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08/11/2008 07:31:49 PM · #1
We've had discussions about taxes, welfare and law enforcement in other threads (usually completely off-topic). I'd like to start a little thought experiment here on the issue of punishment.

The topic is something I've been wanting to write about for a long time and this is kind of a "trial run" in a small circle. I'm curious to hear what your thoughts are. This is supposed to be a civilized discussion and not a rant, so please be nice. ;-)

Here we go:

Let's say you had the choice between two theoretical futures:

A) We let all criminals out of prison. We stop looking for those not caught yet. However, you'd be guaranteed that they won't ever commit another crime. Crime rates will be at zero. (Yes, this is unrealistic. Please just accept it as given for the purpose of the thought experiment.)

B) You are guaranteed that every single criminal is eventually caught and punished. However, crime rates would remain at the same level they are at now. (Again, please just accept this as a premise of the though experiment.)

The question now is: Which future would you prefer?

We could make the scenarios a bit more realistic by changing them slightly:

A*) Most criminals get caught, some don't. Those caught each spend one year in some kind of treatment facility where they are treated well, are educated and are taught social values. They enjoy this time, are better people afterwards and are unlikely to commit a crime again. Crime rates are low. (Again: Please just accept this for the experiment.)

B*) Most criminals get caught, some don't. Those caught each spend years in prison, where they are punished, humiliated, raped. This time is a horrible experience for them. When they get out, they are often in worse condition than before. Many of them continue to commit crimes. Crime rates are high. (Again, you know the story...)

Which scenario would you prefer? A* or B*?

What this boils down to is: What is more important to you, a safe society or punishment of criminals?

And as bonus questions:

If you chose B*:

Let's again consider two scenarios (independent of the previous ones):
C) Someone rapes a girl, is never caught, but also never commits a crime again. He leads a happy life afterwards.
D) Someone rapes a girl, continues to rape girls afterwards, is eventually caught and put in jail for decades.

If you had these two (theoretical) scenarios to choose from, which one would you prefer? If you chose D), would you reconsider if you knew your daughter was among the later girls?

If you chose A*:

Which scenario do you think our current situation is closer to, A* or B*? And what could we do to move it closer to A*?

Again: Please try and see these as theoretical scenarios and discuss them accordingly. Please don't say something like "But this is unrealistic!" or change the scenarios by writing something like "But he would certainly rape again if he did it once!".

I hope we'll have an interesting discussion...

P.S.: I expect some people to mention the importance of punishment as a deterrent. Please consider that once someone has committed a crime and got caught the deterrent already failed. And in light of our current prison population and crime rates the deterrent doesn't seem to be very effective. In this thought experiment, deterrent is not an issue because crime rates are considered given for the different scenarios.

(edited for spelling and clarity)

Message edited by author 2008-08-11 20:53:02.
08/11/2008 07:35:46 PM · #2
I like the one about no more crime. However, I would feel badly for a parent whose child was the victim of a brutal crime and the criminal was free to live his life out in total freedom.

I would wonder if that parent would trade his childs killer's freedom for the peace of mind knowing that no other children would be hurt by anyone ....ever.

Edit: In senario A where everyone is let out of prison...would the executed come back to life? ;-)

Message edited by author 2008-08-11 19:39:21.
08/11/2008 07:46:37 PM · #3
Originally posted by kenskid:

I like the one about no more crime. However, I would feel badly for a parent whose child was the victim of a brutal crime and the criminal was free to live his life out in total freedom.

So would you choose D) over C)?

Message edited by author 2008-08-11 19:46:51.
08/11/2008 07:51:01 PM · #4
But these are a little different. I assumed that "C" was already in jail for his crime and released when the world changed to "never have a crime again"

As "C" is below...I would want the guy caught because it seems that "C" can rape a girl...never be caught but never rape again.

Am I seeing this right? Or did I not link A and C correctly?

C) Someone rapes a girl, is never caught, but also never commits a crime again. He leads a happy life afterwards.

D) Someone rapes a girl, continues to rape girls afterwards, is eventually caught and put in jail for decades.

Originally posted by Sam94720:

Originally posted by kenskid:

I like the one about no more crime. However, I would feel badly for a parent whose child was the victim of a brutal crime and the criminal was free to live his life out in total freedom.

So would you choose D) over C)?

08/11/2008 07:52:23 PM · #5
C) and D) are independent of the A) and B) scenarios. Sorry for the confusion. The C) guy never sees a jail from the inside.
08/11/2008 07:56:58 PM · #6
I think I take C. I'd want him hunted down and caught after the first rape. We currently live in the "C" world. Someone rapes...police are called, we try to find him...if he is not caught quick he usually rapes again until caught.

I don't think I could live with someone brutally raping a child and then magically he no longer has the urge or motivation to rape again and lives free.

Originally posted by Sam94720:

C) and D) are independent of the A) and B) scenarios. Sorry for the confusion. The C) guy never sees a jail from the inside.


Message edited by author 2008-08-11 19:57:14.
08/11/2008 07:59:17 PM · #7
Originally posted by Sam94720:

C) and D) are independent of the A) and B) scenarios. Sorry for the confusion. The C) guy never sees a jail from the inside.


Hmm, so basically all you have to give up for choosing C is revenge/punishment and for that you get less girls raped? Umm, yeah that one.

Message edited by author 2008-08-11 19:59:58.
08/11/2008 08:00:47 PM · #8
.

Message edited by author 2008-08-11 20:01:14.
08/11/2008 08:02:27 PM · #9
Originally posted by yanko:

Hmm, so basically all you have to give up for choosing C is revenge/punishment and for that you get less girls raped? Umm, yeah that one.

Yes, basically. Neither of the two alternatives is perfect. The question is which one you prefer if you can only choose between these two.

' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31_N.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31_N.gif', '/') + 1) . ' kenskid, I see you're not very happy with C). You'd prefer him to get caught afterwards. However, assuming that both scenarios play out exactly as described and you could only choose between the two of them, would you choose C)?
08/11/2008 08:09:43 PM · #10
Yes...C because it seems that everyone could brutally rape a child knowing that he will never get caught AND never have the urge to brutally rape again.

Edit:

Let's do a bank robbery....I could waltz into a bank...empty the safe of 2.7 million dollars...shoot a teller...live out my life free but never commit another crime...SWEET !
Originally posted by Sam94720:



' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31_N.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31_N.gif', '/') + 1) . ' kenskid, I see you're not very happy with C). You'd prefer him to get caught afterwards. However, assuming that both scenarios play out exactly as described and you could only choose between the two of them, would you choose C)?


Message edited by author 2008-08-11 20:12:55.
08/11/2008 08:14:59 PM · #11
But you don't get "less" girls raped...you do get "less" girls raped by THAT person...but others are free to rape at least once.

Originally posted by yanko:

Originally posted by Sam94720:

C) and D) are independent of the A) and B) scenarios. Sorry for the confusion. The C) guy never sees a jail from the inside.


Hmm, so basically all you have to give up for choosing C is revenge/punishment and for that you get less girls raped? Umm, yeah that one.

08/11/2008 08:18:39 PM · #12
Originally posted by kenskid:

But you don't get "less" girls raped...you do get "less" girls raped by THAT person...but others are free to rape at least once.

A) and B) refer to policies and overall crime rates. However, C) and D) are just meant to be one independent example about one case. I just tried to make a more personal example to highlight the difference.
08/11/2008 08:32:03 PM · #13
Originally posted by kenskid:

Let's do a bank robbery....I could waltz into a bank...empty the safe of 2.7 million dollars...shoot a teller...live out my life free but never commit another crime...SWEET !


So someone rapes your child and is free...and will never do it again. I shoot and kill the SOB and am free and will never do it again. (Unless someone commits another crime against me or my family). Turns into an eye for an eye scenario. Sounds good!
08/11/2008 08:34:13 PM · #14
Originally posted by dacrazyrn:

Originally posted by kenskid:

Let's do a bank robbery....I could waltz into a bank...empty the safe of 2.7 million dollars...shoot a teller...live out my life free but never commit another crime...SWEET !


So someone rapes your child and is free...and will never do it again. I shoot and kill the SOB and am free and will never do it again. (Unless someone commits another crime against me or my family). Turns into an eye for an eye scenario. Sounds good!


Good thinking! I pick that option.
08/11/2008 08:37:48 PM · #15
Originally posted by kenskid:

But you don't get "less" girls raped...you do get "less" girls raped by THAT person...but others are free to rape at least once.

Originally posted by yanko:

Originally posted by Sam94720:

C) and D) are independent of the A) and B) scenarios. Sorry for the confusion. The C) guy never sees a jail from the inside.


Hmm, so basically all you have to give up for choosing C is revenge/punishment and for that you get less girls raped? Umm, yeah that one.


I think what he is getting at is there are other ways to reduce the crime rate than just punishing people. One could easily argue that the US is a police state. It's really mindblowing how many people we have put in jail so clearly current means of handling the situation isn't working.

Message edited by author 2008-08-11 20:39:01.
08/11/2008 08:41:34 PM · #16
Maybe so but to jump from "C" and then compare it to the US criminal justice system is not realistic.

What would Yanko's criminal justice involve....surely not letting criminals go "the first time" with the promise of "never doing it again"...

Originally posted by yanko:

Originally posted by kenskid:

But you don't get "less" girls raped...you do get "less" girls raped by THAT person...but others are free to rape at least once.

Originally posted by yanko:

Originally posted by Sam94720:

C) and D) are independent of the A) and B) scenarios. Sorry for the confusion. The C) guy never sees a jail from the inside.


Hmm, so basically all you have to give up for choosing C is revenge/punishment and for that you get less girls raped? Umm, yeah that one.


I think what he is getting at is there are other ways to reduce the crime rate than just punishing people. One could easily argue that the US is a police state. It's really mindblowing how many people we have put in jail so clearly current means of handling the situation isn't working.


Message edited by author 2008-08-11 20:43:13.
08/11/2008 08:44:10 PM · #17
Originally posted by kenskid:

Maybe so but to jump from "C" and then compare it to the US criminal justice system is not realistic.

Originally posted by yanko:

Originally posted by kenskid:

But you don't get "less" girls raped...you do get "less" girls raped by THAT person...but others are free to rape at least once.

Originally posted by yanko:

Originally posted by Sam94720:

C) and D) are independent of the A) and B) scenarios. Sorry for the confusion. The C) guy never sees a jail from the inside.


Hmm, so basically all you have to give up for choosing C is revenge/punishment and for that you get less girls raped? Umm, yeah that one.


I think what he is getting at is there are other ways to reduce the crime rate than just punishing people. One could easily argue that the US is a police state. It's really mindblowing how many people we have put in jail so clearly current means of handling the situation isn't working.


Like I said I think that is where he is going with this. It would be a big jump as it stands now. Agreed.
08/11/2008 08:44:17 PM · #18
Originally posted by LoudDog:

Originally posted by dacrazyrn:

Originally posted by kenskid:

Let's do a bank robbery....I could waltz into a bank...empty the safe of 2.7 million dollars...shoot a teller...live out my life free but never commit another crime...SWEET !


So someone rapes your child and is free...and will never do it again. I shoot and kill the SOB and am free and will never do it again. (Unless someone commits another crime against me or my family). Turns into an eye for an eye scenario. Sounds good!


Good thinking! I pick that option.

Please understand that C) and D) do not refer to general policies. I never mentioned a policy of "Let everyone get away the first time." and I don't wish to discuss it.

So let's focus on A*) and B*):

In the case of your bank robbery story, it would play out like this:

Under A*): If you're lucky you're never caught. If you are caught, you lose the money you stole, spend a year at a treatment facility and are unlikely to ever commit a crime again.

Under B*): If you're lucky you're never caught. If you are caught, you spend 15 years in prison, where you get 3 tattoos, in a fight twice a week and raped every two weeks. When you get out, you are likely to rob another bank, but this time you'll make sure to kill everyone so that nobody can push the damn alarm button.

Let's please not discuss every detail of this specific crime, this will lead nowhere. Let's focus on the general scenarios outlined instead.

Message edited by author 2008-08-11 20:46:07.
08/11/2008 08:47:29 PM · #19
Originally posted by Sam94720:

Originally posted by LoudDog:

Originally posted by dacrazyrn:

Originally posted by kenskid:

Let's do a bank robbery....I could waltz into a bank...empty the safe of 2.7 million dollars...shoot a teller...live out my life free but never commit another crime...SWEET !


So someone rapes your child and is free...and will never do it again. I shoot and kill the SOB and am free and will never do it again. (Unless someone commits another crime against me or my family). Turns into an eye for an eye scenario. Sounds good!


Good thinking! I pick that option.

Please understand that C) and D) do not refer to general policies.

So let's focus on A*) and B*):

In the case of your bank robbery story, it would play out like this:

Under A*): If you're lucky you're never caught. If you are caught, you lose the money you stole, spend a year at a treatment facility and are unlikely to ever commit a crime again.

Under B*): If you're lucky you're never caught. If you are caught, you spend 15 years in prison, where you get 3 tattoos, in a fight twice a week and raped every two weeks. When you get out, you are likely to rob another bank, but this time you'll make sure to kill everyone so that nobody can push the damn alarm button.

Let's please not discuss every detail of this specific crime, this will lead nowhere. Let's focus on the general scenarios outlined instead.


But what gaurantees that you wont commit a crime again with A? Criminals get thrills out of commiting crimes and not getting caught, a lot of times that is what makes them repeat the crimes, not necessarily the money from the bank robbery (for example) So if a person robs a bank, serves a year in jail, why would they NOT do it again?

Just like serial killers. THey kill for the THRILL of it, not always just to kill someone. They play games with law enforcement, that is the thrill to see how much they can get away with before they are caught.

If anything, I think we need stricter punishments in this country!
08/11/2008 08:50:10 PM · #20
Yikes ! Be ready to get clobbered here at DPC !

gwe21
If anything, I think we need stricter punishments in this country!

Message edited by author 2008-08-11 20:50:58.
08/11/2008 08:51:07 PM · #21
Originally posted by gwe21:

If anything, I think we need stricter punishments in this country!

Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!
08/11/2008 08:51:17 PM · #22
Originally posted by gwe21:

But what gaurantees that you wont commit a crime again with A? Criminals get thrills out of commiting crimes and not getting caught, a lot of times that is what makes them repeat the crimes, not necessarily the money from the bank robbery (for example) So if a person robs a bank, serves a year in jail, why would they NOT do it again?

As I wrote in the original post, please just assume the facts outlined in the theoretical scenarios as given. Consider A*) and B*) if you feel they are more realistic.

Originally posted by gwe21:

If anything, I think we need stricter punishments in this country!

Like what? Cutting the hands of thiefs off, for example? Do you think that would lower crime rates?
08/11/2008 08:51:47 PM · #23
Man could I have been wrong about the clobbering?

Originally posted by dacrazyrn:

Originally posted by gwe21:

If anything, I think we need stricter punishments in this country!

Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!

08/11/2008 08:53:12 PM · #24
I know I wouldn't shoplift if the first offence was to get my hands cut off!

Originally posted by Sam94720:


Like what? Cutting the hands of thiefs off, for example? Do you think that would lower crime rates?

08/11/2008 08:57:02 PM · #25
Originally posted by kenskid:

I know I wouldn't shoplift if the first offence was to get my hands cut off!

Yes, so you might abstain from shoplifting. Somebody else who is in a more dire situation than you are might reach a different conclusion: He needs to make sure not to get caught, so he'll bring a gun and kill the shop owner so that he can never identify the thief.
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