American justice is a crime

Discussions that deal with moral issues. Key questions in ethics include: How should one live? What is right (or wrong) to do? What is the best way for humans to live?

Re: American justice is a crime

Postby BioWizard on September 23rd, 2016, 9:09 pm 

Serpent » 23 Sep 2016 07:42 pm wrote:Soyez clair sur ce que vous espérez accomplir. Ensuite, élaborer un plan.


Je pense que ce suffisamment clair.
User avatar
BioWizard
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 12763
Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Location: United States
Blog: View Blog (3)


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Braininvat on September 23rd, 2016, 9:29 pm 

Serpent » September 23rd, 2016, 5:42 pm wrote:Soyez clair sur ce que vous espérez accomplir. Ensuite, élaborer un plan.


C'etait pour toujours mon reve, que SCF deviendra un chambre francophone! Enfin!


Tres risant, Serpente.
User avatar
Braininvat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 6575
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Lomax on September 23rd, 2016, 11:24 pm 

S'il vous plaît: non. Je ne parle pas français!
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3653
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Serpent on September 23rd, 2016, 11:34 pm 

Moi non plus.
Fortunately, Google does.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3015
Joined: 24 Dec 2011
BioWizardLomax liked this post


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Athena on October 1st, 2016, 12:06 am 

Serpent » September 23rd, 2016, 3:33 pm wrote:So, have we decided?
What is the purpose of the criminal justice system?


I have heard the criminal justice system called a correction system, and considering what we pay for it, we are not getting our monies worth.
Athena
Banned User
 
Posts: 1936
Joined: 22 Apr 2012
Location: Eugene, Oregon


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Serpent on October 1st, 2016, 10:59 am 

Yes, Some nations do maintain that their criminal justice is intended for the correction of wayward citizens.
Now, we have to know what we mean by correction. Did they commit a crime by a mistake, because they didn't know any better? Or because they lacked the skills to earn an honest living? Or did they run afoul of the law because they were immature, had poor impulse-control, were unable to communicate effectively?

The earlier-mentioned Norwegian method of dealing with criminals does appear to have this kind of attitude. Their response is to teach the prisoners occupational, life and social skills, so that they may better integrate with the community upon release.
Lethal injection, even when correctly administered to someone who is actually guilty of a capital offence, does not achieve the same results.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3015
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Neri on October 16th, 2016, 12:58 pm 

Having read the posts on this topic, I am shocked by the appalling ignorance of the US criminal justice system expressed by many in this forum.

The US Constitution guarantees that anyone questioned by police--under circumstances where he reasonably believes that he is not free to go--must be advised that he has the right to remain silent and to have the assistance of counsel.

Further, under US law, a defendant can only be questioned by police for a few hours—otherwise, any statement he may give will be regarded as coerced and will be suppressed [made inadmissible at trial].

If a defendant requests counsel at any time during police questioning but cannot afford a lawyer, counsel will be provided free of charge before any questioning commences. Typically, a lawyer, once appointed, will instruct his client to remain silent. Under US law, it is quite proper for a lawyer to do this. Further, the fact that a defendant refuses to talk to police cannot be mentioned at trial, for under US law a defendant’s failure to give a statement to police cannot in any way be held against him.

Additionally, a defendant has the right not to give evidence at trial. In such case the court must instruct the jury that the defendant has a constitutional right not to take the stand or to present evidence of any kind and that this can in no way be held against him.

In this connection, the court will instruct the jury that the defendant has no burden to prove his innocence. On the contrary, only the prosecution has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime or crimes charged.

In Norway [and in all the other Scandinavian countries as well as in all the countries on the European continent] a person arrested by police on suspicion of having committed a crime is presumed to be guilty and can be detained in custody for months of questioning without ever being charged with a crime. Further, in most European countries, a suspect has no right to counsel during police questioning—and in countries where he does have such a right, his lawyer cannot interfere in any way with the questioning. Nor does an attorney in such case have the right to advise his client to remain silent. If a lawyer gives such advice, he subjects himself to discipline or even prosecution for obstructing justice.

In all European countries with the exception of England, the defendant has the burden at trial to prove his innocence. Thus, he must take the stand or call other witnesses; otherwise, he will surely be convicted. In other words, the absence of evidence in defendant’s case is considered evidence of guilt.

Although in England the prosecution is said to have the burden of proof--if the defendant refuses to take the stand, the court will instruct the jury to consider his refusal as evidence of guilt.

In both England and the United States, a defendant has the right to be tried by a jury of his peers. [In the US, the jurors must unanimously agree on the defendant’s guilt before he can be convicted.] No such right exists in Norway or the rest of Europe. There, a defendant is tried by judge(s) alone or by judges sitting as fact finders along with jurors. In the latter case, the judges deliberate with the jurors and, as a practical matter, determine the outcome. Whether a defendant is tried with or without a jury is determined by the rules of judicial procedure, without any input from the defendant. However, in no case does a jury alone determine a defendant’s guilt or innocence.

In the US, there is what is known as the exclusionary rule. The defendant has the right at a pre-trial hearing to question the legality of a police search and seizure that has yielded physical or documentary evidence tending to establish his guilt. If the court finds that any evidence was obtained in violation of a defendant’s rights under the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution [obtained without probable cause], that evidence will be suppressed. That is, no matter how real and probative the evidence may be, it cannot be used as evidence against the defendant at trial and will be excluded entirely from the case.

No such right exists on the European continent, or anywhere else for that matter. In Norway, for example, no matter how shocking and unlawful the actions of police in obtaining evidence may be, that evidence will be admissible at trial so long as it is real and relevant. The police officers involved may be disciplined but the evidence will nonetheless be admitted at trial.

There can be no doubt that US courts provide a defendant with very generous due process rights found no where else on earth. The US Supreme court has said that it is better to let thousands of the guilty go free than to convict a single innocent person. Apparently, in Norway and other countries, it is all-important to convict the guilty, even if some innocents are wrongly condemned.

At this point, I will only say that the view of US sentencing and penology as expressed by many on this forum bears no resemblance to reality. If time allows, I will expose their egregious errors.
Neri
Active Member
 
Posts: 1974
Joined: 11 Jun 2006
Location: Pennsylvania, USA


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Serpent on October 16th, 2016, 1:49 pm 

The theory sounds good. The practice is quite other.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3015
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Paul Anthony on October 16th, 2016, 5:41 pm 

Lomax » Fri Aug 05, 2016 7:34 am wrote:Most of them didn't steal anything at all. Nearly half are inside for drug "offenses", and a further tenth are inside for migration. Consequently the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world as well as the largest prison population in absolute numbers.



Be careful how you interpret those statistics. With an overcrowded court system (plus our fair share of lazy officials) very few convictions involve a trial. Most are settled with a plea bargain. Since the crime for which the convicted does time may not be as severe as the crime they were originally charged with, the statistics paint a picture of a lot of people in prison for minor offenses.

Neri's thoughtful and thorough explanation of the system as written is correct, but in reality, rarely performed.
User avatar
Paul Anthony
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5718
Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Location: Gilbert, AZ


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Serpent on October 16th, 2016, 6:25 pm 

Well, that's money again. In theory, all defense attorneys are equal; in money-culture, your life literally depends on whether you can afford the kind that wins cases, or you get stuck with an overworked, unprepared public defender whom nobody takes seriously. In theory, everyone is equal under the law; in money culture, some pigs are more equal than other workhorses.

But none of that gets us any closer to an idea of what justice system is for.
What do we want the police, the courts and the prisons to accomplish?
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3015
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Paul Anthony on October 16th, 2016, 6:55 pm 

Serpent » Sun Oct 16, 2016 3:25 pm wrote:
But none of that gets us any closer to an idea of what justice system is for.
What do we want the police, the courts and the prisons to accomplish?


I'm curious to hear your ideas.

Here's how it works (?) now:

A crime is committed.
The police investigate, determine who is the likely perpetrator and turn them over to the court.
The court system attempts to prove guilt, prosecute and send the convicted person to the prison system.
The prison sees to it that the perpetrator can't commit another crime for X number of years.

Let's be clear. The police do not prevent crime. They investigate after the fact. Is there any way to change that?

Or, would it help if they didn't get involved in victimless crimes, not clogging up the courts with so many minor offenses?

Would the cycle be broken if those who commit minor crimes were not housed with violent offenders?
User avatar
Paul Anthony
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5718
Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Location: Gilbert, AZ


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Serpent on October 16th, 2016, 9:37 pm 

That's the process, not the purpose. If you were going to design a vehicle, you'd need to know where you want it to take you before you chose the type of power-train and transmission.

I mean: What do you want the justice system to be for?
Possible answers might be:
- Revenge. To punish the lawbreakers (or sinners, or villains or bad guys).
- Quarantine. To keep us safe from criminals by locking them away where they can't hurt us.
- Deterrence. To discourage people from engaging in criminal activity by threat of retribution.
- Correction. To rehabilitate the antisocial so that they might fit into society.
- Remediation. To make up whatever maladjusted people have been deprived of so they function better.
- Reconciliation. To restore harmony between the errant member and his society.

Which of those purposes we choose depends largely on how we regard our fellow citizens and what we believe causes crime. Of course, the laws we make will depend largely on what we value, so they will be informed by the same attitude, or philosophy.
What's happened in north America is that ancient traditions and beliefs established the law-making. Over time, demographics, knowledge, attitudes and beliefs have changed, but all the newer layers of legislation and jurisprudence have been layered on a rotting, untenable infrastructure. There has never been a serious review and reform of the whole system, so it's terribly confused and working at cross-purposes with itself.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3015
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Athena on October 17th, 2016, 3:16 pm 

Neri » October 16th, 2016, 10:58 am wrote:Having read the posts on this topic, I am shocked by the appalling ignorance of the US criminal justice system expressed by many in this forum.

The US Constitution guarantees that anyone questioned by police--under circumstances where he reasonably believes that he is not free to go--must be advised that he has the right to remain silent and to have the assistance of counsel.

Further, under US law, a defendant can only be questioned by police for a few hours—otherwise, any statement he may give will be regarded as coerced and will be suppressed [made inadmissible at trial].

If a defendant requests counsel at any time during police questioning but cannot afford a lawyer, counsel will be provided free of charge before any questioning commences. Typically, a lawyer, once appointed, will instruct his client to remain silent. Under US law, it is quite proper for a lawyer to do this. Further, the fact that a defendant refuses to talk to police cannot be mentioned at trial, for under US law a defendant’s failure to give a statement to police cannot in any way be held against him.

Additionally, a defendant has the right not to give evidence at trial. In such case the court must instruct the jury that the defendant has a constitutional right not to take the stand or to present evidence of any kind and that this can in no way be held against him.

In this connection, the court will instruct the jury that the defendant has no burden to prove his innocence. On the contrary, only the prosecution has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime or crimes charged.

In Norway [and in all the other Scandinavian countries as well as in all the countries on the European continent] a person arrested by police on suspicion of having committed a crime is presumed to be guilty and can be detained in custody for months of questioning without ever being charged with a crime. Further, in most European countries, a suspect has no right to counsel during police questioning—and in countries where he does have such a right, his lawyer cannot interfere in any way with the questioning. Nor does an attorney in such case have the right to advise his client to remain silent. If a lawyer gives such advice, he subjects himself to discipline or even prosecution for obstructing justice.

In all European countries with the exception of England, the defendant has the burden at trial to prove his innocence. Thus, he must take the stand or call other witnesses; otherwise, he will surely be convicted. In other words, the absence of evidence in defendant’s case is considered evidence of guilt.

Although in England the prosecution is said to have the burden of proof--if the defendant refuses to take the stand, the court will instruct the jury to consider his refusal as evidence of guilt.

In both England and the United States, a defendant has the right to be tried by a jury of his peers. [In the US, the jurors must unanimously agree on the defendant’s guilt before he can be convicted.] No such right exists in Norway or the rest of Europe. There, a defendant is tried by judge(s) alone or by judges sitting as fact finders along with jurors. In the latter case, the judges deliberate with the jurors and, as a practical matter, determine the outcome. Whether a defendant is tried with or without a jury is determined by the rules of judicial procedure, without any input from the defendant. However, in no case does a jury alone determine a defendant’s guilt or innocence.

In the US, there is what is known as the exclusionary rule. The defendant has the right at a pre-trial hearing to question the legality of a police search and seizure that has yielded physical or documentary evidence tending to establish his guilt. If the court finds that any evidence was obtained in violation of a defendant’s rights under the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution [obtained without probable cause], that evidence will be suppressed. That is, no matter how real and probative the evidence may be, it cannot be used as evidence against the defendant at trial and will be excluded entirely from the case.

