The purpose of criminal justice
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 1 Votes - 5 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
13-06-2016, 10:09 AM
The purpose of criminal justice
So another thread got me thinking about this. What is the purpose of our criminal justice system? What SHOULD it be?

We put a LOT of people in jail, most for no good reason. I've been taught that our prison system serves three purposes, rehabilitation, deterrence, and punishment. How well does it do each of these and should these be the goals of a prison system? How do we better meet these goals?

In terms of rehabilitation our prisons do a piss poor job of it. Most of our inmates are there for drug crimes, and as such putting them in jail does little for them to rehabilitate them. Most will end back in jail shortly after their release. So clearly this is not rehabilitating them. Should drug offenders be put in a small enclosed area with violent offenders and be stripped of their liberties? Or should they be treated like patients with a problem and sent to drug rehabilitation and therapy centers which specialize in this? How about those in prison for other crimes, does the prison system help rehabilitate them? Again, not really. Which is a pity, because they really do need behaviour modification.

The second goal of prisons is supposed to be deterrence. Is it effective in this? It's hard to tell, but my guess would be no. If you look at states that have the death penalty vs those that do not you do not find that those with the death penalty have a lower murder rate (in fact you find the opposite, which is based on reasons which aren't relevant to this discussion). Criminals do not think they will get caught, or that they will go to jail. If you don't think you are going to get caught then the punishment could be astronomical and it wouldn't matter. It does not work as a deterrent.

The final purpose of our prison system is punishment. We are VERY good at punishment. But should that be the goal? Should the government be in the position of punishing people? This is different from confinement, which is valid. If someone is a danger to the general public they should be taken out of the general public to protect the citizens. But should it be punitive?
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like natachan's post
13-06-2016, 10:33 AM
RE: The purpose of criminal justice
The number one objective of criminal justice should always be protection of the members of society.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 5 users Like Dom's post
13-06-2016, 10:42 AM
RE: The purpose of criminal justice
(13-06-2016 10:33 AM)Dom Wrote:  The number one objective of criminal justice should always be protection of the members of society.

Agreed. The problem is that, most of the time, the people you are punishing ARE members of society. We treat lawbreakers as if they are "Criminals", a category many think of as some inherent propensity to commit crimes, as if they are all sociopaths, rather than as human beings who were either socialized to accept behaviors as normal/acceptable that the rest of us do not consider so ("might makes right", for instance) or who were so desperate that they stopped to illegal means of getting by in life, such as stealing or self-medicating with illegal drugs.

A criminal justice system that slaps a label on people and uses it to justify treating them in awful (and in many cases, here in the USA and elsewhere, against established international law for human rights) way, especially after they are released from prison (as most will be), only makes the problem worse by creating an alienated group that quickly learns it's hard to get by in life, now, without resorting to more crime. Embittered, isolated, alienated, and told they're not capable of being part of society... why would they integrate into "normal" society?

I want myself and my wife and children protected from harm as much as anyone does. But I genuinely believe that our attitude about crime-and-punishment is based on the notion of "sinners who must receive their just desserts", and is counterproductive in more ways than I have room to discuss on a message board.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like RocketSurgeon76's post
13-06-2016, 10:49 AM
RE: The purpose of criminal justice
In my opinion an ideal system would have the three main goals of redressing the wrong where possible, protecting the innocent, and rehabilitating the offender (not necessarily in that order). A lesser goal of deterring others from committing offenses would also be there but I don't consider it right to take that into direct consideration when considering what punishment is appropriate.

I would never make punishment into a goal of the system, just the tool used to reach the real goals. Vengeance has no place in the system.

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
America July 4 1776 - November 8 2016 RIP
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like unfogged's post
13-06-2016, 10:53 AM
RE: The purpose of criminal justice
(13-06-2016 10:42 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  But I genuinely believe that our attitude about crime-and-punishment is based on the notion of "sinners who must receive their just desserts", and is counterproductive in more ways than I have room to discuss on a message board.

I agree with you very strongly on this.

However, I think we fail miserably at rehabilitation because we have not as yet what the actual roots of the behavior are - we haven't even scratched the surface of defining mental disorders yet.

I doubt we will do any better until we know more facts about mental disorders. And once we do, it will be a ton of work to get people to understand that and step away from the concepts of guilt, sin, repentance and punishment.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Dom's post
13-06-2016, 11:02 AM
RE: The purpose of criminal justice
I want to say first and foremost that different areas treat prisoners differently. Here in OK we do have a lot of prisoners BUT we do also rehabilitate. We give education, training, job experience and "rejoining the community" skills, opportunities and continuing support. Unless, of course, they refuse it. Those options are there. I have seen and been a part of that.

Now, I do think rehabilitation needs to have a bigger priority overall in our country's justice system. I also think that sometimes punishment is warranted with repeat offenders and with violent offenders. I like the use of punishment for added time out of society because it gets them off the streets for longer, not because it will make them understand consequences more. They don't, and not likely to do so if they are repeat offenders or violent. They have no filters and we need protections from that.

I am very skeptical of deterrent as a viable reason. I don't know about any studies on this but from just anecdotal evidence I just don't see deterrent as realistic.

What I would like to see is non-violent offenders get non-prison consequences. I would like them to have to work fulltime as fits their physical/mental abilities, have to make personal restitution even if it's long term, have to live a clean life (no drugs or alcohol, tested weekly until the sentence is completed) and have to give 15hrs a week to their community for public restitution for having to deal with them as a society issue.

Repeat non-violent offenders imprisoned for short periods of time as punishment and then repeat the standard non-violent course.

