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  •  Quick questions on justice... (none)
    I often see people make similar points on the nature of justice, so I thought I'd ask you some questions. (These are actually real questions, and not any veiled attack.)

    1. Without getting too far afield, if the judicial system is motivated by prevention and rehabilitation, would you advocate arresting people who had not yet committed a crime but were highly predisposed to in order to prevent / rehabilitate them?

    2. Moreover, if someone is an incorrigible car thief so rehabilitation fails, the only preventative measure would seem to be to just to lock the person up forever, which seems to me an extreme and "undeserved" punishment. (As opposed to re-arresting them each time they are released and steal a car.)

    I would like to avoid these possibilities, but I've never quite understood how to logically prevent these without making the justice system, at least in part, retributive (ie. there is an element of "the criminal deserves this", which is similar to but distinct from vengeance).
    •  Answers (none)
      Good questions:

      Here's your answers:

      By it's nature, CJS is punitive, but I believe it should not vengeful. Punishment is in a sense a form of deterence, albeit not very effective as a prevention of crimes by others. However, the likelihood of the person in prison commiting another crime against society while there is very low.

      1) I don't believe in preventetive incarceration for "future crimes". Although incarceration is in a sense just that, I believe that it's impossible to know fore sure what someone will do. If it was actually possible to deterimine what someone "would do" with 100% certainty, then I suppose I would have to call myself undecided on the issue. However, the Constitution would have to be considerably amended to allow such a thing.

      None of these things are simple, however, I just believe that violence by the state in any form in criminal matters is wrong and unhelpful

      2) I do believe in lifetime incarceration for incorrigibles, even thieves, if their crimes are large enough. If someone continually robs banks, then life in prison is fine with me, if they continually shoplife candy bars then no. Thieves are disruptive to society and as such need to be removed.

      •  Thanks for answering! (none)
        Brief responses:
        #1. I didn't so much mean prevention in a "Minority Report" sense as in a more mundane sense. Example: poor teenage males in large cities often end up in gangs. Gangs are breeding grounds for violent antisocial behavior. In a purely preventative / treatment approach, one could "arrest" someone for merely being in a gang and place them in some sort of rehabilitative environment (eg. foster home). This would not require certainly that the person would/did commit a crime, but only an acknowledgement that the person's circumstances are dangerous.

        #2. That seems logical within the framework of prevention/treatment. Ok.

        Thank you for answering!

        •  I attended a conference.... (none)
          on preventing youth violence shortly after the school shooting at Thurston High School in Springfield Oregon.  (I was a grad student at UO at the time)

          The one thing all of the expert presenters agreed on is that although there are lots of "indicators" for violent behavior, the vast majority of people with those indicators never become violent.

          I guess you could say the rate of false positives is extremely high.

          If we get to the point where brain scan technology can predict violent behavior with a lower rate of false positives, then this will become a very difficult ethical issue, IMO.

        •  #1 (none)
          I don't believe in that sort of arrest. I don't think that you can punish someone for their situation (or even help them through rehabilitation) until they commit a crime, it's one of the painful parts of living in a democracy I suppose. Although, for teens, any non-adult the situation is somewhat different, the membership in a gang might be construed as a form of parental neglect and perhaps in that instance it might be okay, I would have to think on it more.
          •  I agree (none)
            with you on this, which leads me to the conclusion that my ideal judicial system is, at its core, retributive: we cannot do anything to an individual (even to "help" him/her) until they are guity of something (ie. "deserve" to be helped/punished). I was just curious if you were able to get around this issue somehow.
            •  Hmmm...disagree slightly (none)
              It's only retributive if you consider the reason that you are sending them to prison is to punish them. I do not. I think the reason to send them to jail is to prevent them from commiting another crime, and there is two levels, 1) they cannot commit a crime in prison, and 2) they try to rehabilitate. I don't see any conflict.

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