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Trying mentally ill children as adults for their crimes. Options
Chazlee
Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2016 3:35:04 AM
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Recently the American state of Wisconsin has decided that 2 12 year old girls will be tried as adults for stabbing another girl, also 12, 19 times in order to please a fictional character called "Slender Man."

https://www.yahoo.com/news/wisconsin-girls-tried-adults-slender-man-attack-133703980.html

Although the stabbed girl did not die, that clearly was the intention of the other girls. The article states that the ones doing the stabbing suffered from mental illness.

According to the article, "Experts testified that one of the girls has schizophrenia and an oppositional defiant disorder that requires long-term mental health treatment. The other girl has been diagnosed with a delusional disorder and a condition known as schizotypy, which a psychologist testified made her vulnerable to believing in Slender Man."

Furthermore, "The girls have been charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide and if convicted could go to prison for up to 65 years. As juveniles, they could be incarcerated for up to three years then supervised until age 18.
Anyone 10 or older charged with first-degree attempted homicide is automatically considered an adult under Wisconsin law."

While I understand the need to protect society from individuals who may choose commit violent acts upon others, which these 2 girls certainly did, I do wonder if it is really necessary to try them as adults in the first place. Obviously, the actions and thoughts of a pre-teen is going to be very different than that of an adult, and do we really even need to put mentally ill people in prison, where they will likely receive very little, if any at all, mental health treatment?

With proper medication and therapy, it is possible these two girls can turn their lives around and see the horrible deed they had done. Yet, sticking them into a penal institution, (first for children and then when they get old enough, one for adults,) will likely ensure that they never get the help they so clearly need.

It would be great to hear other's viewpoints.

Peace.




Lotje1000
Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2016 3:42:34 AM

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On the whole, I agree with you. A person's mental development continues until they're well in their twenties. The whole idea that we're adults when we turn 18 is a very arbitrary rule. As such, shoving someone so young into a prison for what is obviously a horrid act may feel very satisfying to us, but isn't necessarily in the best interest of the person in question - let alone society as a whole. Isolating them in a prison, surrounded by criminals, is not healthy and will not help them understand their crimes and become fully functioning members of society.

People (especially children) need guidance, not isolation - especially if there's a mental illness involved.

Peace to you as well.
Chazlee
Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2016 4:20:37 AM
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Lotje1000 wrote:
On the whole, I agree with you. A person's mental development continues until they're well in their twenties. The whole idea that we're adults when we turn 18 is a very arbitrary rule. As such, shoving someone so young into a prison for what is obviously a horrid act may feel very satisfying to us, but isn't necessarily in the best interest of the person in question - let alone society as a whole. Isolating them in a prison, surrounded by criminals, is not healthy and will not help them understand their crimes and become fully functioning members of society.

People (especially children) need guidance, not isolation - especially if there's a mental illness involved.

Peace to you as well.


You bring up a good point when you wrote that "...shoving someone so young into a prison for what is obviously a horrid act may feel very satisfying to us, but isn't necessarily in the best interest of the person in question - let alone society as a whole."

It seems to me that often a greater focus is placed on the crime one commits, instead of what may have caused the person to commit the crime. Thus, by giving more attention to a crime which has been committed while ignoring or minimizing the possible reasons for the criminal act, this often seems to lead to harsher punishments, such as longer sentences or youths being tried as adults, instead of thinking about things like rehabilitation. As a result, at least in the USA, the jails and prisons are bursting at the seams, and nobody really believes they do anything positive for society, and it is expected that someone will go inside "bad" and come out "worse."

There is a man named Ronald L Sanford who has been incarcerated at Indiana State Prison since the age of 15. He was convicted at age 13 for a double murder. He has been imprisoned for over 27 years, if one includes the time he spent locked-up as a juvenile. This man knows what he has done was wrong, and today he is an articulate, intelligent man. There is no evidence he would now, as an adult man who understands and accepts responsibility for his actions, ever commit such a crime again. However, he received, at age 15, a prison sentence of 170 years, and he is eligible for possible release at age 100. Here is a short video of him being interviewed by Trevor McDonald at the BBC.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zssYhU_8-dU

Again, I feel and understand the need to make society safe from certain people, but like you said, "Isolating them in a prison, surrounded by criminals, is not healthy and will not help them understand their crimes and become fully functioning members of society."

Peace to you.

pedro
Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2016 9:34:39 AM

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Would they ever recover having come to 'understand their crimes'? I am reminded of Mary Bell, who strangled two little boys, and one of the James Bulger killers, Jon Venables. The former was constantly pursued by th press and ended up immersed in drugs and alcohol. The latter was given enormous support to preserve his anonymity, despite the enormity of his crime (torturing and murdering and possibly sexually abusing a two year old toddler). He blamed the mother for leaving him alone and later was sent back to prison for child pornography crimes. This doesn't sound like rehabilitation to me. Some crimes are beyond the pale. I don't think these offenders or your slender-man offenders can ever be rehabilitated. I don't think it matters whether they are drugged up in prison or in a mental institution. They are irreversibly damaged and will never be 'fully functioning members of society'

All good ideas arrive by chance- Max Ernst
Lotje1000
Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2016 10:06:16 AM

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They could very well recover from whatever afflicted them. The chances of that happening are in any case higher when they receive treatment than if you send them to prison. Every person is different and so is their response to treatment and rehabilitation. Just because 'some crimes are beyond the pale" doesn't mean everyone else shouldn't be given the chance to recover.

I'm reminded of Beth Thomas, subject of the Child of Rage documentary, who suffered abuse and ended up in foster homes. She grew up with the irresistible urge to kill her family members and had to be locked up by them to prevent her from acting it all out. Quite a scary girl, but with treatment, she overcame those urges and is now a functioning member of society.

The general rule of treatment is that you need interaction with the patient, you need to get them to talk and think. If you just shove them in a cell, they don't get enough input to change their way of thinking.
FounDit
Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2016 11:38:15 AM

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This is a topic that is likely to generate many different views, or degenerate into some heated name-calling if we aren’t careful.

There is no perfect solution it would seem. Arguments for and against can be provided for every avenue explored, and our individual worldview will influence our thinking. My own personal view more closely matches that of Pedro.

No matter how harsh the punishment, however, there will always be some who will commit crimes, both minor and horrific. And there will always be some criminals who cannot be rehabilitated, and some who can.

The question, it seems to me, is how much time and resources are the larger group of society willing to invest in trying to save a smaller number of citizens who have shown a willingness to attack, or otherwise injure, the larger group.