No such right exists on the European continent, or anywhere else for that matter. In Norway, for example, no matter how shocking and unlawful the actions of police in obtaining evidence may be, that evidence will be admissible at trial so long as it is real and relevant. The police officers involved may be disciplined but the evidence will nonetheless be admitted at trial.

There can be no doubt that US courts provide a defendant with very generous due process rights found no where else on earth. The US Supreme court has said that it is better to let thousands of the guilty go free than to convict a single innocent person. Apparently, in Norway and other countries, it is all-important to convict the guilty, even if some innocents are wrongly condemned.

At this point, I will only say that the view of US sentencing and penology as expressed by many on this forum bears no resemblance to reality. If time allows, I will expose their egregious errors.


Excuse me, I do not think we should make assumptions of what others know or do not know. The following is nice but in practice, it is a good way to experience police abuse.

The US Constitution guarantees that anyone questioned by police--under circumstances where he reasonably believes that he is not free to go--must be advised that he has the right to remain silent and to have the assistance of counsel.


And even with medical records of abuse, nothing will be done, because police abuse is excused with the explanation they have to deal with people with behavior problems. My granddaughter and I have dealt with this and from dealing with an attorney and the city major we know how powerless the citizen is.

Our military can not defend our liberty and justice, when the individuals do not stand for the defense of liberty and justice, and without education for the defense of liberty and justice, that will not be what we manifested.

Do you have any experience with this?

If a defendant requests counsel at any time during police questioning but cannot afford a lawyer, counsel will be provided free of charge before any questioning commences. Typically, a lawyer, once appointed, will instruct his client to remain silent. Under US law, it is quite proper for a lawyer to do this. Further, the fact that a defendant refuses to talk to police cannot be mentioned at trial, for under US law a defendant’s failure to give a statement to police cannot in any way be held against him.


The appointed attorney may or may not be well informed and skilled. It is almost guaranteed the attorney will do no more than plea bargain, and because the attorney is far more interested in life making easy for himself than justice, you can bet the attorney will not do hard work hard to prove your innocence. Leaving you the choice of a criminal record that will make getting a job and housing difficult, or possibly going to prison for something you didn't do. Only the attorney fails to tell you the consequences of pleading guilty to a lesser crime because he wants an easy job that pays him well, so he can retire early. I heard the attorney who failed to defend my friend, explain to someone standing in the line of fast food restaurant, his hopes for an early retirement. That was months after I did my best to get a better defense for my friend because I was innocent at the time, and didn't know how corrupt the system is.

Wow I wonder what your experience has been.

In this connection, the court will instruct the jury that the defendant has no burden to prove his innocence. On the contrary, only the prosecution has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime or crimes charged.


My father was sure if the police arrested my son my son must be guilty. The attorney appointed to his case tried to convince me that my son's defense should be to make everyone believe his friend did the crime. I was shocked and said that boy did not do the crime, and the attorney said, what do you care as long as I get your son off. I walked out his office, and we never spoke with him again. Fortunately, I was able to convince an honest police officer that my son didn't do the crime and he was able to get the case reopened and he found the right the young person. My son didn't even go to trial and the attorney didn't return the $300 fee I had to pay up front before he would accept the case. Having too much faith in the system as my father did, is not a good thing!

Yes, there is plenty of reason to doubt our justice system. It looks great on paper, but if you are wrongly accused of a crime, it doesn't look so good. Too many people are in the profession for the money, not a love of justice.
Last edited by Athena on October 17th, 2016, 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Athena
Banned User
 
Posts: 1936
Joined: 22 Apr 2012
Location: Eugene, Oregon


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Athena on October 17th, 2016, 4:03 pm 

Paul Anthony » October 16th, 2016, 4:55 pm wrote:
Serpent » Sun Oct 16, 2016 3:25 pm wrote:
But none of that gets us any closer to an idea of what justice system is for.
What do we want the police, the courts and the prisons to accomplish?


I'm curious to hear your ideas.

Here's how it works (?) now:

A crime is committed.
The police investigate, determine who is the likely perpetrator and turn them over to the court.
The court system attempts to prove guilt, prosecute and send the convicted person to the prison system.
The prison sees to it that the perpetrator can't commit another crime for X number of years.

Let's be clear. The police do not prevent crime. They investigate after the fact. Is there any way to change that?

Or, would it help if they didn't get involved in victimless crimes, not clogging up the courts with so many minor offenses?

Would the cycle be broken if those who commit minor crimes were not housed with violent offenders?


I think the answer to your last question is, no. 40 years ago I looked into being a probation officer and made this investigation a class paper when in college. I wrote convicts, visited with some convicts and interviewed recently released convicts. It is my informed opinion that the number one cause of crime is not knowing how to succeed on the streets. That is just flat not having self-confidence and not understanding how society works. The second cause of crime is substance abuse and doing something while under the influence of the substance. Correction is quite obviously EDUCATION. These people need the kind of learning that gives them self-confidence and a marketable skill, and their records need to be kept sealed so they actually do have another chance to get things right.

Prevention of crime begins with education. This is how a 5th grade reader explained that in 1864.

For the purpose of public instruction, we hold every man subject to taxation in proportion to his property, and we look not to the question whether he himself have of have not children, to be benefited by the education for which he pays. We regard it as a wise and liberal system of police, by which property and life and peace of society are secured.


All children should learn we protect our liberty by obeying the law. If we think the law is wrong, it is our responsibility as citizens to change the law, but not agreeing with the law, does not excuse violating it. This is basically understanding good moral judgement, democratic principles and our relationship with our institutions. That was the original purpose of education in the US, that justified taxing everyone to pay for it.
Athena
Banned User
 
Posts: 1936
Joined: 22 Apr 2012
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Paul Anthony liked this post


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Neri on October 17th, 2016, 10:11 pm 

Athena,

As an attorney with more than forty years of experience including hundreds of jury trials and as a former prosecutor specially assigned to investigate allegations of police brutality, I can say with complete confidence that what you say is rubbish.
Neri
Active Member
 
Posts: 1974
Joined: 11 Jun 2006
Location: Pennsylvania, USA


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Neri on October 17th, 2016, 10:14 pm 

Penology and Sentencing in US Courts

As previously mentioned, the above subject is a matter of considerable ignorance among those whose comments have been posted herein.

To begin with, the notion that young first-time drug users are routinely sentenced to state or federal prisons along with violent criminals bears no resemblance to reality.

