It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Crime and Punishment: Back to the drawing board?

page: 1

log in


posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 06:30 AM
Since the beginning of time there has been crime, and since the beginning there has been punishment. In the beginning without a public/general government, punishment was more personal retribution than anything else. Later the Justice system fell into the laps of the kings, and the responsibility was later shifted to the Courts of the kings. As time went by the Courts were separated from the Governments. More or less to the system we have today. (A very short summation of a complex history.)

Punishment also varied from torture, to “an eye for an eye”, to being locked up in jails to death. Now, justice is a very complex topic, and one should consider moral implications, emotional implications, fairness, and so on and so forth.

The death penalty (capital punishment) was a favorite form of punishment throughout history, but was abolished in the majority of first world countries, but is still an acceptable form of punishment in some modern (and most less modern) countries (and states). The death penalty serves two purposes. To punish a criminal for extreme crimes, and to deter possible criminals from committing a crime, i.e. to keep the general population in line. There is actually little proof that the death penalty does what it is supposed to do. Especially if you look back at the days of public executions where hundreds and thousands of people were publicly executed, in extreme ways – especially in England as a discouragement to the chaotic crime wave. No matter the amount of executed “criminals”, crime did not decline, until the instatement of a decent law enforcement agency.

Even with law enforcement agencies, and a complex judicial system, there are still high crime statistics. Criminals (keep in mind that each and every person is a potential criminal) are not deterred by any “threat” of punishment. In the past couple of years we’ve changed our approach to crime from re-active to pro-active with high-tech security systems, including CCTV (especially in public places), visible policing, fences, alarms, and so on. We are trying to prevent crime, rather than using punishment as a deterrent.

Yet our jails are full. In some parts of even the most modern cities there are parts you won’t dare wander alone. Obviously locking up criminals (and sometimes throwing away the key) does not work, and in many cases criminals come out of jail worse off than when they first went in. Few criminals are reformed, and many of them end up in jail again and again. Clearly they didn’t see their time in jail as punishment.

Is taking someone out of society into a dark room really punishment? For some it may be, those that are not “criminal minds” but ended up in jail because of circumstances may feel jail time is valid punishment. But for the rest if not the majority?

Isn’t it time that governments and/or jurisdictional bodies re-evaluate the current punishment methods? In my opinion it’s not very effective. They’ve been using this system for thousands of years, but does it really work? Well, you’ll say that it must be effective if they’ve been using it this long, but it can’t be effective enough if it doesn’t stop criminals from doing what they’re doing, can it?

posted on Sep, 28 2006 @ 06:42 AM
I could not agree more, the crime and punishment system has proven over time that it does not work. On the contrary, it breeds more crime; a criminal is more likely to perform a criminal act upon release from a prison, the longer the time he did the higher the possibility of him committing a crime.
When we isolate someone from society, how do we expect him or her to be a part of it upon release?
What we need is rehabilitation, of course, there are sociopath and psychopath where no treatment or rehabilitation will be successful, and these of course need to be isolated from society.

Nevertheless, I believe that most crimes have basis in the difference of economy, if we where all equal to the system, there would be less impulse and hate crime. If we where all equally materialistically rich, there would be no reason for most crimes.

As I said though the average idiot, which think he can hit or force himself upon another will always be there, but I theorise that most crime is committed because of lack equality and a sense of powerlessness towards the system that is the governing body.

posted on Oct, 7 2006 @ 11:14 PM
Then what else could be done? The word education has been used but with no real effects on the criminal mind. Do we somehow brainwash them of any criminal thoughts they may have with drugs and treatments.
Maybe we put them all on one big island and force them to become good citizens.
I do not have a clue how to change peoples behavior because it seems some know right and wrong and some have no concept of it.

posted on Oct, 7 2006 @ 11:35 PM

Originally posted by factfinder38
Maybe we put them all on one big island and force them to become good citizens.

I think someone already tried this.

Australia is a unique among the nations of the world because it originated as a prison island. In the 17th and 18th century the British took their common criminals and other prisoners halfway across the world to Australia. There they would leave them with some supplies, and the prisoners, all alone, began to cultivate the island. Also many of the prisoners became shepherds. They began to raise many, many sheep. Sheep had never lived in Australia until then, but it turned out that they flourished, making sheep wool one of Australia's best exports.

I haven't been there, but I often here nice things about the nation and they have been good allies through the years.

Perhaps, some Australians could give their perspective on this unique national origin.

top topics

log in