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Legal Punishment - Right or Wrong?
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26 / F / Mass
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Posted 11/10/06
Well, I'm currently in an Ethics and Society class, and we are currently learning about Legal Punishment. Now, this may be a long post, but so be it. I'm assuming everyone knows what capital punishment is, and I'm going to start off with some statistics. (These are from my current textbook; the copyright date is 2007, so everything is current. "ETHICS : Theory and Contemporary Issues, Fifth Edition" By Barbara MacKinnon, if you'd like to look into it.)

-By mid 2004, there were 2.1 million people in US prisons and jails. This was 2.3% more than in 2003. That is one person for every 138 residents.
-The United States has the highest rate of incarceration of any country in the world.
-The cost of imprisonment in the US is staggering: some $40 billion annually, or approximately $20,000 to $70,000 per inmate.
-Most people who are in jail are there for drug-related crimes. This includes 72% of inmates in federal prisons and 23% in state prisons.
-There is also a growing number of women in prisons, approximately 100,000, a figure that is only 6.9% of the total prison population.
-Approximately 16% of the jail population is said to suffer from some type of mental illness. When these people are released, many return to the streets and to homelessness, again committing crimes that are related to their illness, some of them petty and some of them violent.
-In the previous 10 years, 1993-2003, there were 688 executions, with Texas accounting for 256, or 37%.
-Other issues related to the death penalty have recently gained public attention: for example, whether mentally retarded persons or juveniles should be executed. In 2002, the US Supreme court ruled that mentally retarded persons defendants should not be subject to the death penalty.
-Thus, we can say that legal punishment is the state's infliction of harm or pain on those who break the law according to a set of legally established rules.

The problems:
There are such things known as “crimes of passion”. In that case, for example, say you manage to find out that your spouse is cheating on you, and you go to your house, and end up shooting them. It is said that in that state, you are not thinking rationally, and if you were to have been, you wouldn’t have shot them. You would be so overcome by emotion that it would hinder your mind and sense of what is right and wrong. Should someone get killed because of that?

Punishment as a threat is also not likely to work in cases where people do calculate the risks and the benefits and think the benefits outweigh the risks. The benefit could be something as simple to money or gang reputation.

It also might be the reward of having done what one thinks to be right, as in acts of civil disobedience or in support of any cause whether actually good or bad. A perfect example of that is 9-11. The people flying the planes didn’t think they were doing anything wrong. They were told that they would go to heaven.

If something else works better than punishment, then that other means ought to be used either as a substitution for punishment or in addition to it. Some people argue that punishment itself does not work, but combined with rehabilitation, job training, or psychological counseling, punishment might be effective. However, if a punishment system isn’t working, then, in this view, it is not morally justifiable, for the whole idea is not to punish for punishment’s sake but to achieve the goal of law enforcement. Should someone who is truly diagnosed as paranoid-schizophrenic be thrown in jail, or put into a rehabilitation place? Is that morally right?

So… yeah. Tell me what you think. I hope that wasn’t too much to read. ^_^
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30 / M / stfu land
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Posted 11/10/06
wow i actually read it ehehhehe


well what i think is whether your insane or mentally okay it doesnt even count for me, you should be given with the proper punishment, but if you need theraphy then it should go first before the punishment and my answer to the question if it is morally right??
did the criminal think if what he had done is morally right before he had done it??
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26 / F / Mass
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Posted 11/10/06
but what if he was in that passion state where he wasn't thinking clearly? Like, when he looks back at it, he regrets it, and is willing to serve his sentence, and pleads guilty. Should he be put to death? That brings up another issue about the punishment. People say an eye for an eye. I kill someone, I get killed. But what if I murder ten people? I can't get killed ten times.
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28 / M / "Podunk USA" Brun...
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Posted 11/10/06
"Judge not lest ye be judge."(Bible is always good for advice, sometimes I think it is the best thing ever written)
But since I pretty much fail the Bible requirements, I will throw that first stone.

Crimes of passion: Irrational thought after cheating spouse situation=kill adulterer
Rational thought after same situation=kill evil, backstabbing, lying, adulterer
Verdict=Let them go, I researched the O.J. case, I know he did it, and I know why. I would have done the same thing.

Retarded criminals-trialing/executing them is just WRONG, all retarded people are potential violent. But you don't euthanize them like animals! What happened to the concept of innocence? Truly insane people fall into this category, also.
Juveniles, sure, apply harsh parenting to out of control teenagers, but not if they crime was an accident(like that 13yr-old kid who got death for imitating wrestling moves with his 6yr-old cousin, he was too stupid to be a murderer)

Capital punishment doesn't even reduce crime. In it's present form it would make me want to rampage just knowing prisoners are kept in solitary(away from anal rape), fed all their meals(unlike homeless), and get media contracts(fame and notoriety). I'd be good at it, too. I studied the best serial killers.

And once again, the coup de grace, capital punishment is usually too harsh on a targeted group(Texas and blacks, religious countries and ethnic clashes, undesirables). Legal genocide when you get down to the statistics.
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25 / M / Way of The Ninja...
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Posted 11/10/06
I say we kill everybody
Lus the BIble says come as ye are'
you dont have to change
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M
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Posted 11/10/06
When the hell did this forum turn into a......I can't even find the right word. I feel so stupid right now.
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30 / M / stfu land
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Posted 11/10/06
well for me if someone pleads guilty the punishment should be lessen its like that here in my country, but if the crime is beyond reason the punishment cant be lifted whatever the criminals side does
Posted 11/10/06

drunkonshadowsxx wrote:

but what if he was in that passion state where he wasn't thinking clearly? Like, when he looks back at it, he regrets it, and is willing to serve his sentence, and pleads guilty. Should he be put to death? That brings up another issue about the punishment. People say an eye for an eye. I kill someone, I get killed. But what if I murder ten people? I can't get killed ten times.


Thats different from many crimes though, if you have killed some one because you were deeply hurt by them emotional or Physically and are willing to pay the price for it, then no. Death is out of the question but you still have to take in an account of those who loved the victim aswell. So, like a 20 - 30 year sentence should do.

If you have killed some one Intently, I believe it should be a life for a life or the family should have a say in it for a proper sentence with the correct and proper state of mind of course.
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27 / M
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Posted 11/10/06
holy f**k these are some long post.
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28 / M / "Podunk USA" Brun...
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Posted 11/10/06

Ktito wrote:

When the hell did this forum turn into a......I can't even find the right word. I feel so stupid right now.


philosophical mirror of current events?

Don't feel stupid, I once met a 12 yr old who was a genius. He embarassed his parents in public, but I humiliated him(for his parents) by beating him in common sense. Everyone has their strengths, conversation might not be yours, but I can't play an instrument, or swim, or skateboard, or do ANY algebra-based math.

Cheer up. We all suck more than we pwn.

Even in the Bible, they is a section following "eye for an eye" that says there are areas of asylum for unintentional murderers. God fears humans will do more damage to each other than He/She/Hermaphrodite would ever do. Because we really are that stupid and unforgiving.
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26 / M
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Posted 11/10/06
if humans were left to their own devices without government or religion, society would maintain a state of equilibrium

crime would be basically nonexistant because everyone would have to pull their equal load
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30 / M / stfu land
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Posted 11/10/06
this things are not meant to be argued with we should just let nature pass ehehhehe thats all non sense blah blah!

we should take action and think for what we want and what we think is wrong should not be done by us or anyone we know off and to whoever damn people who make these crimes well cut their heads down j/k we should just let the legal way handle it thats why the persons before us created different laws right
Posted 11/10/06

punkfilter wrote:

if humans were left to their own devices without government or religion, society would maintain a state of equilibrium

crime would be basically nonexistant because everyone would have to pull their equal load


I agree.


I don't think crime would be completely non - existant though however, I agree with you because now adays everybody so concern about controlling eachother, it just happens more than it would.
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28 / M / "Podunk USA" Brun...
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Posted 11/10/06

quater wrote:

I say we kill everybody
Lus the BIble says come as ye are'
you dont have to change


Let's not kill EVERYONE, we gotta keep the rational, shy, supermodels.

I wanna get my freak on

Is that "come as ye are", New Testament? Aka the hippie section of the Bible. Make love, not war. I really don't like that pacifistic stuff. Those guys are usually violently murdered.

If you want peace, be prepared for war-kinda guy.

punkfilter wrote:

if humans were left to their own devices without government or religion, society would maintain a state of equilibrium

crime would be basically nonexistant because everyone would have to pull their equal load


Or anarchy. With the Satanists at an advantage. Think Mad Max. I personally would use my intelligence to cheat the weaker of the species. Or Free-Market Capitalism minus taxes. Just being honest.

I support Socialism or Communism as true utopian systems. Too bad they have never been practiced by the Marxist rules. Any Totalitarianist can call dictatorship, Communism and get away with it for a while, before the Revolution of course.
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31 / M / New York
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Posted 11/10/06
I believe that individual situations should be weighed against the crime. Was this person homeless and just trying to eat and/or feed his family? If so does that make it okay to steal? Is the crime the act of theft or the reason why the man had to resort to theft? Basically should the responsibility fall on the man for resorting to stealing or should there be lieniency for crimes commited with good intention? Such as Euthenasia? If a person wanted to be killed and you killed them is it really murder?

My personal belief is that the system of crime and punishment could never be fair. It's like an umbrella that covers the act of crime and not the reason for crime.

As for juveniles I never believed in capital punishment. Nature vs. Nurture. This child may be able to realize the error of his/her ways if they are rehabilitated and removed from the environment that condoned bad behavior. Even if the environment didn't condone bad behavior I believe that through counseling and rehabilitation they could have a chance at a normal, respectable life.

The Metally Disabled should never be killed by the government. Most mentally handicapped people are, hmm..how should I put it. "mis-wired". The concept of right and wrong could be backwards or completely not understood by these people. It should be the responsibility of the families and, if necessary, the judicial system to make sure they are taken care of in a proper facility. Maybe they won't be better, but they would be in a controlled evironment when they couldn't hurt themselves, or someone else.

Crimes of Passion I feel strongly about. Regardless of what mind state you were in, you still committed the act. For example a recent case in my area about a drunken driver who was dricing on the wrong side of the parkway and killed a little girl in limo. Was he in the right of mind? no he was drunk. Did he willing want to kill that child? probably not. But the point is that he did. And he shoudl be punished accordingly.

Wow that was longwinded....sorry.
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