For example, the possession of a quantity of marihuana consistent with personal use has been virtually [in some states, actually] decriminalized. In other words, cases of this sort are rarely, if ever, prosecuted.

Typically, a person who is found in possession of a quantity of marihuana consistent with either personal use or intent to sell is entered into a program wherein he is placed on probation without an adjudication of guilt. If he completes his term of probation without incident, his record of arrest will be expunged.

However, such an offender must consent to such a disposition. If he demands a trial and is found guilty, he will usually be placed on probation anyway; but, in such case, he will have a criminal record that will not be expunged. For obvious reasons, the overwhelming majority who are offered probation without adjudication of guilt do not demand a trial.

If such an offender is convicted of a crime committed while on probation, he will be removed from the program and sent for trial on the original offense.

The procedure is similar where the possession of hard drugs is concerned, except that the offender is always brought before the court. Typically, he is offered a period of probation without adjudication of guilt, on condition that he successfully completes drug-addiction treatment at a residential facility designated by the court.

If the offender leaves the facility before his treatment is completed, the court will order his arrest and detain him as a probation violator. He will not be released until the court is satisfied that he will complete the course of treatment. Usually a few days in prison is sufficient to motivate the offender to do so. The purpose of the court is not to punish drug addicts but rather to insure that they receive adequate treatment for their addiction.

The procedure is quite different where the quantity of drugs is so great that it is apparent that the possessor is engaged in the business of selling drugs. These cases are always fully prosecuted. If the defendant is convicted, he is usually sentenced to a term of imprisonment. What that term may be is largely determined by applicable federal or state sentencing guidelines. Generally, if a defendant has a significant prior criminal history, he will receive a greater term of imprisonment than he would otherwise. It should be noted that the federal sentencing guidelines are more severe than state guidelines. However, most drug-trafficking cases are tried in state courts.

Regarding imprisonment for state offenses, it should be borne in mind that the term of imprisonment determines the place of confinement. Usually for non-violent offenses wherein a sentence imposed is less than two years, the defendant will serve the term of imprisonment in a county jail. Such jails have a work-release program wherein the prisoner is released every weekday to work on his regular job. At the end of the day, he returns to the jail where he spends the night. On weekends, he works with other prisoners to do maintenance in the jail and on the jail grounds. The court must authorize work-release and usually does so. With good reason, convicts regard a county-jail sentence as “easy time.”

If a prisoner absconds while on work release, he will be apprehended [if possible] and will serve the rest of his sentence in total confinement. He will also be charged with the crime of Prison Escape and, if convicted, will receive additional imprisonment [which he will serve in either the county jail or the state prison, depending on the term of the imprisonment].

State prisons, as opposed to county jails, are populated by violent thugs with long criminal records. A state prison sentence is regarded as “hard time,” principally because the prisoners themselves present a danger of violence to each other. Understandably, the work of guards in state prisons is regarded as hazardous duty.

A state prison is indubitably not a place where young non-violent first offenders are regularly sent. The state prisons house cutthroats of every description, multiple and child murderers, forcible rapists and sodomists, child abusers, crazed sadists, armed robbers and dangerous felons of every description. The courts are well aware of these facts and are therefore loathe to send a young first offender into such an environment--unless, of course, he is himself guilty of a crime of violence similar to those mentioned above. In that case, he will rightly be sent to state prison, for to do otherwise would devalue the gravity of the offense.

It is not difficult to imagine what the result would be if violent felons of the sort described above were placed in a hotel-like setting, as some misguided “reformers” have suggested. These criminals are caged like animals for a very good reason. They behave like animals. The social policy in such cases, more than anything else, is protection of innocent citizens. However, attempts at reforming dangerous prisoners have not been ignored.

Although virtually all studies have shown that the rehabilitation of hardened, violent felons is seldom effective, enormous sums of money have been spent in the attempt to do so. This includes such things as individual and group therapy, vocational training, and educational programs directed at obtaining a high school diploma or even a college degree. Indeed, the so-called rehabilitation of violent felons has become a highly profitable business receiving millions of dollars of public funds with very little to show in the way of concrete results.
Neri
Active Member
 
Posts: 1974
Joined: 11 Jun 2006
Location: Pennsylvania, USA


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Serpent on October 17th, 2016, 11:25 pm 

Although virtually all studies have shown that the rehabilitation of hardened, violent felons is seldom effective, enormous sums of money have been spent in the attempt to do so. This includes such things as individual and group therapy, vocational training, and educational programs directed at obtaining a high school diploma or even a college degree. Indeed, the so-called rehabilitation of violent felons has become a highly profitable business receiving millions of dollars of public funds with very little to show in the way of concrete results.

This is interesting in two ways.

Something is 1. shown to be ineffective 2. is a highly profitable business [because] 3. it receives millions of public dollars. Has a familiar ring, money/politics-wise. Who's in charge of allocating those funds and who is making the profit?

To me the more interesting question is the etiology and development of a hardened violent felon. I have to assume he was once a squishy, damp, feeble infant, much like every other new human. And then something happened. Wouldn't it be interesting to know what happened and maybe figure out how to prevent it happening so often? Wouldn't that be cheaper than belated attempts at rehabilitation?
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3015
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Paul Anthony on October 17th, 2016, 11:35 pm 

Neri » Mon Oct 17, 2016 7:14 pm wrote:Penology and Sentencing in US Courts

As previously mentioned, the above subject is a matter of considerable ignorance among those whose comments have been posted herein.

To begin with, the notion that young first-time drug users are routinely sentenced to state or federal prisons along with violent criminals bears no resemblance to reality.

For example, the possession of a quantity of marihuana consistent with personal use has been virtually [in some states, actually] decriminalized. In other words, cases of this sort are rarely, if ever, prosecuted.

Typically, a person who is found in possession of a quantity of marihuana consistent with either personal use or intent to sell is entered into a program wherein he is placed on probation without an adjudication of guilt. If he completes his term of probation without incident, his record of arrest will be expunged.

However, such an offender must consent to such a disposition. If he demands a trial and is found guilty, he will usually be placed on probation anyway; but, in such case, he will have a criminal record that will not be expunged. For obvious reasons, the overwhelming majority who are offered probation without adjudication of guilt do not demand a trial.

If such an offender is convicted of a crime committed while on probation, he will be removed from the program and sent for trial on the original offense.

The procedure is similar where the possession of hard drugs is concerned, except that the offender is always brought before the court. Typically, he is offered a period of probation without adjudication of guilt, on condition that he successfully completes drug-addiction treatment at a residential facility designated by the court.

If the offender leaves the facility before his treatment is completed, the court will order his arrest and detain him as a probation violator. He will not be released until the court is satisfied that he will complete the course of treatment. Usually a few days in prison is sufficient to motivate the offender to do so. The purpose of the court is not to punish drug addicts but rather to insure that they receive adequate treatment for their addiction.

The procedure is quite different where the quantity of drugs is so great that it is apparent that the possessor is engaged in the business of selling drugs. These cases are always fully prosecuted. If the defendant is convicted, he is usually sentenced to a term of imprisonment. What that term may be is largely determined by applicable federal or state sentencing guidelines. Generally, if a defendant has a significant prior criminal history, he will receive a greater term of imprisonment than he would otherwise. It should be noted that the federal sentencing guidelines are more severe than state guidelines. However, most drug-trafficking cases are tried in state courts.

Regarding imprisonment for state offenses, it should be borne in mind that the term of imprisonment determines the place of confinement. Usually for non-violent offenses wherein a sentence imposed is less than two years, the defendant will serve the term of imprisonment in a county jail. Such jails have a work-release program wherein the prisoner is released every weekday to work on his regular job. At the end of the day, he returns to the jail where he spends the night. On weekends, he works with other prisoners to do maintenance in the jail and on the jail grounds. The court must authorize work-release and usually does so. With good reason, convicts regard a county-jail sentence as “easy time.”

If a prisoner absconds while on work release, he will be apprehended [if possible] and will serve the rest of his sentence in total confinement. He will also be charged with the crime of Prison Escape and, if convicted, will receive additional imprisonment [which he will serve in either the county jail or the state prison, depending on the term of the imprisonment].

State prisons, as opposed to county jails, are populated by violent thugs with long criminal records. A state prison sentence is regarded as “hard time,” principally because the prisoners themselves present a danger of violence to each other. Understandably, the work of guards in state prisons is regarded as hazardous duty.

A state prison is indubitably not a place where young non-violent first offenders are regularly sent. The state prisons house cutthroats of every description, multiple and child murderers, forcible rapists and sodomists, child abusers, crazed sadists, armed robbers and dangerous felons of every description. The courts are well aware of these facts and are therefore loathe to send a young first offender into such an environment--unless, of course, he is himself guilty of a crime of violence similar to those mentioned above. In that case, he will rightly be sent to state prison, for to do otherwise would devalue the gravity of the offense.

It is not difficult to imagine what the result would be if violent felons of the sort described above were placed in a hotel-like setting, as some misguided “reformers” have suggested. These criminals are caged like animals for a very good reason. They behave like animals. The social policy in such cases, more than anything else, is protection of innocent citizens. However, attempts at reforming dangerous prisoners have not been ignored.

Although virtually all studies have shown that the rehabilitation of hardened, violent felons is seldom effective, enormous sums of money have been spent in the attempt to do so. This includes such things as individual and group therapy, vocational training, and educational programs directed at obtaining a high school diploma or even a college degree. Indeed, the so-called rehabilitation of violent felons has become a highly profitable business receiving millions of dollars of public funds with very little to show in the way of concrete results.


On what planet do you practice law?
User avatar
Paul Anthony
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5718
Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Location: Gilbert, AZ


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Neri on October 18th, 2016, 8:10 am 

Paul Anthony,

Since 1965, I have practiced law in the trial and appeals courts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I have also practiced before the U. S. District Court for the Easter District of Pennsylvania and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and have served as Chief Counsel for the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole.

Where do you practice law?
Neri
Active Member
 
Posts: 1974
Joined: 11 Jun 2006
Location: Pennsylvania, USA


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Neri on October 18th, 2016, 8:33 am 

Serpent,

Public funds spent on rehabilitation of violent convicts--whether paid to private companies or public employees---are largely wasted. However, it has become a political necessity to make expenditures of this sort, largely because of pressure from people such as yourself.
Neri
Active Member
 
Posts: 1974
Joined: 11 Jun 2006
Location: Pennsylvania, USA


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Serpent on October 18th, 2016, 9:32 am 

Neri » October 18th, 2016, 7:33 am wrote:Serpent,
Public funds spent on rehabilitation of violent convicts--whether paid to private companies or public employees---are largely wasted. However, it has become a political necessity to make expenditures of this sort, largely because of pressure from people such as yourself.

The boondoggle is my fault?
What pressure have I put on whom to create and then fail to rehabilitate hardened criminals?

I haven't suggested any procedure or reform, or even said that the system doesn't work - only that it doesn't appear to conform to the theory. How can I judge whether something works until I have an idea what it's supposed to do? All I've done is ask what you people [Americans] want your criminal justice system to do, and nobody, including your expert self, has had an answer, other than to say that it works just fine, except when it fails.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3015
Joined: 24 Dec 2011
Paul Anthony liked this post


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Neri on October 18th, 2016, 1:23 pm 

Serpent,

I do not know whether or not you are an American, nor do I care. Obviously, if you are from another country, you are not in a position to exert political pressure in this country.

The point I was making is that it is Americans who share your views on violent crime that are in large measure responsible for wasting vast sums of money in the vain attempt to reform violent criminals, when the money could be better spent elsewhere.

The notion that violent criminals are not evildoers but rather victims of a corrupt society is not only naïve but also tends to encourage antisocial behavior--in particular, crimes of violence.

The purpose of the criminal law is to preserve the social order so that peaceable citizens will be safe in their homes, work places and daily activities. There can be no society where the only law is force and violence. This should be clear enough.

Most violent felons are sociopaths. As such, they feel no empathy for their fellow man and act impulsively to gratify their loathsome desires.

Thus, serial murderers kill because it gives them pleasure, for they attach value to no one but themselves. Forcible rapists do not commit their atrocities because they seek only sexual gratification. Rather, it gives them pleasure to brutalize and humiliate women. Gangsters and armed robbers commit violent acts, because they enjoy the criminal life style and believe that only “suckers” work for a living.

I am reminded of when the country music singer, Johnny Cash, put on a show for violent felons in a state prison. When he sang the line-- “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die”—the audience cheered and laughed uproariously. This speaks volumes on the character of the violent felon.

The last thing we need to do is to make excuses for such miscreants. They are not victims of society. Rather they chose to victimize society. Accordingly, they need to be separated from decent citizens for a term sufficient to cool their vicious ardor in old age. Nothing less will guarantee the preservation of the social order.
Neri
Active Member
 
Posts: 1974
Joined: 11 Jun 2006
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Paul Anthony liked this post


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Braininvat on October 18th, 2016, 2:39 pm 

Hafta say, wouldn't mind seeing some evidence to back the claim that most violent felons are sociopaths.

If that is true, then sure, I'd agree that reform efforts might be largely wasted.

By evidence, btw, I do not mean anecdotal accounts of singing in Folsom Prison.
User avatar
Braininvat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 6575
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Serpent on October 18th, 2016, 2:41 pm 

Neri » October 18th, 2016, 12:23 pm wrote:The point I was making is that it is Americans who share your views on violent crime that are in large measure responsible for wasting vast sums of money in the vain attempt to reform violent criminals, when the money could be better spent elsewhere.

What views have I expressed on violent crime that would lead you to think that?

The notion that violent criminals are not evildoers but rather victims of a corrupt society is not only naïve but also tends to encourage antisocial behavior--in particular, crimes of violence.

Well, that would explain why America produces so many more evildoers than Japan does: more Americans than Japanese think that violent criminals are victims of a corrupt society and thus encourage it.
If true, that answers one of my questions.
Most violent felons are sociopaths. As such, they feel no empathy for their fellow man and act impulsively to gratify their loathsome desires.

So, they're born that way? That answers another of my questions.
Then, you should study what it's in the water in Switzerland to prevent this birth defect.
The purpose of the criminal law is to preserve the social order so that peaceable citizens will be safe in their homes, work places and daily activities. There can be no society where the only law is force and violence. This should be clear enough.....
....The last thing we need to do is to make excuses for such miscreants. They are not victims of society. Rather they chose to victimize society. Accordingly, they need to be separated from decent citizens for a term sufficient to cool their vicious ardor in old age. Nothing less will guarantee the preservation of the social order.

So say you all? That answers my central question.

Knowing that is your purpose and being resolved to accomplish it, you should be able to come up with a more effective method, so that most Americans do feel safe. If that's not the case, the obstacle is either lack of resolve, or that you are not all agreed on the purpose; perhaps both.
If so, the first task of reform is to obtain or impose a consensus.

ETA - most audiences of every sort cheer that line. Most American audiences also cheer car-pileups and exploding heads. You really should test the water supply!
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3015
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Athena on October 18th, 2016, 6:37 pm 

Neri » October 17th, 2016, 8:11 pm wrote:Athena,

As an attorney with more than forty years of experience including hundreds of jury trials and as a former prosecutor specially assigned to investigate allegations of police brutality, I can say with complete confidence that what you say is rubbish.


Excuse me. I have provided facts. Maybe in your community things are different, but you are disrespectful, and you are a damn fool if you think every community is just like yours. I was not necessary to throw my granddaughter on the ground and handcuff her in front of her son. She was not committing a crime, and her son was traumatized, and for years expressed a distrust of police officers who would treat his mother that way. She was a non-violent protester, and as long as she was in the protest after that, I kept her son to protect him from witnessing such a thing again. Call me old fashioned, but I was horrified that a man would treat a woman like that. You have not made anything better by saying I am speaking rubbish. You have just increased the gap between us.
Athena
Banned User
 
Posts: 1936
Joined: 22 Apr 2012
Location: Eugene, Oregon


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Athena on October 18th, 2016, 7:02 pm 

Braininvat » October 18th, 2016, 12:39 pm wrote:Hafta say, wouldn't mind seeing some evidence to back the claim that most violent felons are sociopaths.

If that is true, then sure, I'd agree that reform efforts might be largely wasted.

By evidence, btw, I do not mean anecdotal accounts of singing in Folsom Prison.


I hope this meets your standard for credible information.

https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/ ... x?ID=47546

THE SOCIOPATHIC PERSONALITY IS ASSESSED AND IS CALLED THE MOST DANGEROUS CRIMINAL TYPE BECAUSE OF AN INABILITY TO ENGAGE IN NORMAL RELATIONSHIPS AND A TOTAL ABSORPTION IN SELF-GRATIFICATION.
Abstract: SOCIOPATHS HAVE BEEN DESCRIBED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL AS CHARMING, INTELLIGENT, SUPERFICIAL, OUTWARDLY FRIENDLY, AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. SOCIOPATHIC, PSYCHOPATHIC, AND ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITIES ARE ALL CLOSELY RELATED AND HAVE BEEN DEFINED AS PERSONALITY TYPES EXHIBITING A PROFOUND AND USUALLY UNTREATABLE FORM OF ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR. MANY MASS MURDERERS, RAPISTS, AND A LARGE PERCENTAGE OF HABITUAL CRIMINALS EXHIBIT THE LACK OF GUILT AND NEED FOR INSTANT GRATIFICATION WHICH IS CHARACTERISTIC OF THIS BEHAVIOR TYPE, AS DO MANY HIGH-PRESSURE SALESMEN AND BUSINESS FRAUD CRIMINALS. DEPENDING ON THE AUTHORITIES QUOTED, SOCIOPATHS MAY CONSTITUTE UP TO 35 PERCENT OF THE PRISON POPULATION AND ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR AS MUCH AS 80 TO 90 PERCENT OF ALL CRIMES. DURING THE PAST DECADES THE GROWTH OF COMMUNITY-BASED CORRECTIONS PROGRAMS HAS RESULTED IN A NUMBER OF THESE PERSONALITY TYPES BEING RETURNED TO THE COMMUNITY WHERE THEIR BASIC LACK OF CONCERN FOR OTHERS IMMEDIATELY LEADS TO NEW AND MORE SERIOUS CRIMES. ONE CALIFORNIA CASE IS CITED IN WHICH A SOCIOPATH WAS SENT TO PENAL AND PSYCHIATRIC INSTITUTIONS FOR 6 YEARS FOR SHOOTING HIS GRANDPARENTS. A FEW WEEKS AFTER A PSYCHIATRIC EVALUATION FOUND 'NO PSYCHIATRIC REASON TO CONSIDER HIM A THREAT TO HIMSELF OR ANY OTHER MEMBER OF SOCIETY,' HE MURDERED AND DISMEMBERED SIX YOUNG GIRLS, BLUDGEONED HIS MOTHER TO DEATH, AND STRANGLED ONE OF HER FRIENDS. THE CASE IS CALLED EXTREME, BUT UNFORTUNATELY NOT ATYPICAL OF THE SOCIOPATH. PRISON EVALUATORS ARE WARNED NOT TO BE FOOLED BY THEIR CHARMING MANNER, THEIR WILLINGNESS TO COOPERATE, AND THEIR EFFORTS TO WIN FAVORS AND RELEASE. TIME ALONE CAN CURE THE SOCIOPATH, OR AT LEAST TURN HIS BEHAVIOR AWAY FROM VIOLENT ACTIVITIES. LONG-TERM INCARCERATION IS URGED FOR THE PROTECTION OF SOCIETY FROM SOCIOPATHS WHO COMMIT VIOLENT CRIMES. (GLR)


However, these folks also worked for Enron and were involved the banking meltdown because some industries welcome these folks and reward them very well. There are legitimate places in our society for them and as long as they stay within the law they can do very well. We should not assume they are all criminals.
Athena
Banned User
 
Posts: 1936
Joined: 22 Apr 2012
Location: Eugene, Oregon


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Athena on October 18th, 2016, 7:22 pm 

Serpent » October 18th, 2016, 12:41 pm wrote:
Neri » October 18th, 2016, 12:23 pm wrote:The point I was making is that it is Americans who share your views on violent crime that are in large measure responsible for wasting vast sums of money in the vain attempt to reform violent criminals, when the money could be better spent elsewhere.

What views have I expressed on violent crime that would lead you to think that?

The notion that violent criminals are not evildoers but rather victims of a corrupt society is not only naïve but also tends to encourage antisocial behavior--in particular, crimes of violence.

Well, that would explain why America produces so many more evildoers than Japan does: more Americans than Japanese think that violent criminals are victims of a corrupt society and thus encourage it.
If true, that answers one of my questions.
Most violent felons are sociopaths. As such, they feel no empathy for their fellow man and act impulsively to gratify their loathsome desires.

So, they're born that way? That answers another of my questions.
Then, you should study what it's in the water in Switzerland to prevent this birth defect.
The purpose of the criminal law is to preserve the social order so that peaceable citizens will be safe in their homes, work places and daily activities. There can be no society where the only law is force and violence. This should be clear enough.....
....The last thing we need to do is to make excuses for such miscreants. They are not victims of society. Rather they chose to victimize society. Accordingly, they need to be separated from decent citizens for a term sufficient to cool their vicious ardor in old age. Nothing less will guarantee the preservation of the social order.

So say you all? That answers my central question.

Knowing that is your purpose and being resolved to accomplish it, you should be able to come up with a more effective method, so that most Americans do feel safe. If that's not the case, the obstacle is either lack of resolve, or that you are not all agreed on the purpose; perhaps both.
If so, the first task of reform is to obtain or impose a consensus.

ETA - most audiences of every sort cheer that line. Most American audiences also cheer car-pileups and exploding heads. You really should test the water supply!


I don't think a sociopath is born that way, however, this could be possible. It is also possible childhood circumstances affect the problem.


http://eyesofasociopath.weebly.com/statistics.html
Sociopath Statistics

The sociopath makes up approximately 3 to 5 percent of the general population. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about three out of 100 males and one in 100 are sociopaths. Approximately 70 percent of sociopaths who come from fatherless homes and 30 percent are born out of wedlock. As many as 15 to 25 percent of prison inmates who show signs of being sociopaths.


I think saying they choose to victimize others is an overstatement.


http://eyesofasociopath.weebly.com/statistics.html

Sociopathic behavior has a wide spectrum of causes and explanations. The chief among them would be neurological abnormalities in the frontal lobe of the brain. It is a section of the brain that is the center for judgment and self-control. Genetic factors can be at the root of a sociopathic personality. Sociologist, Dr. Lee Robins, determined that the odds were increased for children to inherit the sociopathic traits if one of the parents had the condition. There also are environmental facts that can play a role. Studies have proven that the circumstances centered in the home, school or community settings also can contribute to the sociopathic behavior. It also has been shown that if a normal amount of affection was not expressed by the parents, it could generate dysfunction for the child that would manifest itself in sociopathic tendencies.


Unfortunately being an attorney does not equal being a psychiatrist nor does it assure wisdom. And this may be the problem with our system. People who do particular jobs become biased and the judgment can be warped. You know the prison experiment that had to be canceled because the participants were demonstrating severe character changes. I know I firmly decided against become a probation officer when I interviewed one. She spoke to me as though I were just released from prison and I thought her job had made her nuts. I also knew a police officer who stopped being a police officer when realized he was no longer having a normal emotional reaction when called to investigate child abuse cases. He noticed the character change in himself and got out before it got any worse. I think we need to be aware of how jobs can change people and their judgment, and stop thinking of them as "experts" we can rely on without question.
Athena
Banned User
 
Posts: 1936
Joined: 22 Apr 2012
Location: Eugene, Oregon
BraininvatPaul Anthony liked this post


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Serpent on October 18th, 2016, 10:43 pm 

Athena » October 18th, 2016, 6:22 pm wrote:I don't think a sociopath is born that way, however, this could be possible. It is also possible childhood circumstances affect the problem.

It can't be circumstances, because then people like me would be tempted to feel sorry for them and waste valuable resources on a doomed attempt to rehabilitate them.
Supposing environment has some influence, then, is there an early indication that a child is significantly more likely than the average to become a sociopath? Are there any genetic markers to look for? Are there any symptoms that can be recognized before the person become a full-fledged violent criminal?
If so, something can surely done to prevent him or her doing all that evil? Surely, it's worth a try, since hardened criminals are so extremely expensive to keep sequestered from their potential victims.

I'm still bewildered, though, why the US produces more sociopaths than any other developed western industrial nation. I would have expected them to be at the forefront of scientific research to solve the sociopath problem.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3015
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby Athena on October 19th, 2016, 9:34 am 

wolfhnd » August 4th, 2016, 3:35 pm wrote:Comparing Norway to any other country is likely to be misleading. Norway has one of the best public health system and prison systems because it is a small country with lots of oil revenue. Don't believe the nationalistic jingoism that the U.S.is the richest country in the world. GDP per capita puts Norway 6th and the U.S. 10th. More importantly Norway is a homogeneous country with Scandinavian collectivist traditions. The U.S. is a country of isolated social groups that do not share ethnic identity, history, political orientation,nor aspirations.