Violent offenders should be removed from the society they prey upon and treated. Repeat violent offenders removed permanently.

[Image: dnw9krH.jpg?4]
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Heatheness's post
13-06-2016, 11:41 AM (This post was last modified: 13-06-2016 11:45 AM by TrainWreck.)
RE: The purpose of criminal justice
(13-06-2016 10:09 AM)natachan Wrote:  So another thread got me thinking about this. What is the purpose of our criminal justice system? What SHOULD it be?
The purpose of the criminal justice system is to enforce the laws that the responsible people enact to protect and progress the community within the jurisdiction.Consider

(13-06-2016 10:09 AM)natachan Wrote:  We put a LOT of people in jail, most for no good reason. I've been taught that our prison system serves three purposes, rehabilitation, deterrence, and punishment. How well does it do each of these and should these be the goals of a prison system? How do we better meet these goals?
Most of the people detained are there for a good reason - they are dangerous and deluded with false beliefs of right and wrong.Facepalm

(13-06-2016 10:09 AM)natachan Wrote:  In terms of rehabilitation our prisons do a piss poor job of it. Most of our inmates are there for drug crimes, and as such putting them in jail does little for them to rehabilitate them. Most will end back in jail shortly after their release. So clearly this is not rehabilitating them. Should drug offenders be put in a small enclosed area with violent offenders and be stripped of their liberties? Or should they be treated like patients with a problem and sent to drug rehabilitation and therapy centers which specialize in this? How about those in prison for other crimes, does the prison system help rehabilitate them? Again, not really. Which is a pity, because they really do need behaviour modification.
The prisons do a poor job of rehabilitation, because rehabilitation (behaviour modification) is the same as indoctrination, and the indoctrination of social skills has a lot in common with religion - the only thing missing is an insistence that there is a supernatural entity controlling everything. For most of those in prison, they recognize that the white people have control of everything, and that their conviction ultimately prohibits them from controlling things.Smartass

(13-06-2016 10:09 AM)natachan Wrote:  The second goal of prisons is supposed to be deterrence. Is it effective in this? It's hard to tell, but my guess would be no. If you look at states that have the death penalty vs those that do not you do not find that those with the death penalty have a lower murder rate (in fact you find the opposite, which is based on reasons which aren't relevant to this discussion). Criminals do not think they will get caught, or that they will go to jail. If you don't think you are going to get caught then the punishment could be astronomical and it wouldn't matter. It does not work as a deterrent.
It is effective - you are just narrowly minded. Most people do not commit violent crimes, because they know that they will go to jail, because they know they will get caught - they usually have good jobs so they are usually content with their lot in life, and do not contemplate solving their problems by violating others' rights.Weeping

(13-06-2016 10:09 AM)natachan Wrote:  The final purpose of our prison system is punishment. We are VERY good at punishment. But should that be the goal? Should the government be in the position of punishing people? This is different from confinement, which is valid. If someone is a danger to the general public they should be taken out of the general public to protect the citizens. But should it be punitive?
This is not a third point it is a regurgitation of your previous point.Hobo

Humanism - ontological doctrine that posits that humans define reality
Theism - ontological doctrine that posits a supernatural entity creates and defines reality
Atheism - political doctrine opposed to theist doctrine in public policy
I am right, and you are wrong - I hope you die peacefullyCool
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
13-06-2016, 11:53 AM
RE: The purpose of criminal justice
(13-06-2016 10:42 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  I want myself and my wife and children protected from harm as much as anyone does. But I genuinely believe that our attitude about crime-and-punishment is based on the notion of "sinners who must receive their just desserts", and is counterproductive in more ways than I have room to discuss on a message board.
Well, how about you take the time and generate the organizational plan for a more perfect establishment of justice - I bet you think it is easy.

Think about it - the person who does deliver a better organizational plan for justice is sure to become well renown and probably wealthy.Cool

Humanism - ontological doctrine that posits that humans define reality
Theism - ontological doctrine that posits a supernatural entity creates and defines reality
Atheism - political doctrine opposed to theist doctrine in public policy
I am right, and you are wrong - I hope you die peacefullyCool
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
13-06-2016, 11:57 AM
RE: The purpose of criminal justice
(13-06-2016 11:53 AM)TrainWreck Wrote:  
(13-06-2016 10:42 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  I want myself and my wife and children protected from harm as much as anyone does. But I genuinely believe that our attitude about crime-and-punishment is based on the notion of "sinners who must receive their just desserts", and is counterproductive in more ways than I have room to discuss on a message board.
Well, how about you take the time and generate the organizational plan for a more perfect establishment of justice - I bet you think it is easy.

Think about it - the person who does deliver a better organizational plan for justice is sure to become well renown and probably wealthy.Cool

Congratulations, you just made -63 Reputation, asshole.

You have no fucking clue what you're talking about.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes RocketSurgeon76's post
13-06-2016, 11:57 AM
RE: The purpose of criminal justice
(13-06-2016 10:53 AM)Dom Wrote:  However, I think we fail miserably at rehabilitation because we have not as yet what the actual roots of the behavior are - we haven't even scratched the surface of defining mental disorders yet.
No, we know what it takes to do it - a good family and community system. You cannot figure this out because of your white privilege blinding you - you didn't realize that your fucked-up family was better than any black family.

Humanism - ontological doctrine that posits that humans define reality
Theism - ontological doctrine that posits a supernatural entity creates and defines reality
Atheism - political doctrine opposed to theist doctrine in public policy
I am right, and you are wrong - I hope you die peacefullyCool
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: