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May 16, 2021 - 5:23:17 AM

m06

England

10033 posts since 10/5/2006
Online Now

Justice.

The foundation stone of civil society.

And yet a blind faith in retribution fails to lower crime and repeat offenders. It just results in the endless and costly cycle of building more prisons and filling them up and building more prisons and filling them up and...

Numerous studies show that many crimes and repeat offenders are reduced by a restorative approach as well as giving victims an increased sense of justice and empowerment.

All law-abiding people want to see less crime in our communities. So why do we stick with an approach that doesn’t deliver that desired outcome?

May 16, 2021 - 5:40:20 AM
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figmo59

USA

33418 posts since 3/5/2008

Mebee the repeat offenders should be in charge....


Oh...wait..... :0/

May 16, 2021 - 6:53:20 AM

Owen

Canada

8617 posts since 6/5/2011

quote:
Originally posted by figmo59

Mebee the repeat offenders should be in charge.... <snip>


I don't see it as an all-or-nothing proposition.   MY thinking is that many Canadian detention facilities [and even parts of our "justice" system other than the actual facility] are managed (?) so as to ensure a high rate of recividism.     Any explanation (?) that I can come up with as to "why" involves a topic that shan't be discussed.

May 16, 2021 - 7:09:04 AM
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57400 posts since 12/14/2005

A philosopher by name of Woodrow Wilson Guthrie offered this opinion:

 ".... as through this world I've wandered

I've seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen."

 

And a fellow I refer to as Too Tall Todd offered another:
"Perhaps we should set free the poor, who were convicted of selling marijuana, before we allow the rich to make money by selling it legally."

May 16, 2021 - 7:46:05 AM

2649 posts since 2/10/2013

Society has been and always will have some unfair policies. Even some things that have been considered historically outstanding have had unfair features. A knowledgeable public can help offset this problem, but for some reason, this is often the case. With the mass media today, opportunists can easily mislead public perceptions.

May 16, 2021 - 7:55:39 AM

11941 posts since 1/15/2005

Well, the truth is that the vast majority of offenders and repeat offenders of lower crime do not wind up in prisons, so maybe that is why there is not much incentive for them to stop. While my son was in college he had his car broken into (on campus) and his golf clubs were stolen. The thief was caught, clubs had long been disposed of, and he was ordered by the court to pay restitution. I think my son got one check for around $12 and another one never arrived. I don't know what the answer is, but we do not have enough prisons for all criminals, and I agree all should not go to jail, but the alternative isn't working either.

May 16, 2021 - 8:27:52 AM

banjo bill-e

Tuvalu

11060 posts since 2/22/2007

We have discussed the myth of the Social Contract, but any such mythical "deal" between private citizens and any government HAS to include an element of retribution to take the place of the private retribution, or revenge, that would otherwise be standard operating procedure. To have one's daughter violently raped and the offender be sent to counseling is just not going to cut it in the real world. We no longer hunt down and castrate the offender but we expect a measure of punishment to be fairly administered by an impartial justice system, and YES that is an essential function. It's not all about the misguided perpetrator and what would be best for them.

May 16, 2021 - 10:13:13 AM

m06

England

10033 posts since 10/5/2006
Online Now

Note that the OP refers to restorative justice in relation to some crimes.

Why fire off an ‘all or nothing’ response instead of stopping, thinking and applying finer distinctions?

Is this knee-jerk lack of distinction maybe a clue to why the US has the highest incarceration rate in the developed world?

Edited by - m06 on 05/16/2021 10:14:45

May 16, 2021 - 10:21:03 AM
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Owen

Canada

8617 posts since 6/5/2011

quote:
Originally posted by m06

<snip> Why fire off an ‘all or nothing’ response ......  ?


Is that ^^ a rhetorical question?   Is this a rhetorical question?  wink

May 16, 2021 - 10:36:37 AM
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2292 posts since 3/29/2008

There is another important factor that doesn't come under either restoration or retribution, and that is to ensure the safety of the public and their property. This really only applies to larger scale crimes though, so putting those aside.

I think the evidence that prisons deter criminals is very weak. In fact, I read a study a while ago (can't remember where), but it was investigating crime deterrence for youth offenders in London. It essentially concluded that more severe punishments does not deter criminals... because criminals don't expect to get caught. On the other hand, it found that increasing the likelihood of getting caught does deter criminals... and it deters them independently of the punishment.

Personally, I believe that the justice system should deal in all three factors - restorative, retributive, and protective. But I think its a really fine balancing act to get it right. I don't think its reasonable that a criminal record follows you around for the rest of your life if you're guilty of having done something minor and dumb in your youth. I mean... who hasn't? But I also think that there are people who can't be rehabilitated, and so in the interest of the rest of society, they should be locked up for good... or killed maybe? That's a different debate.

May 16, 2021 - 10:41:05 AM

57400 posts since 12/14/2005

What are these??

Is THAT ^^ a rheostatitcal question?  cheeky

May 16, 2021 - 10:43:34 AM

57400 posts since 12/14/2005

OK, seriously:
The guy who stole Irene's van drove it until it got a flat, pulled into a motel parking lot, left it there, and stole another car.
He was caught, and was ordered to pay for having the punched out locks replaced.
Never did.

May 16, 2021 - 11:32:21 AM

banjo bill-e

Tuvalu

11060 posts since 2/22/2007

Where is my "all or nothing" reply? Show it. Mike posted a question about why a justice system would be focused on retribution rather than redemption. My reply brought up a vital element of all justice systems, one that he somehow left out as unimportant. I never made any such all or nothing statement. So stop with the stupid "all or nothing" nonsense, because I never said that. If you want conversation then engage with what is actually said.
Is it not MIKE that is "all or nothing" with his --"And yet a blind faith in retribution fails to lower crime and repeat offenders--"
So who has this blind faith? Where is he seeing this? Who is he accusing of having this blind faith? Everyone other than him?

There is always some tension between the issues of punishment and rehabilitation. How about considering the rehabilitation AFTER the punishment, rather than INSTEAD of punishment? That addresses both of society's legitimate concerns. But punishment is very much a legitimate concern. Forget the rapist, what about the one who defrauds people out of their savings? You want to just focus on "restorative treatment"? Well all those impoverished by a con man want to see him suffer, and rightly so.

Edited by - banjo bill-e on 05/16/2021 11:33:29

May 16, 2021 - 11:46:21 AM

donc

Canada

6566 posts since 2/9/2010

I look upon incarceration as a protection of society. It boils my blood when someone has a history of assaults and they are allowed out on bail or a Micky Mouse probation. This also includes non violent offenders who can't stop stealing cars or breaking into homes.

May 16, 2021 - 12:12:54 PM

banjo bill-e

Tuvalu

11060 posts since 2/22/2007

Don, that is another vital element, and deterrence is one more.

So, goals of any justice system in random order:
1. Punishment of wrongdoers by an impartial justice system as a replacement for individual revenge.
2. Deterring others who might be tempted but fear punishment.
3. Protection of society from those who will not be civilized.
4. Rehabilitation of the offender so that they might rejoin civilized society.
And???? What else?

All of the above is based upon legitimate crimes, i.e., crimes with a victim. We have to get rid of victimless crimes for any justice system to have legitimacy.

May 16, 2021 - 3:12:33 PM
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Tommy5

USA

3753 posts since 2/22/2009
Online Now

Treat drug addiction as a medical problem , not a legal matter, and the prisons will empty, give up the war on drugs, nobody is killing people for alcohol distribution rights. This would end the revenue flow for street gangs and automatically defund the police ,.

May 16, 2021 - 3:30:58 PM

banjo bill-e

Tuvalu

11060 posts since 2/22/2007

I agree with Tommy about treating drug abuse as a medical problem, but that will not empty the prisons. It would, however, provide more room for those who do not need to be released so early, which happens when they are short of space.

Ed, I am certain that prisons do deter crime, at least as long as the criminal is incarcerated. My objection to the death penalty is practical rather than theoretical, as we simply cannot trust officials to get this right. We can't even trust DA's to tell the truth in court, and for some perverse reason, getting convictions is a career boost with little to no downside for getting it wrong.

May 16, 2021 - 3:56:17 PM
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11941 posts since 1/15/2005

quote:
Originally posted by banjo bill-e

I agree with Tommy about treating drug abuse as a medical problem, but that will not empty the prisons. It would, however, provide more room for those who do not need to be released so early, which happens when they are short of space.

Ed, I am certain that prisons do deter crime, at least as long as the criminal is incarcerated. My objection to the death penalty is practical rather than theoretical, as we simply cannot trust officials to get this right. We can't even trust DA's to tell the truth in court, and for some perverse reason, getting convictions is a career boost with little to no downside for getting it wrong.


I don't necessarily disagree with Bill & Tommy, but I have a hard time believing that the gangs of Chicago and LA, and all the major cities, will not find another revenue source that will result in just as much crime.  But treating addiction as a medical problem is a step in the right direction and for the most part I think most places are starting to do that.

In recent years I think we have seen Bill's comments on the DAs playing out.  Not only is it a problem with them telling the truth, but you can add failing to prosecute heinous crimes to that also.

May 16, 2021 - 4:24:37 PM
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banjo bill-e

Tuvalu

11060 posts since 2/22/2007

Mike, what does a restorative approach that yields better outcomes look like? The word "restorative" implies that there is something to be restored. Are criminals lacking something that can in fact be restored? If so, what and how?

May 16, 2021 - 4:52:13 PM
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Owen

Canada

8617 posts since 6/5/2011

I can't answer for Mike, but this is what the Canadian government wants us to know about restorative justice: https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/rj-jr/index.html

May 16, 2021 - 5:24:57 PM
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Wyozark

USA

1107 posts since 12/2/2012

It's been a while, but I recall when the concept of Restorative Justice was introduced. The federals under the Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons had/have a department that researches and provides training for state and local criminal justice systems. The Feds encouraged state agencies to adopt a restorative justice element.

We did what we could, given our understanding of the underlying philosophy.

I'd like to read the studies Mike/m06 refers to that show the efficacy of the Restorative Justice approach.

And of the comments I've read, won't be disagreein' with any of you. But I gotta say that I think Edthebanjo has a pretty good grasp of what I think are some of the issues.

May 16, 2021 - 5:54:52 PM

2292 posts since 3/29/2008

quote:
Originally posted by banjo bill-e

Ed, I am certain that prisons do deter crime, at least as long as the criminal is incarcerated. My objection to the death penalty is practical rather than theoretical, as we simply cannot trust officials to get this right. We can't even trust DA's to tell the truth in court, and for some perverse reason, getting convictions is a career boost with little to no downside for getting it wrong.


Okay, that's true! But I mean it's not a long term solution for smaller crimes. I mean, in the case of drug dealers lets say, I would bet that about 99% of them never get caught. But you still want to stop those 99% from dealing... one way might be to give really serious punishments if you are in the 1% that do get caught. Well, as it turns out, that doesn't have the effect of deterring the wannabe drug dealers, and it doesn't prevent very much of the crime by locking them up, since you're only catching a very small percentage of them.

With the death penalty thing, I pretty much wholly agree with you there. I am of the opinion that there are crimes for which death is the only just punishment. However, I'm not willing to give the state that power.

May 16, 2021 - 8:21:09 PM

banjo bill-e

Tuvalu

11060 posts since 2/22/2007

Is there a place for corporal punishment in the justice system? Would a few licks from a Singapore cane master be more of a deterrent for repeat offenders than a year in prison?

May 16, 2021 - 8:24:25 PM

2292 posts since 3/29/2008

quote:
Originally posted by banjo bill-e

Is there a place for corporal punishment in the justice system? Would a few licks from a Singapore cane master be more of a deterrent for repeat offenders than a year in prison?


I wouldn't have thought so... I lived in Singapore for quite some time, and they rarely use it anymore... causes more problems than it solves.

May 16, 2021 - 8:45:08 PM

banjo bill-e

Tuvalu

11060 posts since 2/22/2007

^^ thanks for the info.

May 17, 2021 - 11:21:17 AM
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Wyozark

USA

1107 posts since 12/2/2012

A couple of personal observations:

It is correct that the USA, with a population of 330+ million has the highest incarceration rate in the world. (Not counting Uighurs - they are in re-education camps, not prison. And it's not like they are making license plates; they are making solar panels, Nike shoes and I-phones and things we just aren't able to make here in the USA.)

There are resources for those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol and most states have special courts dedicated to this problem. So to my knowledge treating drug abuse as a medical problem is and has already been done on a large scale for years. I don't know exactly what else could be proposed to reduce drug crime except to make meth and fentanyl totally legal, along with cocaine, heroin, etc.. No law to break means no arrests; no arrests mean no prison. On a smaller scale this philosophy is being tried. Some cities no longer arrest people for shoplifting or theft below a certain value (around a thousand bucks, I think). Shopkeepers can just raise their prices to cover the loss. Easy peasy. And if you are a home owner you got insurance - right? I guess it works. The perps get what they need without the hassle of doing any time or having a mark against their character. And the taxpayers benefit from not having to pay for them to be tried or housed or undergo expensive programming to correct whatever defects they may have. I can't think of any downside of this. . .

Trouble is, drug abuse isn't the only problem for the ones I've seen locked up. Violence and theft just seems to be a part of them; they'd be in prison regardless of whether they are drug abusers. I so greatly appreciated the letter I got from an inmate who we were making attend a drug rehab class. He refused to participate because, he asserted, he was a thief and not a drug addict.

I don't know why I'm writing this. I've told myself to just drop it. I'm not in corrections anymore. It doesn't matter. I no longer have any influence in the profession. Yet I still tend to get drawn in by the topic of criminality and prisons and such.

Here's my take: To reduce crime and reduce the number of men in prison, then make law and policies to restore the family. Do what it takes to get the real father back to living with his own children and the birthing person of his children. Do this and there will be a bonus of reducing poverty as well. What it would take to do this, of course, is an anathema to the elites of our society and culture. So it will never happen, at least in my lifetime.

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