It would be more insightful to compare the U.S. prison system with that of Russia. I'm not saying it should not be reformed only that it faces challenges Norway does not have.

In the reform of the prison system I would ask you to consider how a collectivist approach that is not color blind effects human agency. The price of individual freedom is individual responsibility. Part of that responsibility is the maintenance of individual property. As I said Scandinavian countries have a collectivist mentality that is impractical to expect a heterogenous country like the U.S. to be able to maintain. A large country such as the U.S. has fiscal responsibilities that it's diverse population will never be able to prioritize. Fully funding a humane prison system is not likely to be an exception.


I really don't like repeating myself, but I don't people are picking up the meaning of the following quote and why education is so important. This is from an 1864 Fifth Reader and was the sole purpose of education before vocational training was added in 1917.

1. For the purpose of public instruction, we hold every man subject to taxation in proportion to his property, and we look not to the question whether he himself have of have not children, to be benefited by the education for which he pays. We regard it as a wise and liberal system of police, by which property and life and peace of society are secured.

2. We hope to excite a feeling of responsibility and a sense of character, by enlarging the capacity and increasing the sphere of intellectual enjoyment. By general instruction, we seek, as far as possible, to purify the whole moral atmosphere; to keep good sentiments uppermost, and to turn the strong current of feeling and opinion, as well as the censures of the law and the denunciation of religion, against immorality and crime. Education, to accomplish the ends of good government, should be universally diffused.
Athena
Banned User
 
Posts: 1936
Joined: 22 Apr 2012
Location: Eugene, Oregon


Re: American justice is a crime

Postby ronjanec on October 19th, 2016, 10:11 am 

Paul Anthony » Mon Oct 17, 2016 9:35 pm wrote:
Neri » Mon Oct 17, 2016 7:14 pm wrote:Penology and Sentencing in US Courts

As previously mentioned, the above subject is a matter of considerable ignorance among those whose comments have been posted herein.

To begin with, the notion that young first-time drug users are routinely sentenced to state or federal prisons along with violent criminals bears no resemblance to reality.

For example, the possession of a quantity of marihuana consistent with personal use has been virtually [in some states, actually] decriminalized. In other words, cases of this sort are rarely, if ever, prosecuted.

Typically, a person who is found in possession of a quantity of marihuana consistent with either personal use or intent to sell is entered into a program wherein he is placed on probation without an adjudication of guilt. If he completes his term of probation without incident, his record of arrest will be expunged.

However, such an offender must consent to such a disposition. If he demands a trial and is found guilty, he will usually be placed on probation anyway; but, in such case, he will have a criminal record that will not be expunged. For obvious reasons, the overwhelming majority who are offered probation without adjudication of guilt do not demand a trial.

If such an offender is convicted of a crime committed while on probation, he will be removed from the program and sent for trial on the original offense.

The procedure is similar where the possession of hard drugs is concerned, except that the offender is always brought before the court. Typically, he is offered a period of probation without adjudication of guilt, on condition that he successfully completes drug-addiction treatment at a residential facility designated by the court.

If the offender leaves the facility before his treatment is completed, the court will order his arrest and detain him as a probation violator. He will not be released until the court is satisfied that he will complete the course of treatment. Usually a few days in prison is sufficient to motivate the offender to do so. The purpose of the court is not to punish drug addicts but rather to insure that they receive adequate treatment for their addiction.

The procedure is quite different where the quantity of drugs is so great that it is apparent that the possessor is engaged in the business of selling drugs. These cases are always fully prosecuted. If the defendant is convicted, he is usually sentenced to a term of imprisonment. What that term may be is largely determined by applicable federal or state sentencing guidelines. Generally, if a defendant has a significant prior criminal history, he will receive a greater term of imprisonment than he would otherwise. It should be noted that the federal sentencing guidelines are more severe than state guidelines. However, most drug-trafficking cases are tried in state courts.

Regarding imprisonment for state offenses, it should be borne in mind that the term of imprisonment determines the place of confinement. Usually for non-violent offenses wherein a sentence imposed is less than two years, the defendant will serve the term of imprisonment in a county jail. Such jails have a work-release program wherein the prisoner is released every weekday to work on his regular job. At the end of the day, he returns to the jail where he spends the night. On weekends, he works with other prisoners to do maintenance in the jail and on the jail grounds. The court must authorize work-release and usually does so. With good reason, convicts regard a county-jail sentence as “easy time.”

If a prisoner absconds while on work release, he will be apprehended [if possible] and will serve the rest of his sentence in total confinement. He will also be charged with the crime of Prison Escape and, if convicted, will receive additional imprisonment [which he will serve in either the county jail or the state prison, depending on the term of the imprisonment].

State prisons, as opposed to county jails, are populated by violent thugs with long criminal records. A state prison sentence is regarded as “hard time,” principally because the prisoners themselves present a danger of violence to each other. Understandably, the work of guards in state prisons is regarded as hazardous duty.

A state prison is indubitably not a place where young non-violent first offenders are regularly sent. The state prisons house cutthroats of every description, multiple and child murderers, forcible rapists and sodomists, child abusers, crazed sadists, armed robbers and dangerous felons of every description. The courts are well aware of these facts and are therefore loathe to send a young first offender into such an environment--unless, of course, he is himself guilty of a crime of violence similar to those mentioned above. In that case, he will rightly be sent to state prison, for to do otherwise would devalue the gravity of the offense.

It is not difficult to imagine what the result would be if violent felons of the sort described above were placed in a hotel-like setting, as some misguided “reformers” have suggested. These criminals are caged like animals for a very good reason. They behave like animals. The social policy in such cases, more than anything else, is protection of innocent citizens. However, attempts at reforming dangerous prisoners have not been ignored.

Although virtually all studies have shown that the rehabilitation of hardened, violent felons is seldom effective, enormous sums of money have been spent in the attempt to do so. This includes such things as individual and group therapy, vocational training, and educational programs directed at obtaining a high school diploma or even a college degree. Indeed, the so-called rehabilitation of violent felons has become a highly profitable business receiving millions of dollars of public funds with very little to show in the way of concrete results.


On what planet do you practice law?


Paul, what is Aleppo?(I'm sorry Paul...I just couldn't help myself!) :)
ronjanec
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4301
Joined: 21 Dec 2008
Location: Chicago suburbs


PreviousNext

Return to Ethics

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests