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Does our system of government deliver JUSTICE? I do not believe so. I believe our laws and system of government deliver punishment in lieu of justice and in the false belief that punishment equals rehabilitation. Perhaps some form of justice is delivered in civil court, but even there "punitive" damages are awarded.

So what is justice? To a victim I believe justice is being made whole again. To an offender I believe justice means being rehabilitated. To society I believe justice means the victim is made whole and the offender is rehabilitated so that the offense is not repeated.

For a long time people have confused rehabilitation and justice for the victim as synonymous with punishing the offender. Hence the "eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth" adage found in the bible/Torah. Punishment does not make the victim whole. Not only does punishment not make the victim whole, but punishment does nothing to help the victim at all. Does punishment rehabilitate the offender? The answer is rarely. Clearly execution has no rehabilitative power. Putting someone in jail or prison helps most offenders become better offenders where training is provided by their peers. They learn from their peers how to avoid mistakes their peers made. To bring this closer to home, since when does getting a speeding ticket stop someone from speeding. Instead the offender will buy a radar detector or have a passenger look out for police. A DUI ticket doesn't stop someone from driving drunk, nor does a suspended license.

The point is punishment alone does little to stop offenders from either committing an offense or stopping them from committing another offense. A system of rewards and punishments might work, but punishment alone will not work. Instead of punishing an offender we need to rehabilitate the offender. This can be done through a system of rewards and punishments and by providing a means for offenders to do better by not offending. For example a person caught speeding could have their car adjusted to go ten miles an hour below the speed limit they were caught speeding in. Thus someone caught in a 25 mph zone could not go faster than 15 mph. They could be rewarded by having their car adjusted to go 5 mph faster every week they were not speeding.

Rehabilitation is fine for the offender, but does nothing to make the victim whole. Being raped is one of the worst crimes I can imagine being a victim of. A rape victim and the family and close friends should receive counseling for an indefinite period of time until they are whole again. The victim, family and friends will never be the same, but they can be made whole, but only with a whole lot of help from clinical psychologists and psychiatrists. The amount of help necessary is not something that the offender can usually pay for, so the help must be provided by society.

All of this means we need to totally rethink our laws and our system of justice. How to approach this is a difficult question, but, I believe such an approach will significantly reduce crime. Of course we also need to provide adequate housing, food, health care, and jobs for all to also reduce crime. But a combination of the providing for all, rehabilitating as opposed to punishing offenders, and making victims as whole as we can will significantly reduce crime as a problem for society. I did not say will prevent crime from happening, but dramatically reduce crime from happening.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    Practice tolerance, kindness and charity.

    by LWelsch on Wed Feb 23, 2011 at 04:02:11 AM PST

    •  Great diary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LWelsch, supercereal

      I believe there must be justice always for health and well being of all concerned.

      Even with small injustices that are committed everyday by all of us deserves at the very least an apology.

      With very few at the top ever being accountable for the great injustices perpetrated on the many, the small injustices are multiplying rampantly, over looked, ignored and our children begin to think that anything goes.

      Humans are not bad, but we do have lots of bad behaviour that must be corrected.

      Justice is just as important as love, truth, peace etc., etc.

      "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones"

      by roseeriter on Wed Feb 23, 2011 at 04:14:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  People just disagree w/ you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    For a long time people have confused rehabilitation and justice for the victim as synonymous with punishing the offender.

    No one's confusing these things; rather, people think punishment is an independent goal of the justice system.  When the perpetrator of a crime asserts herself over and against a victim, she brings low the victim and violates autonomy.  Punishment qua punishment reasserts the autonomy of the victim by bringing low the perpetrator. (that's a capsule version of an argument in Forgiveness & Mercy, a pretty interesting take on theories of punishment)
    •  Of course people disagree with me (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      roseeriter, supercereal

      No reason to publish a diary on a subject people agree with me on.

      Putting the offender below the victim does nothing to raise the offender up. Putting people below them is why segregation was so persistent. Poor whites kept poor African Americans below them. You see the same thing with the public employee bashing. Putting public employees below keeps private employees above.

      We need to learn that putting below just does not work.

      Practice tolerance, kindness and charity.

      by LWelsch on Wed Feb 23, 2011 at 05:05:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I agree with this very much. I think our society (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LWelsch, Floande

    focuses too much on punishment as opposed to rehabilitation. It's why I am opposed to things like sex offender registries, mandatory minimum sentences, keeping victimless crimes like drugs and prostitution illegal, keeping the death penalty, and not allowing prisoners to vote.

    Our effort and policies to help advance every individual shouldn't end once they get arrested or are incarcerated. Killing people or keeping them in jail for decades with horrible living conditions doesn't advance anything but more suffering.

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