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Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Texas adds to our reputation as most backwards state in the country

It's hard to feel sorry for this woman considering the way she treated her horses. Nonetheless, this isn't the best political atmosphere to introduce "creative sentencing" in, considering how much of it skates on the edge of torture.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I'd say pretty much all of our efforts to increase punitive sentencing over the past few decades have been tantamount to torture of sorts. Listen to the rhetoric used to "sell" increases in sentencing and the like: "if they do the crime, they should suffer for doing so," is a common theme. Another one: "the victims of their crimes should have the satisfaction of knowing that the perpetrators are suffering."

You occassionally hear "They should be kept off the streets so they can't do more crime," but not that much.

You pretty much NEVER hear "They should be kept in jail where they'll be resocialized and rehabilitated."

If the objective of our prison system is, at its core, to inflict suffering on convicts, then why is sentencing someone to, for instance, two years of horrible conditions eating just bread and water morally worse than subjecting someone to three years of ordinarily bad prison conditions (assuming, roughly, that the convict is indifferent between three years of bad prison and two years of horrible prison)? (NOTE: to avoid misinterpretation, none of this is to say that prisons are morally equivalent to the Abu Ghraib or Camp X-Ray torture scandals, which are committed against those who have not even had a trail. I'm just saying that I don't see how inflicting suffering -- NOT trying to rehabilitate or incapacitate them from committing further crimes -- on those convicted of crimes is anything but par for the course in our justice system.)

Julian Elson

6/09/2004

 
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