The death penalty is the only absolute assurance that the crime(s) will not be repeated by the offender, but there is the possibility to make mistakes with it. The only exception to mistakes I can see is the case where the perpetrator is caught in the act, or the evidence is so overwhelming there can be no doubt whatsoever. Even this, however, does not persuade some to advocate for this punishment. Paradoxically, many of these same people have no qualms about killing a fetus in the womb, but that is another subject, though entirely related in my mind, since killing is killing. But I digress.

To continue on another point, however, focusing on the criminals, and their motivations, distances the view of society, shifting it away from the victim. By focusing more on the criminal, and rehabilitation, the victim is left feeling the perpetrator has more rights and value than they do. In responding to those rights and values by society, the criminal often feels empowered and wears prison time (often reflected in prison tattoos) as a badge of honor among fellow criminals. This results in less fear of prison, and prisoners form gangs inside, running them like miniature fiefdoms. When criminals have little to fear from punishment, crime rises, as there is little in the way of deterrent, ultimately leading to the over-crowding of prisons, costing society even more in time and resources.

If these people have decided to attack, or injure, fellow citizens, then it seems to me the focus should not be on why they did so, although this may be taken into account, but the main focus should be in how to deter the behavior in the future. Accommodating them with creature comforts and extending efforts to “understand” their motivations doesn’t seem to me to be a deterrent to future criminal acts. It also leaves the victim feeling abandoned and one has to ask why society would want to appear to care more for the criminal than the victim. Shouldn’t the focus be on the victim? After all, there are many who suffer from misfortunes in life, but don’t take out their frustrations on their fellow citizens, or feel they are “owed” something by their fellow society members.

All this brings me back to this point: It’s not like we’re ever going to run out of criminals, so are they really that valuable to society? What do they provide that society needs, and that may not be provided by another, since, in many, if not most, cases, they don’t function as a normal society member anyway?




A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
Chazlee
Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2016 11:39:34 AM
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pedro wrote:
Would they ever recover having come to 'understand their crimes'? I am reminded of Mary Bell, who strangled two little boys, and one of the James Bulger killers, Jon Venables. The former was constantly pursued by th press and ended up immersed in drugs and alcohol. The latter was given enormous support to preserve his anonymity, despite the enormity of his crime (torturing and murdering and possibly sexually abusing a two year old toddler). He blamed the mother for leaving him alone and later was sent back to prison for child pornography crimes. This doesn't sound like rehabilitation to me. Some crimes are beyond the pale. I don't think these offenders or your slender-man offenders can ever be rehabilitated. I don't think it matters whether they are drugged up in prison or in a mental institution. They are irreversibly damaged and will never be 'fully functioning members of society'


Thank you Pedro for your reply and comments. However, I think you are using two cases as examples to justify treating all other juvenile offenders in a particular way. Yet, with all due respect, you offer no solid reasoning for doing so. Additionally, you say that the 2 girls who stabbed another girl are "irreversibly damaged and will never be fully functioning members of society." Yet, again, you offer no justifiable reason to make such an assessment, except, perhaps the two previously mentioned cases of Mary Bell and Jon Venables. Why, I wonder, is that fair to do to someone who is charged with a heinous crime, but not to someone who is charged with stealing a car or shoplifting?

Also, I would like to ask you if we, society, really believe that these 2 girls are "irreversibly damaged," then why are we willing to allow them back out on the street one day? After all, the article says the girls face up to 65 years in prison. Since they are 12 now, even if they serve every day for 65 years, they would be back on the street when they are 77 years old. Would we not be better served to execute these "irreversibly damaged" 12 years old girls rather than one day give them the freedom to kill again one day?

Well, once again, I thank you Pedro for your having taken the time to read and respond to my original post. I respect your opinion even if you and I are unable to agree with each other.

Peace to you.
MelissaMe
Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2016 11:41:15 AM

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Lotje1000 wrote:
. . . . shoving someone so young into a prison for what is obviously a horrid act may feel very satisfying to us, but isn't necessarily in the best interest of the person in question - let alone society as a whole. Isolating them in a prison, surrounded by criminals, is not healthy and will not help them understand their crimes and become fully functioning members of society.

People (especially children) need guidance, not isolation - especially if there's a mental illness involved.


What good does it do for anyone, of any age? People need guidance, not isolation, as you said.

Isn't any crime of violence a mental illness of sorts? Shouldn't all prisons have the same aim as a mental institution?

Personally, I don't care what causes someone to try to or succeed in murdering someone, I want them off the streets for the rest of their lives. Murder, mind you, not self-defense. I wouldn't want to meet those 12-year-old girls on the bus!

And I'm sick of people who are put in jail for smoking marijuana or stealing televisions. Nonviolent crimes - restitution. Violet crimes - jail.

This is my only now.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2016 12:51:40 PM

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I am of mixed opinion here.

I agree with some points of each post so far . . .

Anyone who commits a crime with malice aforethought in a normal society is somewhat mentally deficient OR the society is insane.
If the society (as a society) does not organise itself so that there are no starving people, who cannot survive without stealing, then the society is insane.

If there are enough jobs and so on, so that everyone in the society can live well, then any theft of property from others shows some sort of obsessive self-esteem. "I'm more important than others". This is an insanity.

*****
On the subject of these girls and Jon Venables, there is obvious mental illness - how could it be anything else?
In these extreme cases, I can't see 'guidance' having any effect and other psychiatric treatment does nothing except quieten the patient temporarily, make him/her worse or kill them.
Strait jackets, electric and insulin shock, heavy drugs, lobotomies are little more than torture - they are not cures.
Ask any psychiatrist if he has every cured anyone with them, or if he expects to do so - the answer to both questions is usually 'no'.

***********
The middle-ground criminal - the person tempted to steal from work or a shop or a little more serious than that, those brought up in an environment in which drugs, petty violence and crime are "normal" and accepted - could be helped by guidance, education in why it's a good idea to stay legal, education in a trade, being made to feel like a useful member of society and so on.

I've read a bit about Norway's system.
The prisoners are expected to work, they get paid (similar wages to anyone else), they pay their keep from their wages. They can buy extras.
Prisoners also work to make amends to the victims of their crimes, where possible.
Often, the guards and the inmates become friends.

The number of criminals committing another crime and going back to jail in Norway is about 20% of the total - in the USA it's 70%.

A 2007 report on recidivism released by the US Department of Justice found that strict incarceration actually increases the number going back to jail later.

***********
There is also a difference in the way people are sentenced - it is most noticeable with the 'more serious' crimes.
The maximum sentence (except in a war-crimes genocide trial) is twenty-one years.
This means that Anders Breivik was sentenced to 21 years for killing 77 people.
However, at the end of that 21 years, if he has not 'turned around' and obviously shown that he understands why these murders were wrong (i.e. unless his psychosis is completely cured) he will be sentenced to another five years - and another five, and another five.

**************
The majority of crimes these days are drug-related.
There are drug-rehab programs which work (piloted in prisons in several countries) and which cost a lot less than the medical costs of keeping an addict in prison taking Methadone.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Chazlee
Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2016 1:30:03 PM
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FounDit wrote:
This is a topic that is likely to generate many different views, or degenerate into some heated name-calling if we aren’t careful.

Hi FounDit, I agree with you 100%. Name calling and personal attacks will serve no other purpose except to stop us from really seeing and understanding another's point of view. Thus, we need to always protect against this from happening whenever "controversial" issues are being discussed.

There is no perfect solution it would seem. Arguments for and against can be provided for every avenue explored, and our individual worldview will influence our thinking. My own personal view more closely matches that of Pedro.

Again, you are correct. In our quest to find a "perfect solution," we may overlook or ignore a solution which is not perfect but is, nonetheless, a good or "perfectly acceptable" solution. Also, I agree with you that each person's background will likely play a great part in how he/she perceives the world. Unfortunately, when it comes to legal matters, this has a tendency to "taint" things. What I mean is that if a person or group, especially a judge or jury, holds a worldview about a person, group of people, or type of crime, then "justice," may turn out to be merely a word, instead of a reality.

No matter how harsh the punishment, however, there will always be some who will commit crimes, both minor and horrific. And there will always be some criminals who cannot be rehabilitated, and some who can.

With all due respect, while I totally agree that crime and criminals will always be with us, I am not sure how you can be so confident that there are "some criminals who cannot be rehabilitated." I am being picky about the word "cannot." I am not sure how you know for certain that anyone cannot be rehabilitated? While it is true that some criminals may choose not to be rehabilitated, that is not the same thing, to me, as cannot. One seems to be a willful act, whereas the other seems to be the way a person was born and, thus, the person has no control over. However, it seems like the willful act should be punished more severely, due to the choice, while the other is something the person is helpless to control.

The question, it seems to me, is how much time and resources are the larger group of society willing to invest in trying to save a smaller number of citizens who have shown a willingness to attack, or otherwise injure, the larger group.
You make a very good point. Since both time and resources are limited, then society needs to make a decision as to how much of either to expend on one person or one group of people, especially if that person or group is acting in a manner which harms other law-abiding citizens. However, I would suggest that the age of the criminals in this case, 12, and the fact that they have mental health issues, may be important factors in a decision to allocate more resources to them.

The death penalty is the only absolute assurance that the crime(s) will not be repeated by the offender, but there is the possibility to make mistakes with it. The only exception to mistakes I can see is the case where the perpetrator is caught in the act, or the evidence is so overwhelming there can be no doubt whatsoever. Even this, however, does not persuade some to advocate for this punishment. Paradoxically, many of these same people have no qualms about killing a fetus in the womb, but that is another subject, though entirely related in my mind, since killing is killing. But I digress.

Respectfully, I cannot agree with you that a "fetus" and a living/walking/talking human being are the same. Yet, I do understand your point of view.

To continue on another point, however, focusing on the criminals, and their motivations, distances the view of society, shifting it away from the victim. By focusing more on the criminal, and rehabilitation, the victim is left feeling the perpetrator has more rights and value than they do. In responding to those rights and values by society, the criminal often feels empowered and wears prison time (often reflected in prison tattoos) as a badge of honor among fellow criminals. This results in less fear of prison, and prisoners form gangs inside, running them like miniature fiefdoms. When criminals have little to fear from punishment, crime rises, as there is little in the way of deterrent, ultimately leading to the over-crowding of prisons, costing society even more in time and resources.

With all due respect, the focus is on the criminals, not because of them being more important than the victims. Quite the contrary is true. We focus on the criminals in order to ensure that whatever or whomever made them become the people they have become, it can be stopped before more people are hurt. In order to defeat evil, one must first understand from where the evil came. Simply punishing the crime, without knowing how to stop it from happening again, is no different from a doctor treating a disease with no interest in where the disease came from in the first place. As for prisons being places that criminals do not fear, you are right. But why and how did this happen, and is there any research which shows that criminals who fear prison will stop themselves from committing future crimes to avoid being locked-up?

If these people have decided to attack, or injure, fellow citizens, then it seems to me the focus should not be on why they did so, although this may be taken into account, but the main focus should be in how to deter the behavior in the future. Accommodating them with creature comforts and extending efforts to “understand” their motivations doesn’t seem to me to be a deterrent to future criminal acts. It also leaves the victim feeling abandoned and one has to ask why society would want to appear to care more for the criminal than the victim. Shouldn’t the focus be on the victim? After all, there are many who suffer from misfortunes in life, but don’t take out their frustrations on their fellow citizens, or feel they are “owed” something by their fellow society members.

Again, your comments about deterrence are a valid point to make. However, you seem to believe if we try to find out what caused their misdeeds in the first place, then we are ignoring or excusing what they have done. I would argue the opposite is true. If we really try to understand, not excuse, why someone did something bad or evil, then it helps us, including the victim, better understand why these acts occurred in the first place, which may actually be helpful to the victim. Let me give an example.

Imagine a scenario in which a young lady is walking home from work at night and is rape. People around her, and she herself, may question if she had anything to do with the attack. (What clothes she was wearing? Why was she out at night by herself? Did her own carelessness about her own safety cause the attack to happen?). Yet, what if through an mental evaluation of the criminal, we find out that he was simply looking for a victim to attack that night, and any female would do? What if, through therapy, the criminal starts to see his actual victim, and potential future victims, as "victims," and he vows not do commit such acts again? In this case, we are helping the victim see it was not her fault that she was attacked, and we are helping prevent future victims from being attacked.

All this brings me back to this point: It’s not like we’re ever going to run out of criminals, so are they really that valuable to society? What do they provide that society needs, and that may not be provided by another, since, in many, if not most, cases, they don’t function as a normal society member anyway?


