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emprworm

What should be the purpose of the justice system?

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The criminal justice system...what should its purpose be?

1.  To deter

2.  To punish

3.  To rehabillitate

I believe the final answer should include all three philosophical spheres, with more emphasis on punishment and deterrence than rehabillitation.  The notion of a prisoner being rehabillitated implies a release back into society.  Although releasing a murderer simply because he is no longer a "threat" may satisfy rehabilitation theorists, doing so could weaken deterrence for that behavior, and negate necessary justice for the victims.  Therefore, true restoration must exist as an individual entity and not make demands on justice or deterrence.   What this means is that if a prisoner is fully rehabillitated while in prison, that does not automatically mean release.  I believe we should work to change and rehabillitate criminals inside prisons, even if it means they have to continue to carry out their sentence.

Anyway, I was thinkning about justice- death penalty and sentencing and thought this was an interesting topic.  Some people feel that the whole purpose is to rehabillitate, and this position really gives no consideration to victims and no consideration for justice.

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The criminal justice system...I'm guessing you are not refering to traffic violations?  My legal diction is quite poor.

I would say that punishment deters traffic violation more effectively than it deters things such as rape and murder.  The latter two are often done in the heat of the moment without logic, and if it was methodically carried out, then the motivations to do so obviously outweighed the possibility that they might get caught.

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OK, let's go through these.

Deterrence

Deterrence is beneficial because it dissuades potential criminals from committing a crime, and the crime happens less. Fairly straightforward. It does depend on having a justice system (from policing to investigation to judiciary) that takes the crime in question seriously and has a high record of detection and accuracy. The social cost of the crime, multiplied by the effect of the deterrence, must be weighed against the social cost of the penalties as well as the cost of making sure those penalties are exacted on all those and only those who commit the crime.

Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation is beneficial because it targets those who have offended before - the group most likely to do so again - and seeks to dissuade them from future crime by helping them deal with the proximate causes of their aggravation in non-criminal ways. It's a sticking-plaster, and it's labour-intensive, but if done seriously and not undermined at every turn, it can be very effective. It can work even if the justice system is inaccurate.

Punishment

Punishment is beneficial because it gives victims or their families the sweet taste of revenge. Er... great. It is problematic because unless the underlying causes of the crime are solved, it alienates the criminal further from society, gives them the feeling they are owed something, reinforces the acceptability of violence, and so on. Also, the greater the punishment, the more important that accuracy thing is, the harder it is to rectify mistakes, etc. The more a justice system is based around punishment, the more it is sensationalised and subject to media pressure rather than accuracy.

But, as Morval points out, we also need to look carefully at why crime happens. No-one looks up statistics on crime and thinks "Ah, the expected outcome, summing all the outcomes multiplied by their respective probabilities, turns out to be better for me if I mug a few pensioners. Let's see, where do I get a nasty-looking knife nowadays". Actually, there are probably some accountants and bankers that do that to a certain extent, but I think they're still motivated by *some of* the same principles, even if they're a little more callous and sociopathic about it.

We live in a society which promises freedom and metes out repression. We live in a society that promises prosperity and creates poverty. We live in a society that claims to be equal and delivers injustice. People feel alienated from society, and they lash out. Violence is an accepted part of society - we excuse and glorify war and heavy-handed policing and criminal 'justice'.

Not only do we regard so much violence as natural, we accept it and even support it, when it's in 'special circumstances'. We're not conditioned to refrain from violence on principle, we're conditioned to refrain from violence conditional on not feeling aggreived, conditional on accepting the norms of polite society. When polite society rejects you, you cease to feel an obligation to polite society.

And we live in a world where we're all increasingly alienated from society.

So for deterrence to work, we need the agents of the state to be prosecuted, not let off the hook, and for people to make a real connection and think "I have no right to do this" whenever the opportunity for a crime presents itself. For rehabilitation to be possible, we need a society that people want to rehabilitate themselves to. Otherwise we end up settling for punishment alone, which only reinforces the impossibility of the other two.

Sure, the responsibility for each crime ultimately rests with the criminal. But the responsibility for crime as a phenomenon lies with society.

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My view at the problem is little biased because I'm little too much working with the stoic theories right now...

So let's say that the three powers of criminal justice are affecting different faculties of mind: the goal of a punishment is to influence memory and pain, deterrence is to influence fear and rehabilitation tries to influence the maxims.

Then a person faces a situation, where a criminal solution has a certain advantage; 1) he may analyze whether the advantage is better than the punishment (or ability of legal organs to impose it; and thus he handles his fear); in case it was, the criminal justice have no effect on the attitude of the criminal. 2) On the other hand, he may persuade himself of the inevitability of the criminal solution and then (if fortune fades and he is captured by the police) accept the punishment in humility, seeing it as a rehabilitative process. When the punishment ends, he would see his act as something predestined and the punishment as well. Perhaps he would even welcome it, as it would make him in his own eyes "better". Thus he will be feeling no responsibility for the act and the consequent punishment, his maxims are unaffected.

By these views, a rational criminal would never be affected by the criminal justice. Of course, many crimes are done irrationally, but these are often handled as in the case 2). So I would conclude the goal of the justice can be only a protection of the victims.

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Hm. While this will be exceptionally useful should there be an outbreak of violence by philosophers, I fear that either such incidents tend to go underreported or they do not constitute a significant proportion of the crime rate at present.

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The criminal justice system...what should its purpose be?

1.  To deter

2.  To punish

3.  To rehabillitate

4.  TO ENTERTAIN!

Bring back public hangings and drawing-and-quartering! Yessss!

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Hm. While this will be exceptionally useful should there be an outbreak of violence by philosophers, I fear that either such incidents tend to go underreported or they do not constitute a significant proportion of the crime rate at present.

Marxists sometimes claim responsibility for such events  ;D  but of course it is a subjective speculation. I don't expect rational behavior from people in stress.

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As an aside, the moderators will also be taking notes during the course of this topic with regard to how people expect to be treated when they break forum rules.

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ha, that's funny, because I thought everyone here were mods except for me Kirby and Chigger.  That said. If I were sentenced to jail I would fully expect cable television and steak dinners.  I guess that would translate to free porn or something of the like to keep one entertained during the duration of the ban.  Oh, and i expect my porn to be directed by a prestigious movie director, with plot development, transitions, and the like.

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The criminal justice system should be there to give:

1. Punishments for criminals.

2. Criminals who have had their punishment should get a second chance, but instead of just being released they should work :

- For the army to teach rules and discipline for 3 months

- Serve as public help for 3 additional months.

3. Death sentence to criminals that are sentenced for 10 years or longer and doing a major offence for a second time.

Any criminal that had been sentenced for at least 2 years should accept that before being free or face an additionnal year of prison.

For criminals under 2 years of cell, they should only serve as public help for 3 months and if they refuse they get 3 months additional jail time.

Criminals with 10 years cell or more should do:

- Serve the army for 3 months

- Serve public help for 6 months

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As an aside, the moderators will also be taking notes during the course of this topic with regard to how people expect to be treated when they break forum rules.

Moue.

No death penalty should be an ideal we work for. It's barbaric. And morally reprehensible. It's wrong for one or several individuals to willfully take another life but OK if a larger group calling itself a "jury" all agree to it? Ridiculous.

Instead, how about personality reorganization through brainwashing with drugs and other methods. :P

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The purpose of the justice system should be to carry out justice, a physical imposition of fairness.

The question actually seems to be rather "what is the purpose of punishment?" Which is an entirely different kettle of fish.

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  Ah, yes.  Good point.  Indeed, these are entirely different sacks of potatoes.  I would say that the practical purpose of punishment is to deter crime through fear of legal enforcement of the law in the case of lesser crimes and thus ensure an orderly society.  In the case of prison time the practical purpose is to prevent the criminal from further harming society.  Essentially, the practical purpose of punishment is to protect people's rights and promote the general welfare.

The idealistic purpose of punishment would be to uphold the idea of an elected government that enforces the wishes of the people (in the case of a democracy/republic).

I'm not sure if rehabilitation fits in with punishment.  Punishment does not necessarily imply rehabilitation and rehabilitation does not necessarily imply punishment. They can, however, be considered to be the same thing at times.

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I agree that death penalty might not be the best solution, but for heavy offenders that repeat their crimes I think there is no viable alternative.

If punishment/rehabilitation didn't work, what would then ?

There are some offenders that you can't cure (by nature how their mind works they will fall again).

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The idealistic purpose of punishment would be to uphold the idea of an elected government that enforces the wishes of the people (in the case of a democracy/republic).

Well, uf, that would be very dark type of idealism; I would say a proscribed way of punishment in fact protects the criminals from being punished by exceedingly brutal means. Affected people usually prefer revenge, which tries to bring more harm to the criminal than he inflicted.

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Well, uf, that would be very dark type of idealism; I would say a proscribed way of punishment in fact protects the criminals from being punished by exceedingly brutal means. Affected people usually prefer revenge, which tries to bring more harm to the criminal than he inflicted.

Ah, probably bad wording on my part.  By using the phrase wishes of the people I was trying to imply it as a synonym for "the laws, created by the legislatures, who are elected by the people"

I meant it to be read as "The idealistic purpose of punishment would be to uphold the idea of an elected government that enforces legislation which in a democracy should reflect the rights of the people."

Didn't mean to imply the wishes of the actual victims, just society in general.

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