society. A goal of rehabilitation is to prevent habitual offending, also known as criminal recidivism. Rather than punishing the harm out of a criminal, rehabilitation would seek, by means of education or therapy, to bring a criminal into a more normal state of mind, or into an attitude which would be helpful to society, rather than be harmful to society.

    This theory of punishment is based on the notion that punishment is to be inflicted on an offender so as to reform him/her, or rehabilitate them so as to make their re-integration into society easier. Punishments that are in accordance with this theory are community service, probation orders, and any form of punishment which entails any form of guidance and aftercare towards the offender.

    This theory is founded on the belief that one cannot inflict a severe punishment of imprisonment and expect the offender to be reformed and to be able to re-integrate into society upon his/her release. Indeed, the United States Code states that sentencing judges shall make imprisonment decisions "recognizing that imprisonment is not an appropriate means of promoting correction and rehabilitation". Although the importance of inflicting punishment on those persons who breach the law, so as to maintain social order, is retained, the importance of rehabilitation is also given priority.
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  35. #34  
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    The program/information society/circumstance gives us/we retain is us.
    Open ended issues when considered with brain plasticity are open ended electrodes that create noise attracting our attention to those issues.
    Knowledge can change anyone.
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  36. #35  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken
    The program/information society/circumstance gives us/we retain is us.
    Open ended issues when considered with brain plasticity are open ended electrodes that create noise attracting our attention to those issues.
    Knowledge can change anyone.
    Change is not always in the right direction or with desired results. Still I am also in the rehabilitate camp, yet one can not ignore the effect it has on the victim or their relatives. Change may be an option and even a violable one at that, it could be impossible to consider if the crime committed does not warrant the possibility for rehabilitation or alternative method of punishment (community service etc).

    Which brings to mind a different issue altogether, should we be listening to the victim when we are punishing the criminal, or are we then inadvertently empowering the victim to judge the criminal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teb
    Still I am also in the rehabilitate camp, yet one can not ignore the effect it has on the victim or their relatives.
    Of course but punishment does nothing to help the victim of the crime, unless the victim is also immoral.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    Quote Originally Posted by Teb
    Still I am also in the rehabilitate camp, yet one can not ignore the effect it has on the victim or their relatives.
    Of course but punishment does nothing to help the victim of the crime, unless the victim is also immoral.
    The lessons we learn best from unfortunately are negative experiences as they are flagged in our minds as warnings.

    To make a negative positive you need to multiply it by a negative, there is no other way that I know of.

    If math does not apply to psychology we are not machines.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    Quote Originally Posted by Teb
    Still I am also in the rehabilitate camp, yet one can not ignore the effect it has on the victim or their relatives.
    Of course but punishment does nothing to help the victim of the crime, unless the victim is also immoral.
    The lessons we learn best from unfortunately are negative experiences as they are flagged in our minds as warnings.

    To make a negative positive you need to multiply it by a negative, there is no other way that I know of.

    If math does not apply to psychology we are not machines.
    Your statement has nothing to do with the victim who doesn't need yet one more "negative experience."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    Quote Originally Posted by Teb
    Still I am also in the rehabilitate camp, yet one can not ignore the effect it has on the victim or their relatives.
    Of course but punishment does nothing to help the victim of the crime, unless the victim is also immoral.
    The lessons we learn best from unfortunately are negative experiences as they are flagged in our minds as warnings.

    To make a negative positive you need to multiply it by a negative, there is no other way that I know of.

    If math does not apply to psychology we are not machines.
    Your statement has nothing to do with the victim who doesn't need yet one more "negative experience."
    Seeing a negative inflicted on the perpetrator often relieves the desire for vengeance.

    That's 2 negatives and a positive outcome.

    As previously stated positive and negative is directly relative to perspective/point of reference/subjective.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    Quote Originally Posted by Teb
    Still I am also in the rehabilitate camp, yet one can not ignore the effect it has on the victim or their relatives.
    Of course but punishment does nothing to help the victim of the crime, unless the victim is also immoral.
    Immorality has less to do with it then a feeling of injustice. Since most victims are no philosophers nor lawyers, when confronted with a perpetrator that would be granted the possibility of a community service instead of imprisonment.

    The victim might not be "helped" with the punishment of the criminal, yet is "hurt" with the absence of a proportional (subjective) punishment.

    Try explaining to a rape victim why the punishment of the criminal consists of 2 years community service and 3 years probation.

    Yet this is exactly what i hint at, in order for a system to work society and its mentality must change, like it did and will continue to do. The question remains do we initiate the change by pointing out that the victim should restrain from an emotional standpoint on punishment for instance, or do we wait until said change takes place.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teb
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    Quote Originally Posted by Teb
    Still I am also in the rehabilitate camp, yet one can not ignore the effect it has on the victim or their relatives.
    Of course but punishment does nothing to help the victim of the crime, unless the victim is also immoral.
    Immorality has less to do with it then a feeling of injustice. Since most victims are no philosophers nor lawyers, when confronted with a perpetrator that would be granted the possibility of a community service instead of imprisonment.

    The victim might not be "helped" with the punishment of the criminal, yet is "hurt" with the absence of a proportional (subjective) punishment.

    Try explaining to a rape victim why the punishment of the criminal consists of 2 years community service and 3 years probation.

    Yet this is exactly what i hint at, in order for a system to work society and its mentality must change, like it did and will continue to do. The question remains do we initiate the change by pointing out that the victim should restrain from an emotional standpoint on punishment for instance, or do we wait until said change takes place.
    The punishment can help the perpetrator, break them down in order to build them up successfully.

    The guilty need to accept responsibility, without responsibility they will not change.

    Ask anyone who has been rehabilitated successfully.
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    [quote="Teb"]The victim might not be "helped" with the punishment of the criminal, yet is "hurt" with the absence of a proportional (subjective) punishment./quote]
    They are not "hurt" at all. If they are it's out of not be satisfied from an immoral sense of vengeance--the kind that stems from a bankrupt moral system that calls for an "eye for an eye." As a society, our objective is to use the best tools to preclude another rape and are proportional to the offense and protect the victim. For the most part forced rehab seems to be the best tool for most crimes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken
    The punishment can help the perpetrator, break them down in order to build them up successfully.
    But punishment alone won't do this. The focus needs to remain on the rehabilitation throughout, not the punishment (which is the context of your comments).
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    Rehab is the punishment or at least from the perspective of those going through it.

    The trouble with prison the way it is at present is that it offers an easier lifestyle than that which the rehabilitated criminal is likely to be able to achieve upon release hence re offending.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teb
    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken
    The program/information society/circumstance gives us/we retain is us.
    Open ended issues when considered with brain plasticity are open ended electrodes that create noise attracting our attention to those issues.
    Knowledge can change anyone.
    Change is not always in the right direction or with desired results. Still I am also in the rehabilitate camp, yet one can not ignore the effect it has on the victim or their relatives. Change may be an option and even a violable one at that, it could be impossible to consider if the crime committed does not warrant the possibility for rehabilitation or alternative method of punishment (community service etc).

    Which brings to mind a different issue altogether, should we be listening to the victim when we are punishing the criminal, or are we then inadvertently empowering the victim to judge the criminal.
    The victim should be justified, have the imbalances addressed, just as much as the criminal needs rehab so does the victim.
    Judgement should always come from an abstract perspective not from those who can directly relate.
    Having said that the victim and the criminals perspective need to be understood to make the right decisions on how to move them forward. Every case should be treated individually as people have different motives/perspective, length of sentence should be not related to the offence but instead by the amount of time it takes to rehabilitate.
    A fixed sentence puts pressure on the rehabilitators not the criminal, and gives the criminal an idea of how long he has to hold his guard up so he doesn't change.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    For the most part forced rehab seems to be the best tool for most crimes.
    That's just ridiculous. Criminals will laugh at your "forced rehab."

    Mankind has yet to devise a system of law that does not involve punishment. Without punishment it is not a law at all, but merely a suggestion.

    There is a reason why it is called a "penal code."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    For the most part forced rehab seems to be the best tool for most crimes.
    That's just ridiculous. Criminals will laugh at your "forced rehab."

    Mankind has yet to devise a system of law that does not involve punishment. Without punishment it is not a law at all, but merely a suggestion.

    There is a reason why it is called a "penal code."
    The penalty is being removed from society and re-educated until the criminal is rehabilitated.
    With no time limit on the sentence the criminal will not be laughing so hard, unless all they want is to be institutionalised and remain "inside".
    With rehabilitators being target driven rather than the criminals having a date/target to aim for the effect should be quite efficient.
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    Criminals should never learn what the criteria is for release.
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    Back to the main topic or rather its core:

    Consider a 15 year old child committing a capital crime, the main focus would be rehabilitation, the age being an obvious factor that the subject should not be held accountable for his / her actions to the full degree.

    Now consider a 35 year old committing a crime, whilst under the influence of a mental illness or disfunction (which for the sake of argument is directly related to his / her actions).
    This person should not be held accountable for his / her actions as well, considering the absence of free will. two problems arise:

    1. How do we determine free will i.e. isn't all crime committed in absence of free will (the TS first question).
    2. When rehabilitation fails, or as in many cases is impossible, the coarse of action changes from rehabilitation to exclusion from society. We then return to the first post of the TS, is this "punishment" in line with the ideal that one does not deserve to be punished for actions not committed out of free will ?

    certainly like said before all measures have several purposes yet, the fact of the matter remains that it is a punishment for said actions without taking heed of the free will behind it. It is a necessary evil and we could agree that it is necessary to safeguard future safety in regards to crime.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken
    The penalty is being removed from society and re-educated until the criminal is rehabilitated.
    With no time limit on the sentence the criminal will not be laughing so hard, unless all they want is to be institutionalised and remain "inside".
    With rehabilitators being target driven rather than the criminals having a date/target to aim for the effect should be quite efficient.
    An open ended sentence? Ridiculous, and probably unconstitutional.
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    [quote=An open ended sentence? Ridiculous, and probably unconstitutional.[/quote]

    Not so far from the truth really, here in Holland we have the same system in place. It works most of the time:

    If a criminal with a mental illness or defect is sentenced for a certain period of TBS (ter beschikking stelling = enabling rehabilitation) it is either for a set period of time ,if the psychological report concludes a possibility for rehabilitation, if this is not the case it could be indefinite (there will be ongoing evaluations to see if the situation changes). Then there is a long stay department which is basically when there's no outlook for rehabilitation.
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    [quote=Teb]
    Quote Originally Posted by An open ended sentence? Ridiculous, and probably unconstitutional.[/quote

    Not so far from the truth really, here in Holland we have the same system in place. It works most of the time:

    If a criminal with a mental illness or defect is sentenced for a certain period of TBS (ter beschikking stelling = enabling rehabilitation) it is either for a set period of time ,if the psychological report concludes a possibility for rehabilitation, if this is not the case it could be indefinite (there will be ongoing evaluations to see if the situation changes). Then there is a long stay department which is basically when there's no outlook for rehabilitation.
    Mental illness is a different story, and it's a separate issue from crime. If somebody is dangerously insane, they can be committed to an institution for as long as it takes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Mental illness is a different story, and it's a separate issue from crime.
    What makes you so sure? How are you defining those terms?
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Mental illness is a different story, and it's a separate issue from crime.
    What makes you so sure? How are you defining those terms?
    There is a legal definition of insanity. That's what I'm using. If you want to call all criminals insane, then I think you're going down the wrong track.
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    Thanks, but could you please address the questions I asked you now?
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Thanks, but could you please address the questions I asked you now?
    insanity n. 1) mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior.
    That is something different than criminal behavior, wouldn't you agree?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teb
    Back to the main topic or rather its core:

    Consider a 15 year old child committing a capital crime, the main focus would be rehabilitation, the age being an obvious factor that the subject should not be held accountable for his / her actions to the full degree.

    Now consider a 35 year old committing a crime, whilst under the influence of a mental illness or disfunction (which for the sake of argument is directly related to his / her actions).
    This person should not be held accountable for his / her actions as well, considering the absence of free will. two problems arise:

    1. How do we determine free will i.e. isn't all crime committed in absence of free will (the TS first question).
    2. When rehabilitation fails, or as in many cases is impossible, the coarse of action changes from rehabilitation to exclusion from society. We then return to the first post of the TS, is this "punishment" in line with the ideal that one does not deserve to be punished for actions not committed out of free will ?
    certainly like said before all measures have several purposes yet, the fact of the matter remains that it is a punishment for said actions without taking heed of the free will behind it. It is a necessary evil and we could agree that it is necessary to safeguard future safety in regards to crime.

    1. I agree that potential difference does not always come about by free will.
    2. Rehab is exclusion from society, prolonged by failure.

    Punishment or reward is a matter of perspective . If whilst in rehab one can see that they are being helped, and are in fact in better circumstances than when they were in society, can they truly see it as a punishment ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken
    The penalty is being removed from society and re-educated until the criminal is rehabilitated.
    With no time limit on the sentence the criminal will not be laughing so hard, unless all they want is to be institutionalised and remain "inside".
    With rehabilitators being target driven rather than the criminals having a date/target to aim for the effect should be quite efficient.
    An open ended sentence? Ridiculous, and probably unconstitutional.
    It is just an idea for consideration. Change is unconstitutional but essential.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Thanks, but could you please address the questions I asked you now?
    insanity n. 1) mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior.
    That is something different than criminal behavior, wouldn't you agree?

    I believe they are scale effects, push something it moves apply to much pressure it bursts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Mental illness is a different story, and it's a separate issue from crime.
    What makes you so sure? How are you defining those terms?
    There is a legal definition of insanity. That's what I'm using. If you want to call all criminals insane, then I think you're going down the wrong track.
    It is not really, since a mental illness could go undiscovered until the act is committed. Insanity can be temporary or otherwise:

    Someone suffering from a mental illness, and under the influence of the symptoms of this illness commits a crime, that is insanity as well, just not temporary.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teb
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Mental illness is a different story, and it's a separate issue from crime.
    What makes you so sure? How are you defining those terms?
    There is a legal definition of insanity. That's what I'm using. If you want to call all criminals insane, then I think you're going down the wrong track.
    It is not really, since a mental illness could go undiscovered until the act is committed. Insanity can be temporary or otherwise:

    Someone suffering from a mental illness, and under the influence of the symptoms of this illness commits a crime, that is insanity as well, just not temporary.
    I don't know what the law is like in your country, but in the US it is generally recognized that there are some people who are mentally incompetent and not responsible for their actions. They can plead not guilty by reason of insanity. However, this is rare. The post I commented on said that "rehab seems to be the best tool for most crimes."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Mental illness is a different story, and it's a separate issue from crime.
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    What makes you so sure? How are you defining those terms?
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    There is a legal definition of insanity. That's what I'm using. If you want to call all criminals insane, then I think you're going down the wrong track.
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Thanks, but could you please address the questions I asked you now?
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    insanity n. 1) mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior.
    That is something different than criminal behavior, wouldn't you agree?
    You've moved the goal posts, Harold. While insanity is a form of mental illness, mental illness insanity.

    We were talking about mental illness, so I asked you to define how you are using that term, and also what in your mind constitutes a "criminal." Again, I am seeking to clarify how you are defining the term "mental illness" and the term "criminal."

    I think that is where our communication breakdown happened. I will try reading between the lines and assume certain things given our previous exchanges. Perhaps you can validate or correct my understanding below.


    Is it accurate for me to say that you see insanity as the only relevant mental illness category when crime is involved, that you think actual crimes due to insanity are rare, and this is why you feel rehabilitation tends to be unwarranted and/or ineffective (since actual insanity doesn't too often tend to be the reason for most crimes)?
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    We were talking about mental illness, so I asked you to define how you are using that term, and also what in your mind constitutes a "criminal." Again, I am seeking to clarify how you are defining the term "mental illness" and the term "criminal."
    A criminal is somebody who commits a crime. Mental illness is just the common everyday definition of the word. If you have a point then make it and lets stop the cat and mouse game.
    I think that is where our communication breakdown happened. I will try reading between the lines and assume certain things given our previous exchanges. Perhaps you can validate or correct my understanding below.


    Is it accurate for me to say that you see insanity as the only relevant mental illness category when crime is involved, that you think actual crimes due to insanity are rare, and this is why you feel rehabilitation tends to be unwarranted and/or ineffective (since actual insanity doesn't too often tend to be the reason for most crimes)?
    Yes, I think crimes due to insanity are rare.
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    Mental illness can affect anyone and it does not make a criminal out of all those who suffer from it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    A criminal is somebody who commits a crime.
    So, I presume you are being entirely black and white about this, and all criminals are equal. By your approach, someone who jay-walks is equally a criminal as someone who rapes and murders. Someone who takes a pencil home from the office is equally a criminal as someone who breaks into your home through the window, strangles your wife, and takes all of her jewelry, all of your guns, and everything else of value.

    My point is that you are using a binary set of terms... criminal and not criminal... to describe an entire spectrum of behavior. There are kids who take a pack of bubble gum from the kid sitting beside them on the school bus, and there are hackers who steal the identities of millions of people and drain their bank accounts.

    For this conversation to have any worth, I think it's important to acknowledge that there is not a one size fits all solution, and "punishment" and "lock-up" alone is not what makes society better. Rehabilitation allows us to tailor our approach to each individual, customize the treatment, and maximize the return and improvement to our culture. It's not flawless, but it's better than throwing everyone into cells and hoping they magically get better by the time we let them out.



    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Mental illness is just the common everyday definition of the word. If you have a point then make it and lets stop the cat and mouse game.
    See above. There are various mental issues that lead one to commit crimes, and they are of varying orders of severity. My point is that there is a lot more to the mental world of a person who commits crimes than "they are insane" or "they are not insane." If we ignore the literature, then we ignore our ability to truly address the root causes of the problems and reduce the types of behavior we wish to reduce.



    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Is it accurate for me to say that you see insanity as the only relevant mental illness category when crime is involved, that you think actual crimes due to insanity are rare, and this is why you feel rehabilitation tends to be unwarranted and/or ineffective (since actual insanity doesn't too often tend to be the reason for most crimes)?
    Yes, I think crimes due to insanity are rare.
    Would you also agree that there are other mental illnesses beyond insanity which can lead people to commit crimes, and that we may find value in treating those? Perhaps more value in rehabilitation than just imprisonment or incarceration?
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    Circumstance can make someone commit crime, and circumstance can drive you insane.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    A criminal is somebody who commits a crime.
    So, I presume you are being entirely black and white about this, and all criminals are equal. By your approach, someone who jay-walks is equally a criminal as someone who rapes and murders. Someone who takes a pencil home from the office is equally a criminal as someone who breaks into your home through the window, strangles your wife, and takes all of her jewelry, all of your guns, and everything else of value.
    I believe that jaywalking would be considered a misdemeanor rather than a crime, and I don't think I ever claimed that all crimes are equal. Furthermore, rehabilitation would not be an appropriate remedy for jaywalking, IMO.
    My point is that you are using a binary set of terms... criminal and not criminal... to describe an entire spectrum of behavior. There are kids who take a pack of bubble gum from the kid sitting beside them on the school bus, and there are hackers who steal the identities of millions of people and drain their bank accounts.

    For this conversation to have any worth, I think it's important to acknowledge that there is not a one size fits all solution, and "punishment" and "lock-up" alone is not what makes society better. Rehabilitation allows us to tailor our approach to each individual, customize the treatment, and maximize the return and improvement to our culture. It's not flawless, but it's better than throwing everyone into cells and hoping they magically get better by the time we let them out.
    No magic is involved. It is simply the deterrence effect of the punishment that prevents people from violating the law. This is a time tested principle of law - really the only basis there is for any law.


    Would you also agree that there are other mental illnesses beyond insanity which can lead people to commit crimes, and that we may find value in treating those? Perhaps more value in rehabilitation than just imprisonment or incarceration?
    Yes, but I still dispute the idea that most crimes fall in this category. It seems to be making excuses for plain old bad behavior.
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    Not much mention of the weak/poor being manipulated by society/circumstance and perceived peers into crime.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Furthermore, rehabilitation would not be an appropriate remedy for jaywalking, IMO.
    Why not? In my experience, that would be one of the easiest behaviors to change if that was our intent. Simple training would go a very long way.


    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    It's not flawless, but it's better than throwing everyone into cells and hoping they magically get better by the time we let them out.
    No magic is involved. It is simply the deterrence effect of the punishment that prevents people from violating the law. This is a time tested principle of law - really the only basis there is for any law.
    You've said this before. I disagree. Please share the data you are using to support this assertion. Obviously, since people still commit crimes, the threat of lockup is not as deterent as you are here suggesting. It may deter SOME people, but the over-crowding in our prisons seems to negate your point pretty directly. Further, as I've stated on multiple occasions before, the threat of punishment tends to make people find ways to circumvent getting caught, not so much to avoid the behavior entirely.

    Again, though. I remain open to correction. Please provide your evidence that "the threat of punishment prevents people from violating the law," and preferably without resorting to some sort of comment like "it's obvious" or "that's how law has always worked." I'm looking for some actual data here which supports your point, something peer-reviewed preferably.



    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Would you also agree that there are other mental illnesses beyond insanity which can lead people to commit crimes, and that we may find value in treating those? Perhaps more value in rehabilitation than just imprisonment or incarceration?
    Yes, but I still dispute the idea that most crimes fall in this category. It seems to be making excuses for plain old bad behavior.
    And what if you're wrong? What if a person's mental state is exactly at the center of these behaviors we're seeking to reduce, and we could address that root cause of their mental state via rehabilitation?

    Your refusal to even consider this as an option is limiting your recognition of a broad range of available solutions. It reminds me of the comment, "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Well, Harold... I'll just summarize my point by saying that we have a very robust toolkit at our disposal, and we don't have to hit everything with a hammer all of the time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    No magic is involved. It is simply the deterrence effect of the punishment that prevents people from violating the law. This is a time tested principle of law - really the only basis there is for any law.
    Not really. Deterrence, from harsh punishment has only the very weakest effect on crime rates. This is why it common to see the highest rates of crime in the same places as the harshest penalties. (e.g., death penalty states consistently have higher rates of crime than non-death penalty states) Modern psychology explains much of this. Young people, who's population conduct most crime, simply do not prioritize worst case-consequences into their decision making.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    You've said this before. I disagree. Please share the data you are using to support this assertion. Obviously, since people still commit crimes, the threat of lockup is not as deterent as you are here suggesting. It may deter SOME people, but the over-crowding in our prisons seems to negate your point pretty directly.
    No it doesn't because you have no way of knowing how many crimes would be committed without the threat of punishment.
    Further, as I've stated on multiple occasions before, the threat of punishment tends to make people find ways to circumvent getting caught, not so much to avoid the behavior entirely.

    Again, though. I remain open to correction. Please provide your evidence that "the threat of punishment prevents people from violating the law," and preferably without resorting to some sort of comment like "it's obvious" or "that's how law has always worked." I'm looking for some actual data here which supports your point, something peer-reviewed preferably.
    Perform the following experiment. Drive on the interstate highway at the speed limit and observe the number of cars which pass you per minute. Then record the cars per minute immediately after you pass a police car.
    Your refusal to even consider this as an option is limiting your recognition of a broad range of available solutions. It reminds me of the comment, "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Well, Harold... I'll just summarize my point by saying that we have a very robust toolkit at our disposal, and we don't have to hit everything with a hammer all of the time.
    Show me your evidence that it works better than punishment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_fox
    ]
    Deterrence, from harsh punishment has only the very weakest effect on crime rates. This is why it common to see the highest rates of crime in the same places as the harshest penalties. (e.g., death penalty states consistently have higher rates of crime than non-death penalty states) Modern psychology explains much of this. Young people, who's population conduct most crime, simply do not prioritize worst case-consequences into their decision making.
    In order to prove that you would have to remove the penalties, as otherwise you would have no way of knowing how many crimes were being deterred. Where has that been done? Correlation is not the same as causation. Maybe the death penalty is more politically popular in areas where lots of murders occur and this political popularity is the result of the murder rate, instead of vice versa.

    Are you saying that the crime rate is caused by the number of young people? How is that an argument in favor of counseling versus punishment?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    In order to prove that you would have to remove the penalties, as otherwise you would have no way of knowing how many crimes were being deterred. Where has that been done?
    Looking at readily available capital punishment data, it's happened quite a few times.

    The murder rate in Canada has nearly dropped in half since they removed the death penalty:
    http://canadaonline.about.com/od/cri...tioncappun.htm

    Looking at rates of murder in the US.
    http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/i...nce?id=1101085

    Most criminologist, who presumably know a lot more than either of us, do not think the death penalty has any deterrent effect. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/file...eStudy2009.pdf and concludes that: "Our survey indicated that the vast majority of the world's top criminologist believe that the empirical research has revealed the deterrence hypothesis for a myth. there isn't a shred of evidence that supports the New York Times' assertion that there is "an intense new debate about the one of the central justifications for capital punishment," name deterrence.

    --
    Are you saying that the crime rate is caused by the number of young people? How is that an argument in favor of counseling versus punishment?
    Most crime is caused by young adults; there's no debating that and the size of the the young adult is among the strongest signal in all crime rate date. Economic status closely follows. Young adults psychologically aren't fully developed to make well-reasoned decisions yet and this effects many of their behaviors. A twenty years old faced with a decision will often consider too much information such as respect from his peers, the amount of fun it might be instead of considering the worse possible consequences of an action. This effects many things from wearing a condom, riding a kayak down a high river bank to holding up 7-11. Drugs and alcohol exasperate the poor decision making. Many crimes also aren't related to their root causes. A drug addict who steals money needs help to control his drug problem; a hungry youth who steals food needs job skills to make money; a run-away who sells their body on the street needs a stable home environment etc. Jail time wouldn't address the underlying problem for any of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    You've said this before. I disagree. Please share the data you are using to support this assertion. Obviously, since people still commit crimes, the threat of lockup is not as deterent as you are here suggesting. It may deter SOME people, but the over-crowding in our prisons seems to negate your point pretty directly.
    No it doesn't because you have no way of knowing how many crimes would be committed without the threat of punishment.
    Let's see. I'll recap. You said punishment deters people from committing crimes. I said, no, not really. I said, if it did, our prisons would not be as full as they are. I said that some people might be deterred by the threat of punishment, but that the over crowding in our prison system argues strongly against your point about it being an effective deterrent.

    And, your reply is consequently irrelevant to the point being made. You replied by saying we have no way of knowing how many crimes would occur without the threat of punishment. When viewed objectively, that more strongly argues against your point than the one I've been making.

    Can you please try again? I agree that punishment deters some people. I am challenging the overall impact and effectiveness of this approach since it's plainly obvious that so many people are not deterred by punishment. My argument is supported by the large number of people in prison... the same people who prove your statement that "punishment is a deterrent" is only applicable in an incredibly limited way.



    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Further, as I've stated on multiple occasions before, the threat of punishment tends to make people find ways to circumvent getting caught, not so much to avoid the behavior entirely.

    Again, though. I remain open to correction. Please provide your evidence that "the threat of punishment prevents people from violating the law," and preferably without resorting to some sort of comment like "it's obvious" or "that's how law has always worked." I'm looking for some actual data here which supports your point, something peer-reviewed preferably.
    Perform the following experiment. Drive on the interstate highway at the speed limit and observe the number of cars which pass you per minute. Then record the cars per minute immediately after you pass a police car.
    Well, again. Your reply does more to support my argument than to rebut it. In the situation you described about driving on the highway, what do people do? They speed. They speed, and they try to avoid getting caught. They only avoid speeding when they see a cop. They take other actions to avoid getting caught. They buy radar detectors. They listen to CB radio to figure out where cops are.

    The cops sitting there will only deter most people for a very short duration... like a quarter of a mile. Those same people will go on and start speeding again the moment the cop is no longer visible. If your goal is truly to prevent people from speeding, then this approach clearly fails. Like I said, your point speaks more in favor of what I'm saying (that training and rehabilitation change behaviors more than threat of punishment) than what you are saying (that the thread of punishment is an effective deterrent). Thanks for supporting my argument, even though you didn't realize that's what you were doing with your example.

    Also, I asked for peer-reviewed articles in support of your points. We're still waiting for those to be shared.


    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Your refusal to even consider this as an option is limiting your recognition of a broad range of available solutions. It reminds me of the comment, "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Well, Harold... I'll just summarize my point by saying that we have a very robust toolkit at our disposal, and we don't have to hit everything with a hammer all of the time.
    Show me your evidence that it works better than punishment.
    It's obvious that you know more about engineering than human psychology and behavior, Harold. This effect was clear after work done in the 1960s. It's basic conditioning. It's self-evident to anyone who has spent time with this research on human learning and behavior.

    However, I will try leading by example and will kindly comply with your request for evidence (even though I've shared similar data with you in the past during similar discussions, and it apparently wasn't good enough to change your mind then since we're still having this discussion in another context now):



    http://www.is.wayne.edu/stuarthenry/...Punishment.htm
    There is no question that prison is seen as a severe punishment for most people. The critical question is whether it is an effective punishment for potential offenders. This depends on what motivates potential offenders. The deterrence argument is based on the arguments of economic rational choice theory and the classical assumption that offenders are self-interested, reasoning, rational cost-benefit calculators. However, much of the criminological literature has demonstrated that there are a variety of motivations that shape criminal activity ranging from biological predispositions, psychological personality traits, social learning, cognitive thinking, geographical location and the ecology of place, relative deprivation and the strain of capitalist society, political conflict and social and sub-cultural meaning. The result is that most criminologists reject the arguments of pure rationality contained in Ehrlich and Becker’s utility and wealth maximization theories. Even those like Clarke and Cornish, who favor the rational choice argument, advocate the idea of “limited rationality.” Indeed, as supporters of Murray’s argument are forced to concede: “The economic theory of crime that has developed out of Becker. . .recognizes that different individuals break the law for different reasons, that not all law breakers are rational utility maximizers, and that different offenders will weight the risks of benefits in different ways.” (Saunders and Billante, 2003: 4). So, who are the offenders who are supposedly influenced to reduce their commission of crime by deterrence through the severity of prison as a punishment? To answer this question we need to examine who are prisoners, and what are their crimes.

    <...>

    Research over the past 10 years has consistently demonstrated that the most effective way to reduce offending, and particularly reoffending is through education, particularly literacy training and GED (Steurer, Smith, and Tracy, 2001). An Arizona Department of Adult Probation Study showed that probationers who received literacy training had 35% rearrest rate compared with a control group that had 46% rearrest, and those who received a GED had a rearrest rate of 24% (Siegal, 1997). Less dramatic but equally encouraging results were received from a Florida study of 18,414 inmates released from prison in FY1996-97 followed up after 2 years, which found that “inmates who earn a GED are 8.7% less likely to recidivate than those who do not complete a program. . . Inmates who receive a GED and improve their TABE score to 9th grade level or higher are 25.0% less likely to recidivate than those who receive a GED and have a TABE level of 8th grade or less.” (Florida Department of Corrections, 2003). The Florida study also found that “Academic program impacts are found even among offender groups that normally have higher recidivism, for example, males, younger males, black offenders and prior recidivists.” Importantly, a New York State study found that “young inmates who earned a GED while incarcerated returned to custody at a rate of 40% compared with 54% of inmates under 21 released with no degree” (Staley, 2001). Most dramatic, however, is the data on those in prison: Inmates with at least two years college education have a 10% re-arrest rate, compared to the national rearrest rate of 62%. A Texas study is most revealing showing that the overall recidivism rate for degree holders in the Texas Department of Corrections between 1990-1991 was 15% compared to 60% for the national rate and a two year follow-up study showed that those with associates degrees had a recidivism rate of 13.7%, those with bachelor’s degrees, 5.6%, and those with master’s degrees zero (Tracy and Johnson, 1994):

    So, if the evidence is clear that prison as punishment is ineffective in deterring offenders, but education makes a substantial difference to recidivism, why do we continue to use prison as punishment? Moreover, why did we stop using education, particularly college-level education, for prisoners? The analogy of criminal justice and social policy as a “toolbox” comes to mind (Einstadter and Henry, 1995). We have many “tools” each refined for serving different functions. Just as a screwdriver, hammer, saw, wrench serves different functions to solve technical problems, so various policy options are available to deal with crime problems, whether this is biologically based treatment, psychologically based therapy, sociologically based education and training, and economically based punishment. However, it seems that policy makers peering into the justice toolbox only see one tool, the hammer of punishment, and they try to use it to fix everything. Imagine what would happen if your plumber showed up to fix a leak and all he had was a hammer. Imagine if you took your car to be serviced and all they had was a hammer! Why, given the bio-social, psycho-political complexity of human beings do we restrict our policy to this one-dimensional approach. It makes no sense.

    <...>

    So what are the policy implications of the prison-as-punishment does not deter crime conclusion? First, we need to consider ceasing to use prison as punishment. Incapacitating the most seriously harmful offenders is a different argument. Second, we should draw on the research of what we know works to prevent recidivism, especially literacy programs, skills training and GED, as well as educating prisoners to associate’s degree level in higher education and restore financial support for these successful practices. Third, we should train corrections officers to be corrections officers rather than guards, and if that means training them to be effective and qualified teachers, then this will be money well spent. Fourth, we should invest the money spent on incarceration on ensuring that the illiteracy rate among the nation’s population is reduced dramatically. Doing so will ensure that our general population is equipped to make the very kind of rational choice decisions that will enable them to make better choices in the first place. Finally, we should abandon the discourse of punishment as our response to unwanted behavior. It doesn’t work for parrots and it doesn’t work for people.




    My primary opinion is that there is a role for both rehab and punishment, that our emphasis should, however, be on rehabilitation, and while the threat of throwing people into cells may deter SOME people from committing crimes, it's obviously not working for MANY people who choose to commit crimes anyway. I reinforce my emphasis on rehabilitation by stating that people don't magically rehabilitate by rotting in a cage.






    From a thread several months ago:

    http://www.thescienceforum.com/viewt...=281224#281224
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Furthermore, how does this translate into public policy? Everybody wants better education. Not everybody agrees about how to accomplish it, so what exactly are you proposing to do based on the above cited data?
    The central theme is one where we focus on rehabilitation, reform, and correction instead of just putting them in a cell to rot... instead of placing them around others to learn to become better criminals (jail is like a crime university, where people go in as elementary criminals and come out as PhDs). We focus on root causes instead of symptoms.

    Instead of throwing a drug addict in jail, throw them into treatment.
    Look at the mental health of a criminal and get them into counseling and therapy instead of isolation.
    If someone stole something, get them vocational training so they can earn money instead of stealing it.

    Those are just a few off the top of my head. There are countless studies supporting my point, and many of them make alternative suggestions to correction. As the previous study I shared suggested, if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail... and not everything in our corrections system is a nail.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    In order to prove that you would have to remove the penalties, as otherwise you would have no way of knowing how many crimes were being deterred. Where has that been done?
    Looking at readily available capital punishment data, it's happened quite a few times.

    The murder rate in Canada has nearly dropped in half since they removed the death penalty:
    http://canadaonline.about.com/od/cri...tioncappun.htm

    Looking at rates of murder in the US.
    http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/i...nce?id=1101085

    Most criminologist, who presumably know a lot more than either of us, do not think the death penalty has any deterrent effect. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/file...eStudy2009.pdf and concludes that: "Our survey indicated that the vast majority of the world's top criminologist believe that the empirical research has revealed the deterrence hypothesis for a myth. there isn't a shred of evidence that supports the New York Times' assertion that there is "an intense new debate about the one of the central justifications for capital punishment," name deterrence.

    --
    Are you saying that the crime rate is caused by the number of young people? How is that an argument in favor of counseling versus punishment?
    Most crime is caused by young adults; there's no debating that and the size of the the young adult is among the strongest signal in all crime rate date. Economic status closely follows. Young adults psychologically aren't fully developed to make well-reasoned decisions yet and this effects many of their behaviors. A twenty years old faced with a decision will often consider too much information such as respect from his peers, the amount of fun it might be instead of considering the worse possible consequences of an action. This effects many things from wearing a condom, riding a kayak down a high river bank to holding up 7-11. Drugs and alcohol exasperate the poor decision making. Many crimes also aren't related to their root causes. A drug addict who steals money needs help to control his drug problem; a hungry youth who steals food needs job skills to make money; a run-away who sells their body on the street needs a stable home environment etc. Jail time wouldn't address the underlying problem for any of them.

    http://www.isteve.com/Homicide_Rates_by_Age.gif
    The Canadian death penalty was abolished de facto, in 1963, and the last execution was in 1962, therefore the decline in murder in the mid 70's can't be related to the abolition of the death penalty. In any case there is still a life sentence, and there is no evidence that a theory of punishment was replaced by any program of counseling.

    Part of being a good scientist is recognizing the limitations of what you know. As an example the science of nutrition has finally caught up with common sense traditional practices, so that they recommend the same "Mediterranean diet" your great-great grandmother was eating. Up until recently they had us eating margarine, which is way worse than the butter with saturated fat that it replaced.

    The point is I don't have much faith in the state of the art of criminology when all they have is some weak correlations and when it goes against traditional practices that have worked for centuries.
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    The Canadian death penalty was abolished de facto, in 1963, and the last execution was in 1962, therefore the decline in murder in the mid 70's can't be related to the abolition of the death penalty. In any case there is still a life sentence, and there is no evidence that a theory of punishment was replaced by any program of counseling.
    Perhaps but it does demonstrate that what ever deterrent effect exist is being eclipsed by other factors at least as far as severity of punishment is concerned.


    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    The point is I don't have much faith in the state of the art of criminology when all they have is some weak correlations and when it goes against traditional practices that have worked for centuries.
    Because you think you know more than those that study this for a living? The hard reality is it never worked very well...heck it's almost a cultural cliche that juvenile thieves eagerly awaited crowds that gathered for hangings, even if a thief was the one in the gallows.

    The reason goes back the point made by a couple of us, that you've ignored thus far, that most criminals don't perceive or consider the consequences as yet one more recent study concludes:
    "This study examines the premise that criminals make informed and calculated decisions. The findings suggest that 76% of active criminals and 89% of the most violent criminals either perceive no risk of apprehension or are incognizant of the likely punishments for their crimes. "
    http://aler.oxfordjournals.org/content/4/2/295.short
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    The reason goes back the point made by a couple of us, that you've ignored thus far, that most criminals don't perceive or consider the consequences as yet one more recent study concludes:

    "This study examines the premise that criminals make informed and calculated decisions. The findings suggest that 76% of active criminals and 89% of the most violent criminals either perceive no risk of apprehension or are incognizant of the likely punishments for their crimes. "

    http://aler.oxfordjournals.org/content/4/2/295.short

    Also, here:


    http://aler.oxfordjournals.org/conte...1/103.abstract
    The authors examine the impact of prison conditions on future criminal behavior. The take over is based on a unique dataset on the post-release behavior of about twenty thousand Italian former prison inmates. The authors use variation in prison assignment as a means of identifying the effects of prison overcrowding, deaths in prison, and degree of isolation on the probability of reoffending. They do not find compellingevidence of (specific) deterrent effects of experienced prison severity. The measures of prison severity do not reduce the probability of recidivism. Instead, all point estimates suggest that harsh prison conditions increase post-release criminal activity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    Because you think you know more than those that study this for a living?
    Nope, I don't know more. It's just that they don't know enough, and think they do. Your great-great-grandmother didn't know more than the cardiologists who recommended an extreme low fat diet in the 1980's either. But she was right and they were wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Your great-great-grandmother didn't know more than the cardiologists who recommended an extreme low fat diet in the 1980's either. But she was right and they were wrong.
    A broken watch is still right twice a day.
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    If the experts have society right we would all be conformists.
    It's too complicated for many.
    If we were all educated in how to live, bring up children and care for one another, rather than all out for number 1 things would be different too.

    For rehab to work first you must be habilitated. How can anyone be expected to fall back into a behavioural routine they haven't learnt ? And how can punishment help in this circumstance ?
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    The reality is the US has up to 10 times the prisoner population per capita than many nations that have moved away from a punishment-based model and moved towards decriminalization of victimless crimes, helping with root problems and rehabilitation. I put much of the responsibility on the large number of Americans who still cling to bankrupt moral views from the bible rather than accept the mountain of evidence from modern psychological, sociology, criminology and the dozens of successful examples from more secular nations.
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    theres a point in the curve where increase in severity of punishment does not increase detere from crime anymore.
    Someone breaking and entering to steal for heroine is not concerned with possible punishment. No one commits a crime knowing they will fail and as a result be punished.

    Now certainly if the penalty for armed robbery would be 2 weeks imprisonment we would have have criminals lining up in front of banks.
    A punishment of 30 years would not deter more then say a punishment of 20 years or even 15.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teb
    theres a point in the curve where increase in severity of punishment does not increase detere from crime anymore.
    Someone breaking and entering to steal for heroine is not concerned with possible punishment. No one commits a crime knowing they will fail and as a result be punished.

    Now certainly if the penalty for armed robbery would be 2 weeks imprisonment we would have have criminals lining up in front of banks.
    A punishment of 30 years would not deter more then say a punishment of 20 years or even 15.
    Actually there are re offenders who offend in order to go back inside, there are those who continually offend within prison in order to stay there. Some people like to be in controlled circumstances as they do not trust themselves.

    If people had more chance to improve their lives and financial situations there could be less burglary, this does depend on personal motive vs organised crime.
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    Why stop at whodunnit , who is just a step on the way to why. Treat the why and there will be less who's that dunnit in the future.
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