I would agree with this part if you could tell us how locking-up criminals, instead of trying to rehabilitate them is useful to us non-criminals. If the best we can say is that when they are in prison they are not hurting anyone, I think this does little to remove most people's fears about crime and criminals. BTW, how can you say with certainty, that society will never run out of criminals? I am not a criminal. I am assuming you are not a criminal. It is probably true that more people are honest than are criminals. Thus, isn't it possible we will run out of criminals before we run out of honest people?

Peace to you.


FounDit
Posted: Friday, July 29, 2016 1:27:03 PM

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Chazlee. My response in blue.

Chazlee wrote:

Again, you are correct. In our quest to find a "perfect solution," we may overlook or ignore a solution which is not perfect but is, nonetheless, a good or "perfectly acceptable" solution. Also, I agree with you that each person's background will likely play a great part in how he/she perceives the world. Unfortunately, when it comes to legal matters, this has a tendency to "taint" things. What I mean is that if a person or group, especially a judge or jury, holds a worldview about a person, group of people, or type of crime, then "justice," may turn out to be merely a word, instead of a reality.
I think that last line "justice," may turn out to be merely a word, instead of a reality.
may be applicable in many of the following points.


“With all due respect, while I totally agree that crime and criminals will always be with us, I am not sure how you can be so confident that there are "some criminals who cannot be rehabilitated." I am being picky about the word "cannot." I am not sure how you know for certain that anyone cannot be rehabilitated? While it is true that some criminals may choose not to be rehabilitated, that is not the same thing, to me, as cannot. One seems to be a willful act, whereas the other seems to be the way a person was born and, thus, the person has no control over. However, it seems like the willful act should be punished more severely, due to the choice, while the other is something the person is helpless to control.”
The persons I refer to as those who cannot be rehabilitated might be exemplified as the psychopathic personality. This would be the one you describe as having no control over behaving against society’s norms, or who may not be able to do so. Yet while appearing to have control, and willfulness, psychopathy is actually the product of a pathological condition of the brain. I refer you to this website on the topic, from which I pull this quote:
“In large part, the growth in research has occurred given the success of the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R; Hare, 2003), originally developed by my colleague Robert Hare. New PCL-based research has provided a wealth of insights on this personality pathology (Hare & Neumann, 2008), and in particular a better understanding of the moral brain in general, how psychopathic features might be linked to disturbances in moral behavior and related social emotions, and how psychopathy might be a particular case of the ‘moral brain’ gone wrong (Cardoso et al., 2012; Harenski et al., 2010; de Oliveira-Souza et al., 2008). Emphasis FD. It is this group that I posit may not be capable of rehabilitation.]
https://research.unt.edu/research-profiles/will-real-psychopath-please-stand

Chazlee wrote:

“With all due respect, the focus is on the criminals, not because of them being more important than the victims. Quite the contrary is true. We focus on the criminals in order to ensure that whatever or whomever made them become the people they have become, it can be stopped before more people are hurt. In order to defeat evil, one must first understand from where the evil came.
Another way of defeating evil is to exterminate it. That way, it can no longer hurt another. But, I’m curious. How does anyone know what behaviors, or experiences, might happen to any one person that might turn them into a criminal, and how can these life experiences can be prevented from happening? For Evil cannot be prevented, only dealt with after it has exposed itself, and done its harm, in the same way that law enforcement doesn’t prevent crime, but only investigates it after the fact.

Simply punishing the crime, without knowing how to stop it from happening again, is no different from a doctor treating a disease with no interest in where the disease came from in the first place.
Unfortunately, this analogy doesn’t work. A doctor doesn’t need to know where an infection came from before taking action to effect a cure, or prevent its spread. Furthermore, if a doctor knew that a particular disease was being contracted in a specific location, he would advise against visiting that location. One doesn’t necessarily need to know the cause before attempting a cure.

As for prisons being places that criminals do not fear, you are right. But why and how did this happen, and is there any research which shows that criminals who fear prison will stop themselves from committing future crimes to avoid being locked-up?”
I suspect such research exists, but from a purely empirical perspective, humans rarely choose to live in an environment that provides pain and/or discomfort. Punishment itself may serve as a deterrent, but it has to be unpleasant, else what’s the point? “Justice”, if it is just a word, fails to become a reality.

Chazlee wrote:

“Again, your comments about deterrence are a valid point to make. However, you seem to believe if we try to find out what caused their misdeeds in the first place, then we are ignoring or excusing what they have done. I would argue the opposite is true. If we really try to understand, not excuse, why someone did something bad or evil, then it helps us, including the victim, better understand why these acts occurred in the first place, which may actually be helpful to the victim. Let me give an example.”
And here you give the example of the woman who is raped. I have a great deal of difficulty with this approach to the hypothetical attack.

The only choice the woman made was to walk home from work on that particular street. Her attacker made some choices also. He could have been at home with his family, if he had one. He could have been at work, if he had a job. He could have been at night school, getting an education to improve his life’s circumstances. He could have done any number of other things.

But he chose instead to be on the streets. He chose to follow the woman, and he chose to attack her. But in your scenario, we should focus on understanding why he attacked her, positing that this will help her, and us, if we just understand. Any damage to her will, I suppose, be mitigated by such an understanding. As I said, I have some difficulty with this.

What if she was disfigured from a knife used in the attack? Would she be comforted knowing his motivation? What if she were impregnated at a time when she could little afford to be so? Would she be comforted or aided by knowledge of his motivations? What if abortions were illegal, or she didn't believe in them, but felt compelled into one anyway, which damaged her internally? Would she be helped by knowledge of his motivations? As I said, I have some difficulty understanding how such information is helpful to victims of crime.

I don’t like to get too personal on the forum, but in the interest of full disclosure, when I was 16 years old, I was walking home from work at 10:30 at night, when I was assaulted by 4 young men, for no other reason than I was at the right place at the right time – only two blocks from my home. It’s been over 50 years since that occurred, and I can look back on it dispassionately today, but in doing so, I still don’t think it would have been any help to me had someone explained their reasons for doing so.

I didn’t blame myself, I blamed them. They chose to get together and ride the streets in a car. They chose to find someone to attack. They chose me as that person. My only choice was to walk home after a long day at work, wanting only to take a bath and go to bed, and that choice was forced upon me as I had no car.

From this perspective, I have little sympathy for people who make the choice to do harm to others. It is a choice. They choose to do the acts. No one is forcing them to do so. Would I be excused if I attacked someone else because I was mistreated? I don’t think so. So no matter what people’s lives are like, they have an obligation to behave according to society’s laws, rules, and social norms, as we all do. I can have sympathy for someone with a difficult life, but no sympathy for anyone who uses that as an excuse to harm others.

I’ve no doubt many people, having once experienced jail or prison, can probably be rehabilitated, and I have no problem with those. People make mistakes. I understand that. It is those who attack others with a viciousness, who show no remorse, who are recidivists that I direct my comments about, asking why these are cared for at great expense, or are permitted to be set free, especially after having demonstrated they will attack again. I’m a fan of holding people responsible for their actions. When they aren’t held accountable, then
"justice," may turn out to be merely a word, instead of a reality.

Chazlee wrote:

“BTW, how can you say with certainty, that society will never run out of criminals? I am not a criminal. I am assuming you are not a criminal. It is probably true that more people are honest than are criminals. Thus, isn't it possible we will run out of criminals before we run out of honest people?”
I’m not so sure of that, especially since we produce a new crop with each generation. But didn’t you agree to the idea earlier when you said,
“I totally agree that crime and criminals will always be with us”?
BTW, do you know of any civilizations in recorded history that did not have criminals? I am not aware of any. I suspect there never were any such civilizations. As long as there are rules to break, I think there will always be someone who will break them, even if there is only one, for humans are born totally selfish, and must be taught altruism, either by their elders, or by experience. Many, however, never adequately learn that lesson.

Of course, we can only discuss this topic in very general terms. As DragOnspeaker noted, there are many levels of offense. Our legal system, however, seems to always be playing “catch-up” with the criminals. The criminals constantly find new loopholes, and society constantly patches them with new laws, so many no one can know them all.

I've often wondered if we shouldn’t judge all criminal behavior from the simple perspective of respect and consideration -- the sense of esteem and regard for others. How did the offender show disrespect and/or inconsideration to the victim? Assess punishment on either a compensatory or reciprocal level, with escalating severity for repeated offenses, limited to two or three, depending on the offense, leading to the final solution for such repetition. I’m not sure it would work, but I think it is a good starting point.

Apologies. I didn’t intend to wax so verbose.




A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
Chazlee
Posted: Saturday, July 30, 2016 1:27:16 AM
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[quote=FounDit]Chazlee. My response in blue.


I don’t like to get too personal on the forum, but in the interest of full disclosure, when I was 16 years old, I was walking home from work at 10:30 at night, when I was assaulted by 4 young men, for no other reason than I was at the right place at the right time – only two blocks from my home. It’s been over 50 years since that occurred, and I can look back on it dispassionately today, but in doing so, I still don’t think it would have been any help to me had someone explained their reasons for doing so.

I didn’t blame myself, I blamed them. They chose to get together and ride the streets in a car. They chose to find someone to attack. They chose me as that person. My only choice was to walk home after a long day at work, wanting only to take a bath and go to bed, and that choice was forced upon me as I had no car.

From this perspective, I have little sympathy for people who make the choice to do harm to others. It is a choice. They choose to do the acts. No one is forcing them to do so. Would I be excused if I attacked someone else because I was mistreated? I don’t think so. So no matter what people’s lives are like, they have an obligation to behave according to society’s laws, rules, and social norms, as we all do. I can have sympathy for someone with a difficult life, but no sympathy for anyone who uses that as an excuse to harm others.


FounDit,
I am very, very sorry to hear about what happened to you. This is certainly something which you played no part in causing, and I hope the people who hurt you were caught and punished for attacking you. As your comments so vividly demonstrate, victims of violent crimes never forget what happened to them. The memories of your terrible experience will be with you forever. So, I want to publicly state that I apologize to you if in my desire to make a point my comments were hurtful to you. That truly was never my intention at all. Your comments do remind me that whenever a discussion is being had about a subject in which there may actually be victims, like yourself, extra care must be taken with the words used. Once again, I am truly sorry to read about what you went through in your youth, because nobody should have to experience such a horrible event in their life.

Peace to you.
FounDit
Posted: Saturday, July 30, 2016 12:22:02 PM

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Chazlee

No need to apologize. I was fortunate in that I think I gave as good as I received, but it did leave a memory and had quite an impact. BTW, they were not caught, since I couldn't identify any of them, and it happened so quickly I really was more interested in protecting myself than attending to details.

Edit: I should add that it ended so quickly because, after the melee, they jumped back into their car and drove off immediately.

I find it odd, now that I think about it, that on three separate occasions, I've been attacked by groups of people. The first at 12 years old, by 5 Hispanic youths, at 16 by 4 white youths, and at 20 by 6 black youths. And on each occasion, I was simply minding my own business -- walking home from school, walking home from work, and on the job at closing time.

But that is all in the past. As a wise person once said, "Our scars show us where we've been, not who we are". I like that.


A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
FounDit
Posted: Sunday, July 31, 2016 11:04:45 AM

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And while we're on the topic:

Police: Girl, 14, slits teen's throat in hope of 1st kill

Can she be rehabilitated? Should we even try? No doubt the families will have opinions, but society at large may ask: At what expense? Do we have any guarantee?

And if rehabilitation is tried, and we are assured she is cured, but then she kills again, should the doctors and/or judges who free her be culpable in any way?

I think they should be, since they have an obligation to protect society from dangerous people. That would certainly make them think twice before so easily turning someone loose into society again.


A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
Lotje1000
Posted: Monday, August 01, 2016 2:24:30 AM

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FounDit wrote:
And while we're on the topic:

Police: Girl, 14, slits teen's throat in hope of 1st kill

Can she be rehabilitated? Should we even try? No doubt the families will have opinions, but society at large may ask: At what expense? Do we have any guarantee?

And if rehabilitation is tried, and we are assured she is cured, but then she kills again, should the doctors and/or judges who free her be culpable in any way?

I think they should be, since they have an obligation to protect society from dangerous people. That would certainly make them think twice before so easily turning someone loose into society again.


Foxnews' title is quite misleading, given that they themselves report later in the article
Quote:
She wanted to scare her so she and her mother would move away and her brother would "come back to the family."
Quite the clickbait.

Regardless, she sounds like one very very confused teen to me. She claims to be a psychopath and wanted her first kill, but then later says she never wanted to kill but wanted to scare off her victim. Not to mention, she was also the one to call the police in the first place.

I'm pretty sure she can be rehabilitated and we should definitely try. As for questions of expense and guarantees, those could be asked about incarceration as well. Prisons are overflowing as it is. They don't work as a great deterrent nor as a 'cure'.
FounDit
Posted: Monday, August 01, 2016 11:31:11 AM

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Lotje1000 wrote:
FounDit wrote:
And while we're on the topic:

Police: Girl, 14, slits teen's throat in hope of 1st kill

Can she be rehabilitated? Should we even try? No doubt the families will have opinions, but society at large may ask: At what expense? Do we have any guarantee?

And if rehabilitation is tried, and we are assured she is cured, but then she kills again, should the doctors and/or judges who free her be culpable in any way?

I think they should be, since they have an obligation to protect society from dangerous people. That would certainly make them think twice before so easily turning someone loose into society again.


Foxnews' title is quite misleading, given that they themselves report later in the article
Quote:
She wanted to scare her so she and her mother would move away and her brother would "come back to the family."
Quite the clickbait.

Regardless, she sounds like one very very confused teen to me. She claims to be a psychopath and wanted her first kill, but then later says she never wanted to kill but wanted to scare off her victim. Not to mention, she was also the one to call the police in the first place.

I'm pretty sure she can be rehabilitated and we should definitely try. As for questions of expense and guarantees, those could be asked about incarceration as well. Prisons are overflowing as it is. They don't work as a great deterrent nor as a 'cure'.


She said she wanted to scare the girl, but did call herself a psychopath, and did cut her throat. She said she only wanted to scare the girl, but also said she was looking for her first kill, but then said she never wanted to kill (after being caught, I might add).

But you're "pretty sure" she can be rehabilitated. Well, okay. I'd be willing to go along with you on that if you would be willing to be held responsible as aiding and abetting her, and sharing her same punishment, should she commit another crime such as this, or succeed in killing someone later.


A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
MelissaMe
Posted: Wednesday, August 03, 2016 10:29:01 AM

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Anyone who thinks that she can be rehabilitated ought to be forced to adopt, live with, and be personally liable and responsible for anything she does.

With, of course, the option to return her back to the authorities to be sent to jail if she proves to be the little monster she sounds like.

This is my only now.
Lotje1000
Posted: Wednesday, August 03, 2016 10:48:28 AM

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FounDit wrote:
She said she wanted to scare the girl, but did call herself a psychopath, and did cut her throat. She said she only wanted to scare the girl, but also said she was looking for her first kill, but then said she never wanted to kill (after being caught, I might add).

But you're "pretty sure" she can be rehabilitated. Well, okay. I'd be willing to go along with you on that if you would be willing to be held responsible as aiding and abetting her, and sharing her same punishment, should she commit another crime such as this, or succeed in killing someone later.


You're forcing responsibility on me but you're not willing to take any yourself. It's a gut reaction to just shove someone in prison for a crime without being willing to look further and face some nasty truths. It's easy to lock them up and never have to think of them again. It's a lot harder to give someone a chance.

There's a ton of kids out there who are in a really bad situation - family life, mental illness, financial situation, whatever - and unless we're willing to look at those causes, horrible situations like these will just continue to happen.

She changes her story and contradicts herself. Saying horrible stuff you don't mean, that's part of being a teenager - as is reacting emotionally to situations you don't have a grasp of. Unless everything you ever said as a teen is something you still mean now and should be judged for appropriately? I'm not saying she shouldn't be punished for what she did. I'm saying we can afford to put a bit more effort into figuring out why she did what she did and whether she can be rehabilitated.
FounDit
Posted: Thursday, August 04, 2016 12:18:01 PM

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Lotje1000 wrote:

You're forcing responsibility on me but you're not willing to take any yourself.
As you provide no basis for this, it is merely an assertion with no basis in fact.

It's a gut reaction to just shove someone in prison for a crime without being willing to look further and face some nasty truths. It's easy to lock them up and never have to think of them again. It's a lot harder to give someone a chance.
It is not a “gut” reaction, and we don't simply “shove” someone into prison. In all cases, there has been a trial, evidence presented, and a defense mounted. But nasty truths are no excuse for bad behavior.

There's a ton of kids out there who are in a really bad situation - family life, mental illness, financial situation, whatever - and unless we're willing to look at those causes, horrible situations like these will just continue to happen.
And they always will happen, but that is not the point. You are making excuses for them, because there are also a ton of kids out there in exactly the same circumstances who are not committing horrific crimes against innocent people.

She changes her story and contradicts herself. Saying horrible stuff you don't mean, that's part of being a teenager - as is reacting emotionally to situations you don't have a grasp of. Unless everything you ever said as a teen is something you still mean now and should be judged for appropriately? I'm not saying she shouldn't be punished for what she did. I'm saying we can afford to put a bit more effort into figuring out why she did what she did and whether she can be rehabilitated.
Everything you have said here validates my point that more attention is focused on the perpetrator than on the victim. Also, you still haven’t answered my question: Would you be willing to share in accepting the responsibility and punishment for such an individual you are willing to turn loose into society who has already proven they are capable of horrific crimes? If not, why not?



A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
Lotje1000
Posted: Thursday, August 04, 2016 3:20:09 PM

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You're talking about shoving responsibility on me because I want her to have a chance in life, if she is worthy of one.

Just because there has "been a trial", doesn't mean it's been done correctly. There are enough people questioning verdicts and adjusting the system to make it more fair to everyone involved.

I'm not making excuses for the perpetrators. I'm explaining potential causes for their behaviour. If you're not willing to look at those elements and question them, you're blinding yourself and "shoving" people in prison.

You're mistaking a request for treatment and research for me wanting her released on the streets. Though feel free to keep shoving responsibility my way and avoiding the issue at hand. I'm not responsible for her actions and it's up to professionals to see if she's fit to join society again.
FounDit
Posted: Thursday, August 04, 2016 4:41:56 PM

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Lotje1000 wrote:
You're talking about shoving responsibility on me because I want her to have a chance in life, if she is worthy of one.
I'm not "shoving" anything onto you. I'm asking if you are willing to take responsibility for decisions you make for the health and safety of your fellow citizens. I see from your last sentence, you are not.

Just because there has "been a trial", doesn't mean it's been done correctly. There are enough people questioning verdicts and adjusting the system to make it more fair to everyone involved.
Fairness isn't the issue. Judging the potential danger to innocent persons is the issue.

