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View Full Version : What to do with Repeat Offenders?



Deary
Saturday, September 20th, 2008, 11:29 PM
What should be done with repeat offenders? By "repeat offender" I refer not only those who commit the same crimes, but also commit other crimes. Small percentages of repeat offenders are said to be responsible for the high levels of crimes. Many repeat offenders become adjusted to prisonlife that they cease to properly function as normal civilians. They become dependent on the care and routine that prisonlife provides and sometimes deliberately commit crimes so that they may hide once again in the security they find behind bars. They are a threat and financial burden to society.

I believe any person who disrespects the law numerous times is likely incapable of bettering themselves and learning to respect the rights, property and lives of others. I think the best option is for a rule to be put into effect which makes it so any person who commits a certain amount of crimes within a certain span of time should be imprisoned for life or even given the death penalty.

What solutions do you propose?

BeornWulfWer
Saturday, September 20th, 2008, 11:42 PM
Prison for life.

Make them work and benefit society in a controlled and purposeful manner.

Psychonaut
Saturday, September 20th, 2008, 11:47 PM
This is a tough one. Ideally, I would say that banishment would be the most appropriate form of punishment for such crimes that do not warrant the death penalty. I've never been comfortable with my tax dollars supporting a criminal, that only seems to be a further theft committed by him. Perhaps we could start a penal colony on one of the more isolated tropical islands we own.

Patrioten
Sunday, September 21st, 2008, 12:21 AM
One thing is clear, repeat offenders need to be permanently removed from society one way or the other. Personally I would not have a problem with a death penalty for their kind, but realistically, we might need to come up with less radical meassures for this group.

I have thought of prison farms in the past, and the idea appeals to me. Farms where the work is performed on an 19th century level (you get the idea) to make it as labor intensive as possible. Farm-work combined with chain-gangs performing whatever jobs that needs to be done outside the farm. I also like the idea of three strikes and your out (there's alot about the American justice system that I like).

Murderers, rapists, pedophiles, drug smugglers, drug dealers, human trafficers and individuals involved in organized crime (those are the ones I can think of right now) would of course not be elegible for this punishment, they deserve nothing less than capital punishment. Prison farms would be reserved for the "petty" criminals.

Ideally, they would be sentenced to x number of months on a prison farm for their first offence. They would be put to work and there would be a pedagogical effort made to make the criminal understand where he is heading, what awaits him if he does not change his life around. The second petty offence should lead to a prolonged stay there, again there would be an effort made to make the criminal realize what his future will be if he committs another crime. The 3rd offence would then result in life without parole.

Now, this is intended for those who commit let's say burglaries, shop lifting, thefts, drug offences or some other "less serious" (relatively speaking) offence. These are quantitative crimes. Now with other more serious crimes such as armed robbery and other crimes that are inbetween these two cathegories, capital punishment crimes and petty crimes, we will need life without parole for some, and sentences counting in years, for others.

There's alot more to be said on this matter but I'll leave it at that for the time being and see if anyone has any comments or something to add to what I have proposed.

Psychonaut
Sunday, September 21st, 2008, 12:28 AM
I have thought of prison farms in the past, and the idea appeals to me. Farms where the work is performed on an 19th century level (you get the idea) to make it as labor intensive as possible. Farm-work combined with chain-gangs performing whatever jobs that needs to be done outside the farm. I also like the idea of three strikes and your out (there's alot about the American justice system that I like).


This is a pretty good idea. My only constraint on this is that I would want for the 'farm' to be completely self sustaining, so that taxpayers aren't paying to support these criminals. This is why I prefer the idea of in isolated island, where they would pretty much be left to fend for themselves until their banshment was expired (if ever).

Patrioten
Sunday, September 21st, 2008, 12:39 AM
This is a pretty good idea. My only constraint on this is that I would want for the 'farm' to be completely self sustaining, so that taxpayers aren't paying to support these criminals. This is why I prefer the idea of in isolated island, where they would pretty much be left to fend for themselves until their banshment was expired (if ever).It will inevitably lead to certain costs for the state, guards and security once the farm has been set up, but hopefully it will be alot cheaper than today's prisons, particularly in the long run. Self-sufficiency (in every respect) is of course of great importance. Foods, clothes, tools, everything needed to sustain the farm needs to be produced within its limits. Some additional funding will probably be needed from time to time, but only as a last resort and used to sustain the farm operations.

Banishment to an island is a nice idea, makes me think of Guantanamo, but would it not be costly to run an operation like this on a remote island, transporationwise? You will need guards there that in turn will need to be rotated and supplied, unless you want the prisoners to start building rafts and attempt to leave the island. How to make it work is the question, I like the concept though, the Brits sending their convicts to Australia was a brilliant idea, although I would have probably picked a smaller island.

Æmeric
Sunday, September 21st, 2008, 12:45 AM
I like the penal colony option. Maybe the British would sell us the Falkland Islands for this venture.;) If that isn't possible perhaps we could carve out a new territory in a lawless section of Africa.

Nachtengel
Sunday, September 21st, 2008, 01:34 AM
It depends on the crime, how grave it is (stealing and murder aren't the same in gravity), how many times it has been repeated. Repeated murderers, rapists, paedophiles and the like should get the death penalty. Measures for lesser crimes could be withdrawal of rights/citizenship, prison for life, labour, exile, etc.

Psychonaut
Sunday, September 21st, 2008, 01:54 AM
Banishment to an island is a nice idea, makes me think of Guantanamo, but would it not be costly to run an operation like this on a remote island, transporationwise? You will need guards there that in turn will need to be rotated and supplied, unless you want the prisoners to start building rafts and attempt to leave the island. How to make it work is the question, I like the concept though, the Brits sending their convicts to Australia was a brilliant idea, although I would have probably picked a smaller island.

Transportation would be easy, we just ship them using military cargo planes like the C-130. We could even drop them off the back of the plane like cargo:

http://k53.pbase.com/u46/ardave/upload/29852404.C130CargoDrop2.jpg

Pickup of prisoners whose banishment had expired could be done en masse on January 1, once a year. As far as security goes, several coast guard boats would be more than sufficient. I'm sure that with some incentive pay, plenty of people would volunteer for that kind of guard duty. A couple of .50 caliber machine guns or MK-19s would be enough to handle people trying to get off of the island:

http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_40mm_Mortar_mk19_navy_pic.jpg

Patrioten
Sunday, September 21st, 2008, 01:57 AM
I see, so you would simply drop them off on an island and have them reenact Lord of the Flies? :P

Psychonaut
Sunday, September 21st, 2008, 02:07 AM
I see, so you would simply drop them off on an island and have them reenact Lord of the Flies? :P

Pretty much. :thumbup

CrystalRose
Sunday, September 21st, 2008, 03:03 AM
In my state we have the 3 strikes law.("Three strikes laws are statutes enacted by state governments in the United States which require the state courts to hand down a mandatory and extended period of incarceration to persons who have been convicted of a serious criminal offense on three or more separate occasions."-Wikipedia) So, habitual offenders end up in prison for life. My issue is non-violent offenders over-populating the prisons. not all are violent offenders (look at Tommy Chong, for 'intent' to sale 'water pipes' across state lines) Cases like that should be dealt with a slap on the wrist. 3 strikes laws shouldn't apply to those cases. to be locked up for 25-life, what a waste of space. Not enough room in prison leads to a slap on the wrist for the violent offenders. I'd rather have pot smoking hippies roaming the streets than violent offenders. There just needs cleaning up in the system that's all.;)

Thrymheim
Sunday, September 21st, 2008, 05:23 AM
I like the farm idea or some other form of manual labour possibly based on the Victorian workhouse principle. Equally for petty crime, ie shoplifting, persistent driving offences, antisocial behaviour, etc I would have a special division in the army, the Sergent's in charge would have a higher level of punishments allowed and discipline would be very strict, hopefully after a few years of that most would come to prefer the alternative of a legal job! This way the criminal would not only receive training and life skills mixed with discipline but would also be paying off their debt to society, and if you lose a few on the way, well so be it.

Another alternative I like is the idea of public ridicule, something akin to stocks, and/or a public whipping, for juveniles the stock would be used but if the set punishment was lases then the punishment would be delivered on the parents, and they would be expected to thrash the child when they recovered from it.

For murderers and other "high" level offenders I would simply have a death penalty as that stops all chances of re offending.

Pino
Tuesday, September 30th, 2008, 07:17 PM
the OP comments is the exact problem, people become institutionalized and need the care prison provides, well just take away the care. Prisons should be replaced with labour camps where they work for 12 hours a day 7 days a week, then in the spare time they have to grow there own food, cook it, maybe even run on traadmills to generate electricity otherwise they have none! They will soon not want to come back, there will be no ridiculous prison gangs as free association will not even exist and any rebellion or violence in the prison will result in severe corpral punishment.

People who behave themselfs in this camp might be allowed to leave the work camp after X amount of months/years and pick up litter around the local community while chained up and under armed guard.

This system should also be a 3 strike and your out rule, the third time you commit a crime you will be executed.

Jäger
Tuesday, September 30th, 2008, 08:31 PM
I think we should think outside of Roman law to begin with.

Rainraven
Tuesday, September 30th, 2008, 11:12 PM
I think part of the problem is how nice prison has become. For a lot of the criminals the care they recieve in prison would be better than outside, plus without the worries of money and/or supporting a family.

Criminals should have to work for society and the tax payers money that they are taking. For petty criminals I also think it would be beneficial to teach prisoners life skills so that when they do get released they can become a worthy member of society.

For rapists and murderers I have no problem with them being sent to a small deserted island and left to scrap it out :D

OneEnglishNorman
Wednesday, October 1st, 2008, 12:12 AM
What should be done with repeat offenders? By "repeat offender" I refer not only those who commit the same crimes, but also commit other crimes. Small percentages of repeat offenders are said to be responsible for the high levels of crimes. Many repeat offenders become adjusted to prisonlife that they cease to properly function as normal civilians. They become dependent on the care and routine that prisonlife provides and sometimes deliberately commit crimes so that they may hide once again in the security they find behind bars. They are a threat and financial burden to society.

I believe any person who disrespects the law numerous times is likely incapable of bettering themselves and learning to respect the rights, property and lives of others. I think the best option is for a rule to be put into effect which makes it so any person who commits a certain amount of crimes within a certain span of time should be imprisoned for life or even given the death penalty.

What solutions do you propose?

Generally I agree with your outlook. I hesitate however to specify sentencing from "on high" (certain amount of crimes within a certain span of time). I heard a news story that a freed criminal in a US state got 12 years or something ridiculous for stealing an ice cream. There was no flexibility in his sentencing, because the judgement had to conform to a pre-existing formula. The judge had no choice. I think that's going too far in the other direction, taxpayers had to foot the bill for imprisoning a guy for years and years for a relatively minor crime.

In an ideal world, elected locally-accountable judges would make common sense rulings, along the lines you described.

So I think the problem with lax sentencing at the moment could be in the way that judges are appointed. This varies in different nations.

BrynhildsFate
Wednesday, October 1st, 2008, 12:31 AM
forced labor camps for all!

Patrioten
Wednesday, October 1st, 2008, 01:46 AM
In an ideal world, elected locally-accountable judges would make common sense rulings, along the lines you described.

So I think the problem with lax sentencing at the moment could be in the way that judges are appointed. This varies in different nations.In the opposite end you have the Swedish legal system where the judges hand out outright ridicilous sentences. I would not entrust them with the task of making "common sense" decisions to protect the citizens. Common sense to a Swedish judge is giving rapists a few years in jail and giving virtually all criminals a slap on the wrist, common sense to the populace is often something quite different from this. Freedom in sentencing can just as easily result in arbitrariness rather than common sense. One guy gets a few weeks, another one gets 5 years, for the same crime.

In my view, punishment should never be about the individual, it should not be a matter of making the punishment fit the criminal. Punishment is about acknowleding the fact that a person has violated the rules of society and is to be punished for it. We punish the criminal on behalf of society and the victim and we also do this to uphold justice, law and (to the best of our ability) order.

Stiff sentences for repeat offenders are an expression of this. They are meant to act as a signal to the criminal and to others that we as a society take criminal activities very seriously. We will not sit by when individuals violate our rights as citizens, or the laws of our society, and we certainly wont be passive when the same individual violates these rights and laws again and again, again and again. We as a society will act, we will put an end to it, and we wont care about your age, if you had a hard time growing up or if you are unemployed when we do. We expect all people to follow the rules, and if they don't, they have brought on to themselves the punishment that follows. We even give them three chances, three opportunities to live a decent life and to not commit crimes. If they cannot comply with this simple condition, then they are obviously unfit to live their lives in freedom, they do not deserve it and it would not be fair to the rest of us who are abiding the laws and want to have our rights and interests as citizens protected. We are quite simply unable to trust that they will not commit a fourth crime, a tenth crime or a sixtieth crime during their lifetime. To be able to live in a society where criminality is fiercly combatted is in the interest of every human being living in it. Everyone except the criminal.

On a side note, fixed sentencing is also about fairness. With individual sentencing, the arbitrariness of judges, fallible human beings, will decide who gets to go to prison and who pays a ticket. Which victim gets retribution and which victim gets spat in the face. It shouldn't be this way. It should be the same rules for everyone. The director of a company who shoplifts should not face a lesser or harsher punishment for stealing than the homeless drug addict. The mentally retarded should not face more lenience than the mentally sane. We should punish them all equally.

Æmeric
Wednesday, October 1st, 2008, 01:50 AM
In an ideal world, elected locally-accountable judges would make common sense rulings, along the lines you described.

Living in a state where judges are elected I say that is a bad idea. They will base controversial decisions on their own political considerations. The county I live in had a decent judge, who was appointed after his predecessor resigned. He was a Democrat like the preceding judge (the Democrats practically run this county, most of the minorities reside at the local state prison so there hasn't been White flight to the Republicans) but he was independent & didn't show favoritism with the local Democratic Party or especially the county DA who was naturally a Democrat. So the local establishment got behind a 30-year-old feminist who had spent her entire legal career of about 5-years moving from one county DA office to another in her agressive move up the political ladder. She won the Democratic primary & ran unopposed in the general election 2-years ago. This past year she fired the county magistrate (her subordinate) because he disagreed with her about which prisoners to release (because the county jail was approaching it's maximum capacity) - the prisoners she decided to release didn't meet state guidelines for early release but they had connections. This is the sort of impropriety that comes with having judges who are elected like any other politicians.

Patrioten
Wednesday, October 1st, 2008, 02:13 AM
Living in a state where judges are elected I say that is a bad idea. They will base controversial decisions on their own political considerations. The county I live in had a decent judge, who was appointed after his predecessor resigned. He was a Democrat like the preceding judge (the Democrats practically run this county, most of the minorities reside at the local state prison so there hasn't been White flight to the Democrats) but he was independent & didn't show favoritism with the local Democratic Party or especially the county DA who was naturally a Democrat. So the local establishment got behind a 30-year-old feminist who had spent her entire legal career of about 5-years moving from one county DA office to another in her agressive move up the political ladder. She won the Democratic primary & ran unopposed in the general election 2-years ago. This past year she fired the county magistrate (her subordinate) because he disagreed with her about which prisoners to release (because the county jail was approaching it's maximum capacity) - the prisoners she decided to release didn't meet state guidelines for early release but they had connections. This is the sort of impropriety that comes with having judges who are elected like any other politicians.And also if you give judges the opportunity to be lenient, many of them will take the opportunity and make full use of it. So we get sentencing based not just on political agendas per se, but also on the whim or consciousness of the individual judge. Like that judge they featured on the O'reilly factor who handed out some ridicilous sentence to a child molestor, 3 months or something, the reason he was so abhorrently lenient was because he had changed his mind on sentencing, he used to hand out stiff sentences in the past but as he had gotten older he now felt better about giving sex offenders a slap on the wrist. We do not want reborn bleeding heart judges who have become afraid of God's wrath or their impending death and uncertain afterlife to cut monsters some slack as they are approaching retirement. Judges should look at the evidence presented to them and decide over the guilt issue, the sentencing should be found in the law book and not be up for interpretation by the individual.

Pino
Friday, October 3rd, 2008, 10:32 AM
Living in a state where judges are elected I say that is a bad idea. They will base controversial decisions on their own political considerations. The county I live in had a decent judge, who was appointed after his predecessor resigned. He was a Democrat like the preceding judge (the Democrats practically run this county, most of the minorities reside at the local state prison so there hasn't been White flight to the Republicans) but he was independent & didn't show favoritism with the local Democratic Party or especially the county DA who was naturally a Democrat. So the local establishment got behind a 30-year-old feminist who had spent her entire legal career of about 5-years moving from one county DA office to another in her agressive move up the political ladder. She won the Democratic primary & ran unopposed in the general election 2-years ago. This past year she fired the county magistrate (her subordinate) because he disagreed with her about which prisoners to release (because the county jail was approaching it's maximum capacity) - the prisoners she decided to release didn't meet state guidelines for early release but they had connections. This is the sort of impropriety that comes with having judges who are elected like any other politicians.

You are 100% correct, have we still not learnt that democracy is a failed system which breeds corruption?

Bärin
Saturday, March 7th, 2009, 08:51 PM
Death penalty, exile or labor as punishment. Putting them in prisons is just costly. They should either serve some role to the state, or be gone.