View Poll Results: Do people ever deserve punishment.???

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Thread: Punishment.

  1. #241
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    My belief is that fear of punishment frequently doesn't work simply because most criminals are too stupid to parse the statement "if I do this, then I'll get punished." The first step of rehabilitation is to get the criminal to get that idea into their little pea-sized brain.
    I believe there are studies that back-up the idea that fear of punishment does not prevent crimes. I'm too lazy to go a-googling.

    A good chunk of crimes, particular of the assault and domestic violence type are crimes of passion, and so people aren't carefully thinking through the consequences before committing them.

    Others are related to substance abuse, either to support such addictions, and/or crimes committed under the influence. Again, consequences don't often enter into the discussion.

    I suspect that fear of punishment is only a factor with crimes that are carefully thought out before hand (and even then it becomes a risk/reward balance).
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  2. #242
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    My belief is that fear of punishment frequently doesn't work simply because most criminals are too stupid to parse the statement "if I do this, then I'll get punished." The first step of rehabilitation is to get the criminal to get that idea into their little pea-sized brain.
    Note that I didn't say "criminals," I said "people."

    In order for the threat of punishment to work, there has to be people who don't commit crimes because of the threat of punishment. But in our society, you're going to find those people among those who have not committed crimes, not among those who have.

  3. #243
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    My belief is that fear of punishment frequently doesn't work simply because most criminals are too stupid to parse the statement "if I do this, then I'll get punished." The first step of rehabilitation is to get the criminal to get that idea into their little pea-sized brain.
    Well, maybe selective stupidity. I knew a guy years ago who was a well-educated man with a high-tech job in the medical profession and had accomplished other things like a flight instructor level pilot's license, full ham radio licensing and groundbreaking work in computer game programming, all requiring a certain level of intellectual discipline.

    But if he saw something he liked, he had no qualms about stealing it, if he thought he could get away with it. While he and I were at an electronics store, he shoplifted an item and then bragged to me about it. His "justification" was that everything is overpriced and the owners expect to lose a certain amount to stealing, so it was okay. He called me "paranoid" for strongly objecting to his actions.

    That self-centered attitude showed up to some extent in all his social dealings and I finally had to put an end to our friendship because of it. It was an example that even with being intellectually bright, many with criminal tendencies justify in their minds not feeling guilt for actions others consider unacceptable.
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  4. #244
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    Yep, they got away with it once, ....or they "saw" someone else get away with it, and that concept is poison.
    Like a strong acid, it eats slowly away at the subconcious ego , and ever after, that little devil is on his shoulder and it gets a little bigger on any particular day.
    Character isn't just born. It is deliberately built and shaped as we live our lives and with the choices we make.
    It remains for us to seek the light and avoid the dark side.

  5. #245
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    Well, it doesn't, actually, but let's say for the sake of argument that it does.

    Why would you think that fear of punishment does not prevent people from committing crimes?
    Most criminals do not seem to fear the potential consequences of their actions, nor for that matter do they seem to even consider such consequences. If fear of consequences was a valid deterrent we would have no need for prisons or executions, the fear of such potentialities would, in themselves, eliminate such behavior. They abnormally high incarceration and execution rate in the US argues strongly against punishment being an effective deterrent of criminal behavior.

  6. #246
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    My belief is that fear of punishment frequently doesn't work simply because most criminals are too stupid to parse the statement "if I do this, then I'll get punished." The first step of rehabilitation is to get the criminal to get that idea into their little pea-sized brain.
    The root of the problem often goes to the other end of the spectrum. Sure there are criminals who simply "never learned any better." On average, however, criminals tend to be of at least marginally higher intelligence than the general population, and it isn't a matter of "I didn't know doing that was a crime," but rather, "I'm smarter than most of the people I know, so no one will figure out what I'm going to do, or successfully hold me to account for what I've done." Lot's of exceptions and qualifications to make in association with this, but there are few simple answers when it comes to human interactions.

  7. #247
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    Quote Originally Posted by danscope View Post
    The criminal thrives on the concept that he won't get caught, and even if he does, his lawyer will spring him and then he can bug out. His other self dominates his thoughts and he can always justify any wierd and lopsided idea with equally
    lopsided pretzle logic. In short, he doesn't care.
    Very much this in many cases, at least in what little I actually know and have researched about the topic.

  8. #248
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    This is actually a common mistake, punishment isn't there to prevent any and all crime from ever happening, it's just plain silly to expect that.

    It's there to reduce crime by making some (not all, that would be absurd to expect) reconsider.

    Criminals, who by definition already decided that the price was low enough to pay (or are unable to do the analysis or willing to make the gamble) do not invalidate this.


    Note that no level of punishment or rehabilitation will make crime go away totally, it's an impossible goal and anyone promising to fulfill it is spewing bovine digestive products.
    Then the issue is more, is punishment efficient and effective at deterrence. Are you proposing to make the case that punishment is the most effective and efficient means of deterring criminal behavior?

  9. #249
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
    Most criminals do not seem to fear the potential consequences of their actions, nor for that matter do they seem to even consider such consequences.
    I asked about "people", not "criminals". Unless you made this post before you read any of the follow-ups.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
    If fear of consequences was a valid deterrent we would have no need for prisons or executions, the fear of such potentialities would, in themselves, eliminate such behavior.
    On the contrary. If fear of consequences is a valid deterrent, we would have a lesser (but not necessarily zero) need for prisons or executions. Lesser, that is, than we would have if we didn't have consequences. Prison clearly does not deter everybody, but that doesn't mean it deters nobody.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
    They abnormally high incarceration and execution rate in the US argues strongly against punishment being an effective deterrent of criminal behavior.
    No, it doesn't it. It only argues against it being a perfect deterrent.

    You're looking at the wrong thing. If you wanted to statistically determine whether incarceration deters robbery, you would look at societies which incarcerate robbers and societies which don't and compare their rates of robbery. The respective rates of of incarceration don't tell you anything about whether or not incarceration is a deterrent.

  10. #250
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
    They abnormally high incarceration and execution rate in the US argues strongly against punishment being an effective deterrent of criminal behavior.
    I think it only argues for any mix of three things: one is that the US is treating punishment as the only possible solution, another is the there exist social conditions in the US which promote crime, and a third is that there are people who promote imprisonment regardless of its utility in reducing either crime or recidivism for political or economic gain. Personally, I think this third is the elephant in the room, witnessed by both private-enterprise prisons and by the use of prisoners by profit-making enterprises. There are social forces, mostly economic (and I won't mention the group I think is most guilty of exacerbating the cause), which aggravate US crime rates.

    I would argue that the evidence is that there is some factor or group of factors in the US which is causing significantly higher crime rates (especially homicides) than the remainder of the first world.
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  11. #251
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    In spite of studies to the contrary, I think punishment is at least a slight deterent and appropriate punishment is at least moderately effective at reducing the amount of crime. Neil

  12. #252
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    May I suggest we not discuss punishment, particularly criminal punishment, in particular countries, as that gets entirely too close to political issues for BAUT. A generic discussion of incarceration is probably fine. Thanks,
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  13. #253
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    I asked about "people", not "criminals". Unless you made this post before you read any of the follow-ups.
    Entirely possible, a bad habit that I keep meaning to address!


    Regardless, does this not presume that "people" are not distinguishable from "criminals" until after they are convicted of crimes?

    I'm largely uninterested in whether ordinary people consider such a deterent, they are unlikely to commit crimes in the first place, so it is unimportant whether or not they feel any external deterrent to commit crimes, the internal ones seem to operate just fine for them. The issue of importance is whether or not those who do not respect individual rights, and community laws or social conventions are deterred by the threat of punishment if their behavior is discovered and successfully prosecuted.


    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    On the contrary. If fear of consequences is a valid deterrent, we would have a lesser (but not necessarily zero) need for prisons or executions. Lesser, that is, than we would have if we didn't have consequences. Prison clearly does not deter everybody, but that doesn't mean it deters nobody.
    I don't believe there is ever a reason for the state to take the lives of individuals, likewise, punishment is, IMO, largely ineffectual at reducing or preventing criminal behavior. Rehabilitation, as we currently practice it, is of limited efficacy, but this is largely due to methodology and application (again, IMO).

    No, it doesn't it. It only argues against it being a perfect deterrent.
    It is no deterrent to the criminal thought patterns which eventually generate criminal behavior regardless of "deterrence." Non-criminal thinking certainly finds deterrence in such consequences, but those possessing such non-criminal thought processes are unlikely to ever intentionally commit a crime in the first place and are thus generally irrelevent to such considerations.