I'm not making excuses for the perpetrators. I'm explaining potential causes for their behaviour. If you're not willing to look at those elements and question them, you're blinding yourself and "shoving" people in prison.
You are making excuses when you seek to mitigate punishment for a criminal act based on the history of the criminal rather than the effect and impact on the victim.

You're mistaking a request for treatment and research for me wanting her released on the streets. Though feel free to keep shoving responsibility my way and avoiding the issue at hand. I'm not responsible for her actions and it's up to professionals to see if she's fit to join society again.

No, I have no objections to research and treatment. But before someone decides such criminals are released back into society, I want those who support doing so to take responsibility for what these criminals may do to innocents if the decision is a bad one. You say you want the criminal to be responsible for her actions, but you aren't willing to take responsibility for your own action if you support releasing her back into society.

A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
Lotje1000
Posted: Friday, August 05, 2016 3:02:53 AM

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Fairness is exactly the issue. The point of judgment is that it happens fairly for all parties involved. It might be a bitter pill for you to swallow, but there can be mitigating circumstances for a perpetrator as well. Ignoring those does nothing for the victim nor for the perpetrator, nor for society.

Being unwilling to look at the situation in general and only focusing on the victim, means you're making yourself blind to all aspects of justice. Then you're only seeking vengeance.

Being unwilling to look at the situation in its entirety, means you're just shoving people in prison. Shoving someone in prison who might be rehabilitated, means they have no options left in life. In that case, you're only worsening their situation by keeping them locked in prison. Then I hope for your sake that they stay there for the rest of their lives because when they've done their time and they are released, they are going to be ten times worse than when they came in.

Are you willing to take responsibility for that?
FounDit
Posted: Friday, August 05, 2016 12:34:02 PM

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Lotje1000 wrote:


Fairness is exactly the issue. The point of judgment is that it happens fairly for all parties involved. It might be a bitter pill for you to swallow, but there can be mitigating circumstances for a perpetrator as well. Ignoring those does nothing for the victim nor for the perpetrator, nor for society.
And considering those circumstances also does nothing for the victim, or society, but can, and often does, alter the punishment of the perpetrator, leaving the victim feeling discarded and unworthy of consideration.

Being unwilling to look at the situation in general and only focusing on the victim, means you're making yourself blind to all aspects of justice. Then you're only seeking vengeance.
No, because the definition of justice is deserved punishment for harm done to another, by various means. It is precisely because there was harm done to the victim that justice is necessary. The only real difference between justice and vengeance is who carries it out, and its type. When the victim is the one carrying it out, it is called vengeance, but when it is the victim’s fellow citizens, it is called justice. My position is that when punishment is mitigated by a desire to “understand” the perpetrator’s motives, while ignoring, or minimizing, the damage done to the victim, justice is not being served. Furthermore, when punishment is delayed, or reduced, the perpetrator has less motivation to avoid it in the future.

Being unwilling to look at the situation in its entirety, means you're just shoving people in prison.
I’m willing to look at the entire situation. As I said, I think some people can be rehabilitated. Most criminals start with petty crimes, and move into more serious crimes, primarily, IMO, because sufficient punishment is not applied in those early crime stages. However, it is the group that shows no sign of willingness to be rehabilitated that I have focused on all along.

Shoving someone in prison who might be rehabilitated, means they have no options left in life.
Depending on the crime, and I am speaking of a crime such as this one where a girl slits the throat of another person, or a similar type crime, the perpetrator cannot simply be left free to commit more.

In that case, you're only worsening their situation by keeping them locked in prison. Then I hope for your sake that they stay there for the rest of their lives because when they've done their time and they are released, they are going to be ten times worse than when they came in.
Well, if it were left up to me, she would never be released back into society, precisely because of what you said, she will be “ten times worse” than when she came in.
Are you willing to take responsibility for that?
No problem, although I’m sure you wouldn’t like my solution to that either.



A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
Lotje1000
Posted: Friday, August 05, 2016 12:59:54 PM

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FounDit wrote:
Lotje1000 wrote:


Fairness is exactly the issue. The point of judgment is that it happens fairly for all parties involved. It might be a bitter pill for you to swallow, but there can be mitigating circumstances for a perpetrator as well. Ignoring those does nothing for the victim nor for the perpetrator, nor for society.
And considering those circumstances also does nothing for the victim, or society, but can, and often does, alter the punishment of the perpetrator, leaving the victim feeling discarded and unworthy of consideration.
Altering the punishment does not necessarily leave the victim feeling discarded and unworthy of consideration. After all, the perpetrator is still being found guilty. We're talking about punishment, not negating guilt.

Being unwilling to look at the situation in general and only focusing on the victim, means you're making yourself blind to all aspects of justice. Then you're only seeking vengeance.
No, because the definition of justice is deserved punishment for harm done to another, by various means. It is precisely because there was harm done to the victim that justice is necessary. The only real difference between justice and vengeance is who carries it out, and its type. When the victim is the one carrying it out, it is called vengeance, but when it is the victim’s fellow citizens, it is called justice. My position is that when punishment is mitigated by a desire to “understand” the perpetrator’s motives, while ignoring, or minimizing, the damage done to the victim, justice is not being served. Furthermore, when punishment is delayed, or reduced, the perpetrator has less motivation to avoid it in the future.
Then you can relax, as I'm not minimizing or ignoring damage done to the victim.

Being unwilling to look at the situation in its entirety, means you're just shoving people in prison.
I’m willing to look at the entire situation. As I said, I think some people can be rehabilitated. Most criminals start with petty crimes, and move into more serious crimes, primarily, IMO, because sufficient punishment is not applied in those early crime stages. However, it is the group that shows no sign of willingness to be rehabilitated that I have focused on all along.
The group focus was not clear from your earlier statements. If that is your focus, then we can agree.

Shoving someone in prison who might be rehabilitated, means they have no options left in life.
Depending on the crime, and I am speaking of a crime such as this one where a girl slits the throat of another person, or a similar type crime, the perpetrator cannot simply be left free to commit more.
No one is arguing leaving her free to commit more crimes.

In that case, you're only worsening their situation by keeping them locked in prison. Then I hope for your sake that they stay there for the rest of their lives because when they've done their time and they are released, they are going to be ten times worse than when they came in.
Well, if it were left up to me, she would never be released back into society, precisely because of what you said, she will be “ten times worse” than when she came in.
Are you willing to take responsibility for that?
No problem, although I’m sure you wouldn’t like my solution to that either.
If her case is considered thoroughly and she's been properly diagnosed to belong to that group you mentioned, then there's nothing that can be done. Then she cannot be released into society.

FounDit
Posted: Friday, August 05, 2016 4:41:15 PM

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Lotje1000 wrote:
FounDit wrote:
Lotje1000 wrote:


Fairness is exactly the issue. The point of judgment is that it happens fairly for all parties involved. It might be a bitter pill for you to swallow, but there can be mitigating circumstances for a perpetrator as well. Ignoring those does nothing for the victim nor for the perpetrator, nor for society.
And considering those circumstances also does nothing for the victim, or society, but can, and often does, alter the punishment of the perpetrator, leaving the victim feeling discarded and unworthy of consideration.
Altering the punishment does not necessarily leave the victim feeling discarded and unworthy of consideration. After all, the perpetrator is still being found guilty. We're talking about punishment, not negating guilt.
Umm,...I'm not ready to accept you as the voice for crime victims, since most all the victims I have come into contact with do feel the justice system focuses more on the rights of the criminal than the victim. And finding the perpetrator guilty is a completely separate thing from punishment. Negating guilt would mean the person is not a criminal in the first place. Having been found guilty, however, the punishment should fit the crime.

Being unwilling to look at the situation in general and only focusing on the victim, means you're making yourself blind to all aspects of justice. Then you're only seeking vengeance.
No, because the definition of justice is deserved punishment for harm done to another, by various means. It is precisely because there was harm done to the victim that justice is necessary. The only real difference between justice and vengeance is who carries it out, and its type. When the victim is the one carrying it out, it is called vengeance, but when it is the victim’s fellow citizens, it is called justice. My position is that when punishment is mitigated by a desire to “understand” the perpetrator’s motives, while ignoring, or minimizing, the damage done to the victim, justice is not being served. Furthermore, when punishment is delayed, or reduced, the perpetrator has less motivation to avoid it in the future.
Then you can relax, as I'm not minimizing or ignoring damage done to the victim.
Well, it seems so when the whole of your position is on understanding the motives of the perpetrator, looking for causes for their behavior, seeking treatment for them, and doing as much as possible to keep them out of prison, since you see it as a place that makes them ten times worse. I just don't see the same attention and concern directed towards the victim by the justice system, or folks like yourself who appear so concerned for the perpetrators of crime.

Being unwilling to look at the situation in its entirety, means you're just shoving people in prison.
I’m willing to look at the entire situation. As I said, I think some people can be rehabilitated. Most criminals start with petty crimes, and move into more serious crimes, primarily, IMO, because sufficient punishment is not applied in those early crime stages. However, it is the group that shows no sign of willingness to be rehabilitated that I have focused on all along.
The group focus was not clear from your earlier statements. If that is your focus, then we can agree.

Shoving someone in prison who might be rehabilitated, means they have no options left in life.
Depending on the crime, and I am speaking of a crime such as this one where a girl slits the throat of another person, or a similar type crime, the perpetrator cannot simply be left free to commit more.
No one is arguing leaving her free to commit more crimes.
But this is what would happen if these two girls were judged to simply be all talk and not really a future threat to anyone (though they stabbed their victim 19 times and slashed her throat). Chazlee suggested that, "With proper medication and therapy, it is possible these two girls can turn their lives around and see the horrible deed they had done." Okay, maybe so, but if they are released after medication and therapy, I think it would be a good idea for those who release them to share equally in the punishment of the girls if they commit more crimes. The opportunity to prevent more victims carries more weight with me than the rehabilitation of those who have already shown an unwillingness to be good citizens.

In that case, you're only worsening their situation by keeping them locked in prison. Then I hope for your sake that they stay there for the rest of their lives because when they've done their time and they are released, they are going to be ten times worse than when they came in.
Well, if it were left up to me, she would never be released back into society, precisely because of what you said, she will be “ten times worse” than when she came in.
Are you willing to take responsibility for that?
No problem, although I’m sure you wouldn’t like my solution to that either.
If her case is considered thoroughly and she's been properly diagnosed to belong to that group you mentioned, then there's nothing that can be done. Then she cannot be released into society.



A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
Lotje1000
Posted: Saturday, August 06, 2016 5:05:16 AM

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FounDit wrote:

Umm,...I'm not ready to accept you as the voice for crime victims, since most all the victims I have come into contact with do feel the justice system focuses more on the rights of the criminal than the victim. And finding the perpetrator guilty is a completely separate thing from punishment. Negating guilt would mean the person is not a criminal in the first place. Having been found guilty, however, the punishment should fit the crime.
No one is negating guilt. And as you say, the punishment should fit the crime. That includes looking at circumstances and it also includes looking at the future and the likeliness of the crime being committed again. You can't do that without looking at the perpetrator and their motives. And their mental state, if relevant.

Well, it seems so when the whole of your position is on understanding the motives of the perpetrator, looking for causes for their behavior, seeking treatment for them, and doing as much as possible to keep them out of prison, since you see it as a place that makes them ten times worse. I just don't see the same attention and concern directed towards the victim by the justice system, or folks like yourself who appear so concerned for the perpetrators of crime.
Of course I'm concerned about the victims. That's why the situation needs to be judged carefully, same for the perpetrator. I doubt the victim feels safe knowing their aggressor is in prison and when they come out (because the justice system is far from perfect) will most likely not have suddenly gained a sense of personal responsibility. Prison is not an effective teaching implement. It's somewhere we stick people so we don't have to think about them anymore. The people who come out of prison better, are the people who are given a chance to develop. Just shoving them in there without further effort doesn't force people to face facts and repent.

In the interest of the victim and any future victims, it's best if the perpetrator is given every chance to figure out how they went wrong.


But this is what would happen if these two girls were judged to simply be all talk and not really a future threat to anyone (though they stabbed their victim 19 times and slashed her throat). Chazlee suggested that, "With proper medication and therapy, it is possible these two girls can turn their lives around and see the horrible deed they had done." Okay, maybe so, but if they are released after medication and therapy, I think it would be a good idea for those who release them to share equally in the punishment of the girls if they commit more crimes. The opportunity to prevent more victims carries more weight with me than the rehabilitation of those who have already shown an unwillingness to be good citizens.
What happened to personal responsibility? Now suddenly society has to take responsibility for the actions of a person? Then why don't we have to take responsibility when there are guns on the streets? By your reasoning here, you should take equal blame if someone fires upon innocents, because you're so keen to give people the opportunity to have a gun.

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