Forums - General Discussion - Are Punishments Really Idealistic?

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We are all well aware of the purpose of punishments: By punishing disobeying individuals, individuals who fear punishments will fear disobedience. And this is evidently an effective method of keeping us in check. After all, if everything suddenly was legalized, it would (from my understanding) be safe to say that the occurrence of previously illegal acts would sky-rocket, as previously insecure criminals (well, and simply poor people) now would be able to steal anything they find valuable without any legal consequences. So, there we have the good side of punishments; it discourages people from killing, stealing and doing other unpleasant things to each other, and it's pretty safe to say that in the end less people will be hurt.

...But what about the bad side of punishments? Namely the part where the punished individual actually is hurt. I mean, let's say that there was a perfect alternative method of dealing with criminals. This method purely consisted of rehabilitation, and the end result was that the criminal always sincerely felt bad for their crimes. If they were to apologize to the victim or his/her relatives following this treatment, would a punishment really be a necessary act? Would they really deserve to suffer even further beyond their already severe regrets?

As I see it, all who still thinks that a person need to be punished beyond that point do so because of their sadistic nature (which we all have more or less of). After all, the purpose of punishment is to stop people from committing crimes, and since that would already be accomplished, these people would have another reason to support punishments: The pleasure of watching the criminal suffer just like their victims did.

 

I say that it's inhumane to punish a criminal who is sincerely sorry about its actions; what do you say? Can a person deserve to be punished for its actions no matter how much it regrets them?

 

Please note that I'm well aware that punishments are currently one of the best and cheapest methods of stopping criminal acts from occurring, and therefore do not oppose them at this point. I only oppose them in an ideal world where the perfect- or highly effective treatment such as the example above is possible.



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Legalize all drugs and give the addicts that want help treatment rather than jail time. It would free up a lot of prisons to actually contain criminals that hurt people like rapist, murders, and child molesters.  Private prisons are a big business and it should have never gotten to this point.  Private companies should not own prisons.



sethnintendo said:

Legalize all drugs and give the addicts that want help treatment rather than jail time. It would free up a lot of prisons to actually contain criminals that hurt people like rapist, murders, and child molesters.  Private prisons are a big business and it should have never gotten to this point.  Private companies should not own prisons.

Yeah, making people profit from having more criminals in their jail is disastrous. (Because that's how they profit, right?)

America seems to have a great pile of things that they probably shouldn't have done in the first place but have to keep since it's already there: Private prisons, the two major parties and guns, to name a few.



IIIIITHE1IIIII said:
sethnintendo said:

Legalize all drugs and give the addicts that want help treatment rather than jail time. It would free up a lot of prisons to actually contain criminals that hurt people like rapist, murders, and child molesters.  Private prisons are a big business and it should have never gotten to this point.  Private companies should not own prisons.

Yeah, making people profit from having more criminals in their jail is disastrous. (Because that's how they profit, right?)

America seems to have a great pile of things that they shouldn't have done in the first place but have to keep since it's already there: Private prisons, the two major parties and guns, to name a few.

Yea, they profit with more prisoners.  This also usually means more workers (I believe some put them to work for cheap labor with the prison company probably getting decent compensation while throwing chump change to the prisoner).  So it is almost like a form of slavery.

"Federal and state government has a long history of contracting out specific services to private firms, including medical services, food preparation, vocational training, and inmate transportation. The 1980s, though, ushered in a new era of prison privatization. With a burgeoning prison population resulting from the War on Drugs and increased use of incarceration, prison overcrowding and rising costs became increasingly problematic for local, state, and federal governments. In response to this expanding criminal justice system, private business interests saw an opportunity for expansion, and consequently, private-sector involvement in prisons moved from the simple contracting of services to contracting for the complete management and operation of entire prisons"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_prison

You can thank Reagan and the war on drugs for driving this "job growth".  I honestly don't see why Republicans look up to Reagan so much.



Your plan would make sense if we could somehow read other people's minds to determine if they were truly regretful. Unfortunately, we don't have an accurate method to make that assessment. And even if a person is truly regretful, that only describes their current state of mind. We have no way to determine how they will feel in the future, so we can't know if they will commit future crimes or not; that would require a time machine.

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Jay520 said:
Your plan would make sense if we could somehow read other people's minds to determine if they were truly regretful. Unfortunately, we don't have an accurate method to make that assessment. And even if a person is truly regretful, that only describes their current state of mind. We have no way to determine how they will feel in the future, so we can't know if they will commit future crimes or not; that would require a time machine.




I think Punishment works on a flawed bases, similar to how dictators rule through fear. By forcing someone into a position they do not care for or like, you supposedly divert them from doing that thing again. Yet if teenagers teach us anything, is the harder you suppress the stronger the rebellion. Yes, it seemingly will be under control for a while.....until it explodes in your face. Why do you think most preacher kids turn into drug addicts and whores? Too much control(which punishing is an act of control) always backfires.


The legal system is heavily flawed in that regard, where it uses jail as a deterrent from doing certain things. If you have ever watched Bill Maher, he brings up some great points. Why do we punish drug addicts with prison? They are obviously going through personal turmoil and need help and we......punish them? Why not get them proper counselling and help them better themselves so they can actually become a productive member of society. Nope, that is too logical and doesn't lead the gov't to billions of dollars every year....

Positive reinforcement has been stated to be the more effective method. Instead of telling a child not to do something, then when they ask the infamous "Why?" question your only retort is "Because I said so!" What you should do is carefully explain WHY things have to be in the way as you stated. Let this not detere the simple fact that humans learn via trial and error. We find it difficult to take things at another person's word unless they have a habit of being right. "Don't touch that stove Timmy. Why? because if you do its going to hurt really bad and you will be here crying........TSSSS! OW! See, I told you".


Now if that doesn't work after countless attempts..................... you might be dealing with a sociopath so punish away.

   

   

If you ask most people the purpose of the legal system in criminal cases, they'll probably tell you that it's to punish criminals. The primary reason, however, is not to punish, but to protect society. That is the overriding goal. Retribution and revenge might feel good to the victim, but that should be a lesser point to the actual system.

In the eyes of the system, getting people out of prison and ensuring that they will abstain from criminal behavior in the future is the perfect outcome. Rehabilitation, if possible, should be the focus.

Sometimes I see people get convicted of manslaughter in accidents and I can't help but think how they're going to prison for something people do every single day but normally get away with. Yeah, they were negligent, but mostly they just got really unlucky. It's such a fine line. Everyone speeds, but now and then speeding ends up costing someone their life. Everyone looks down at the phone while driving once in awhile, but sometimes, very rarely, it gets someone killed.

When that happens I can't help but think that the person responsible has already been punished to a chilling degree, and not only that, but from now on they'll probably be less likely to repeat that behavior than the average person. Yet the law calls for punishment.

It's an imperfect system. When dealing with the complexities of life, however, there probably is no such thing as a perfect system.

Jay520 said:
Your plan would make sense if we could somehow read other people's minds to determine if they were truly regretful. Unfortunately, we don't have an accurate method to make that assessment. And even if a person is truly regretful, that only describes their current state of mind. We have no way to determine how they will feel in the future, so we can't know if they will commit future crimes or not; that would require a time machine.


We wouldn't need to read their minds if the rehabilitation truly was perfect.

In many (if not every) civilised countries part of stopping crimes from recur is to find out why the crime was commited in the first place. A poor upbringing can be one reason, poor economy can be another, mental disabilities or shortcomings can be yet another, even the inclination of taking a risk without expecting a crime to occur can be a reason, but what all cases have in common is that they can be treated, or at least be dealt with to prevent future crimes. Different forms of treatment can compensate for a poor upbringing, poverty and mental illnesses. In the last case committing what ended up as a crime could even be the treatment. And one thing that all these have in common is that I wouldn't put any criminal who committed their crimes for those reasons through harm. Why punish someone for having a poor upbringing, disability, poor judgement or for being poor?

Still, the problem that you presented still applies to punishments. How do we know that a person who has been punished won't commit a crime again? How do we know that they regret doing what they've done after being punished? We don't. Punishing them is just an attempt at discouraging them and future potential criminals from commiting crimes. Treating criminals and giving people few reasons to committ crimes in the first place through other methods than fear of harm is an alternative attempt at doing the same thing. In fact, the latter also seems to be a more successful method, given how more wealthy countries tend to give their criminals less severe punishments and more treatments.



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IIIIITHE1IIIII said:

We wouldn't need to read their minds if the rehabilitation truly was perfect.

In many (if not every) civilised countries part of stopping crimes from recur is to find out why the crime was commited in the first place. A poor upbringing can be one reason, poor economy can be another, mental disabilities or shortcomings can be yet another, even the inclination of taking a risk without expecting a crime to occur can be areason, but what all cases have in common is that they can be treated, or at least be dealt with to prevent future crimes. Different forms of treatment can compensate for a poor upbringing, poverty and mental illnesses. In the last case committing what ended up as a crime could even be the treatment. And one thing that all these have in common is that I wouldn't put any criminal who committed their crimes for those reasons through harm. Why punish someone for having a poor upbringing, disability, poor judgement or for being poor?

Still, the problem that you presented still applies to punishments. How do we know that a person who has been punished won't commit a crime again? How do we know that they regret doing what they've done after being punished? We don't. Punishing them is just an attempt at discouraging them and future potential criminals from commiting crimes. Treating criminals and giving people few reasons to committ crimes in the first place through other methods than fear of harm is an alternative attempt at doing the same thing. In fact, the latter also seems to be a more successful method, given how more wealthy countries tend to give their criminals less severe punishments and more treatments.


Sure, if rehabiliation was perfect, then there would be no need for prisons. The world would definitely be different if certain things were different.

As for the last paragraph, punishment is just for rehabilitation. It's also to contain criminals and to deter potential criminals. Something, other forms of treatment cannot do.

Instead of seperating an ideal rehabilitation with prison, why not combine them? Prisons are advantageous because they keep criminals from society. At the same time though, prisoners can recieve this perfect rehabilitation you speak of.