    You're looking at the wrong thing. If you wanted to statistically determine whether incarceration deters robbery, you would look at societies which incarcerate robbers and societies which don't and compare their rates of robbery. The respective rates of of incarceration don't tell you anything about whether or not incarceration is a deterrent.
    Despite not wanting to chase apparent red herrings, please demonstrate a society of laws that does not incarcerate or otherwise punish law-breakers.

    If you don't think that overall prosecution and incarceration rates are a valid measure, how about recidivism rates?

  14. #254
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
    Regardless, does this not presume that "people" are not distinguishable from "criminals" until after they are convicted of crimes?
    "Convicted"? No, I don't think so. It would seem to presume that "people" are not distinguishable from "criminals" until after they have committed crimes, but since that's inherent in the definition of "criminal" it would not seem to be an invalid presumption.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
    I'm largely uninterested in whether ordinary people consider such a deterent, they are unlikely to commit crimes in the first place, so it is unimportant whether or not they feel any external deterrent to commit crimes, the internal ones seem to operate just fine for them. The issue of importance is whether or not those who do not respect individual rights, and community laws or social conventions are deterred by the threat of punishment if their behavior is discovered and successfully prosecuted.
    But that does not alter my point - if there are people who "do not respect individual rights, and community laws or social conventions" but who are nonetheless "deterred by the threat of punishment," then those people are not criminals in our society. The fact that criminals do not appear to be deterred by punishment is axiomatic - those who are deterred are not criminals - and is thus indicative of nothing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
    It is no deterrent to the criminal thought patterns which eventually generate criminal behavior regardless of "deterrence."
    Again, circular and axiomatic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
    Non-criminal thinking certainly finds deterrence in such consequences, but those possessing such non-criminal thought processes are unlikely to ever intentionally commit a crime in the first place and are thus generally irrelevent to such considerations.
    On what evidence do you base your supposition that those who are deterred by consequences would not commit crimes in the absence of consequences?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
    Despite not wanting to chase apparent red herrings, please demonstrate a society of laws that does not incarcerate or otherwise punish law-breakers.
    As far as I know, there isn't one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
    If you don't think that overall prosecution and incarceration rates are a valid measure, how about recidivism rates?
    If you want to determine whether Country A or Country B is doing a better job of preventing people from engaging in Activity X, you need to compare the two countries' rates of Activity X. It's not important which country prosecutes more, or incarcerates more, or executes more, or encourages more - those are the methods of prevention, not the results of prevention. The results are in the respective rates of the actual activity.

    And there's no need to do a statistical analysis of recidivism rates - if that's how you measure success, capital punishment is far and away the winner.

  15. #255
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    The guillotine ensures a non-repetetive offender. That said, only if you have caught the person "red-handed" where there is no question of the capital offense. Perhaps that should be the standard. Take the money for incarceration and send some deserving student through college. It's a thought.

  16. #256
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    Quote Originally Posted by danscope View Post
    The guillotine ensures a non-repetetive offender. That said, only if you have caught the person "red-handed" where there is no question of the capital offense. Perhaps that should be the standard. Take the money for incarceration and send some deserving student through college. It's a thought.
    Considering that about half the people who were on death row in Illinois were not guilty of the crime for which they were sentenced to die, I'd consider cutting somebody's head off for any offense to be absolutely immoral, even if there were strongly and consistently enforced laws against police and prosecutor misconduct.
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  17. #257
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    I just finished Camus's novel The Stranger. It ends with a capital punishment case. The story makes me throw my hands up at the whole idea despite the fact that I know The Stranger is about Absurdism*. I only mention it as the basis of this poll seems to be similar to the concept of Absurdism.

    Sigh... World Literature classes. They have the whole world to pick from and for some reason teachers dive right into Camus, Quiroga and Kafka.

    *I don't think that The Stranger entirely conforms to the idea of Absurdism, I really kind of think that it is more work of Nihilism. Take that with a big grain of salt... I am not even sure if Meursault (the protagonist) is guilt of anything knowing he shot someone several times with no particular reason.
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  18. #258
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    I did qualify that condition of certain red-handed guilt. I suppose it's kinda final.

  19. #259
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    People including criminals do not consider the punishment IMO but their assessment of the risk of getting caught. This excludes "crimes of passion" where the perpetrator is beyond any consideration. It seems from studies that peer pressure is itself a very real perceived punishment and people will take care to avoid getting caught even when disapproval is the only punishment. The actual risk of getting caught may vary both ways from the perceived risk. This is why many people like to see policepatrolling a beat when that is a very ineffective way of catching a particular criminal but it greatly increases the perceived risk of getting caught.

  20. #260
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    Quote Originally Posted by danscope View Post
    I did qualify that condition of certain red-handed guilt. I suppose it's kinda final.
    Listening to police and prosecutors, everybody was caught with the smoking gun in their hand, smirking over the corpse, and chortling with glee. In other words, for some people, the fact that somebody is arrested equates to "red-handed guilt."
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  21. #261
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    Police patrols do catch some. And having them out there gets them familiar with the area making them more effective.
    They do a good job IMHO.

  22. #262
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    Hi Swamp. Red-handed doesn't necessarily mean " arrested" . I suppose that's a whole discussion in itself.

  23. #263
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    ...And there's no need to do a statistical analysis of recidivism rates - if that's how you measure success, capital punishment is far and away the winner.
    What is the sense of "punishment" that one is incapable of learning from and apparently doesn't deter others from the commission of the crime or it would never have been used, at the least, not more than once?

  24. #264
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    The use is the intangible evidence of the lack of crime having it present. Without it, chaos would reign , and you would
    have a much different opinion of it's worth and effectiveness. It remains for the irrational to ignore and commit crimes anyway, but they are a small ....very small minority , and most would agree on that as fact.

  25. #265
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    I suspect that all punishment that is not public humiliating (traffic stop, served warrants, hauls into court, etc.) is not for the "benefit" of the criminal, but the benefit of either the victim or the general public. Simplistically stated, it saves the bother of having to hand out pitchforks and torches every darn time someone does something annoying, dangerous or evil.
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  26. #266
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
    What is the sense of "punishment" that one is incapable of learning from and apparently doesn't deter others from the commission of the crime or it would never have been used, at the least, not more than once?
    First, I wasn't expressing support for capital punishment. You had suggested recidivism rates as a possible metric for measuring success, and I was merely pointing out that capital punishment would have the best recidivism rate.

    Second, you suggested recidivism rates as a possible metric for measuring success. Why did you do that, if you feel that there's no sense to any system which does nothing more than reduce recidivism?

    Third, you are engaging in the same false equivalency fallacy as before. Capital punishment does not deter everybody, but that is not nearly the same thing as not deterring anybody.

  27. #267
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    Listening to police and prosecutors, everybody was caught with the smoking gun in their hand, smirking over the corpse, and chortling with glee. In other words, for some people, the fact that somebody is arrested equates to "red-handed guilt."
    It works both ways. Many of the cases offered of people "wrongly sentenced" to capital punishment are ones where this guy just drove the getaway car -- or merely held someone down while another fellow delivered the fatal action -- or really killed only eight people, not nine.

    But the defense would have you believe that their client was therefore a passerby caught up in Hitchcockian intrigue.

  28. #268
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonM435 View Post
    It works both ways. Many of the cases offered of people "wrongly sentenced" to capital punishment are ones where this guy just drove the getaway car -- or merely held someone down while another fellow delivered the fatal action -- or really killed only eight people, not nine.

    But the defense would have you believe that their client was therefore a passerby caught up in Hitchcockian intrigue.
    If the laws of the jurisdiction state that the person who drove the getaway car should not be subject to capital punishment, then sentencing them to die is wrong. Period. Many of the cases where people are released after long terms in prison are most certainly not that sort of case -- they are in no way guilty of the crime for which they were sentenced.
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  29. #269
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    First, I wasn't expressing support for capital punishment. You had suggested recidivism rates as a possible metric for measuring success, and I was merely pointing out that capital punishment would have the best recidivism rate.

    Second, you suggested recidivism rates as a possible metric for measuring success. Why did you do that, if you feel that there's no sense to any system which does nothing more than reduce recidivism?

    Third, you are engaging in the same false equivalency fallacy as before. Capital punishment does not deter everybody, but that is not nearly the same thing as not deterring anybody.
    manditory sterilization would absolutely prevent any crimes from the "next" generation through the elimination of a "next" generation, but proposing such as a solution to crime, is just as ridiculous as using capital punishment to eliminate recidivism. If you don't wish to have a reasoned and reasonable discussion of the issues, there are easier and less insulting ways to do so than a tirade of false dichotomies and unsupported assertions.

  30. #270
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
    ...there are easier and less insulting ways to do so than a tirade of false dichotomies and unsupported assertions.
    Beg pardon? What "false dichotomies" and "unsupported assertions" do you see in my post?

    That's a serious question - what assertions do you think I'm making? What are the dichotomies, false or otherwise?

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