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cruel and unusual punishment: the shame of three strikes laws


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#11 Mr. Scot

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 11:31 PM

While we're at it, a pet peeve of mine.

Other than stolen property being returned (if you're lucky) why doesn't the justice system employ the principle of restitution for victims more often, especially in white collar and property crimes?

#12 PhillyB

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 11:32 PM

Three may indeed seem arbitrary - and may indeed be - but when you think about it, how many people does someone have to hurt before you can classify them as dangerous?


a fundamental question that i don't have the background of knowledge necessary to legitimately opine on as it pertains to the justice system, but i'd guess the answer lies somewhere in a synthesis of maintaining public safety by keeping dangerous people off the streets and the ultimate goal of state corrections facilities as institutions meant to educate and rehabilitate extreme social deviants.

#13 Mr. Scot

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 11:41 PM

a fundamental question that i don't have the background of knowledge necessary to legitimately opine on as it pertains to the justice system, but i'd guess the answer lies somewhere in a synthesis of maintaining public safety by keeping dangerous people off the streets and the ultimate goal of state corrections facilities as institutions meant to educate and rehabilitate extreme social deviants.


As the current system runs, the notion of rehab is all but a joke. A good number of people come out of thepenal system worse than when they went in.

And yes, I believe there're some people who cannot be rehabilitated. Those are the ones that need to remain locked up. Differentiating which people are which is obviously something that the current setup either just isn't well suited to do or just plain isn't very good at.

#14 carpantherfan84

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 09:13 PM

a fundamental question that i don't have the background of knowledge necessary to legitimately opine on as it pertains to the justice system, but i'd guess the answer lies somewhere in a synthesis of maintaining public safety by keeping dangerous people off the streets and the ultimate goal of state corrections facilities as institutions meant to educate and rehabilitate extreme social deviants.

As the current system runs, the notion of rehab is all but a joke. A good number of people come out of thepenal system worse than when they went in.

And yes, I believe there're some people who cannot be rehabilitated. Those are the ones that need to remain locked up. Differentiating which people are which is obviously something that the current setup either just isn't well suited to do or just plain isn't very good at.



Interesting. Would not a major step towards addressing either of these issues be to establish a unified, cultural ideal about the purpose of the prison system. It seems to me that the system has evolved with no clear purpose other than to eliminate undesirables from public view. If we had a singular ideal about the purpose of encarceration it would be easier to establish a fair, reasonable and still deserving amount of time to imprison someone and those in prison would ( in a perfect world) grow up with a deep cultural and moral sense of what it means to be in prison and would potentially come out of it with a new sense of purpose as opposed to schizophrenia and low moral standards. The way a young man responds to discipline from an authority he respects.

It would be really hard to do in today's deeply divided political scene, however.

#15 Kevin Greene

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 10:42 PM

Commit 3 felonies go to jail.
This shouldn't be hard to comprehend.

#16 carpantherfan84

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 10:58 PM

The fact that there are felonies and misdemeanors lends credence to the argument that not all crimes are equal. It would not be a stretch to say that not all felonies are are worth life sentences regardless of how many time you do them.

#17 pstall

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 11:16 PM

How many felonies should one be allowed? Bloomberg puts out the ban on large sodas due to the costs of obesity on the health care system. Isn't there a cost for the crime committed and then the prosecuting and ultimately putting them in jail?
How many DUI's does one need to get the point?

In being a liason between the govt and banks when it comes to real estate programs I see where nobody can say the words no or hear it. At some point you have to go sorry guys, there is nothing more we can do.

Back to Bloomberg. Those that defend his move argue that making it a bit more of a challenge to buy a big soda or adding a slight tad of stigma might offset if not curb obesity and thus there is large savings.
Similarily with crime. The punishment should fit the crime but also it should have enough baggage around it that you would think it would or could deter more.



#18 carpantherfan84

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 11:43 PM

Deterrence is based on the belief that we all share the same morals and values, and if you threaten someone with what you would consider a harsh punishment they will stop the undesired behavior. The problem is that people who live in the same household let alone people across society, seldom share the same values, so how can you threaten them? Some people just don't care about getting fat. Some people really don't know any better. How could either one be effectively deterred? The inconvenient truth is that crime in America is a very complex issue. In a just society our laws, and subsequently how we treat people that break them would be based on a mutually accepted if not mutually agreed upon set of values and beliefs. In most societies around the world, this belief system stems from either deep religious beliefs, or long standing and ancient traditions. America is neither religious nor ancient. We are also intensely culturally divided between so called "party lines". If we are to survive as a nation we will need to seriously consider addressing the lack of consistent cultural beliefs.

#19 pstall

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 07:04 AM

So how many felonies can one do before going to jail? Should we even have jail or laws? Laws themselves in most cultures also are derived by religion.

But despite verying degrees of opinions of what is acceptable or not, we need some parameters to avoid chaos.

Not saying you are doing this but culture can be a mild smokescreen or a way to rationalize a crime. Just because where you grew up and something was "accepted" doesn't mean it is right or ok.

Let the punishment fit the crime. You steal you not only give it back but work for free the equivilant of the item stolen. White collar crime you pay the fine but you also teach classes on investing or budgeting or how to interview etc. For free.
Don't just stop the crime but find a way to give back to the society at large you took from.

#20 stirs

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 07:14 AM

Just a couple thoughts.

Ounce of prevention--waiting until guys are in jail might be a bit late to "address" their issues. Our society does not have the stomach for things that might contribute to the "waywardness" of young men especially. Therefore, we concentrate only on the problem once the cat is out of the bag.

Pound of cure--restitution is a great way of connecting them to their crime and giving them hope of "paying" their debt to society. Obviously, murder, rape and such will be harder to judge, mostly speaking of theft, blue and white collar.


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