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Join the conversation! There are now 11 comments on this chapter's page 24. Removal: Civilized?. What are your thoughts?
  1. sighthndman says

    That’s why you don’t want to be not guilty by reason of insanity — because then you can’t be released until you’re sane enough to be safe to yourself and others. That’s usually forever.

  2. LordGrey says

    Well, medieval dungeons only served to Keep the individual (Criminal) at Hand for Trial or the execution of the punishment, not as punishment by itself. The punishment usually was a corporal one, beatings, floggings or some time in torturous restrains, most often on display for the common people.

  3. Prisoner's Dillema says

    The removal and rehabilitation issue is of course why we have the concept of parole. The idea is of course that if one is no longer a danger and/or likely to commit further crimes, then we can save taxpayer dollars while encouraging rehabilitation by allowing certain people to serve the remainder of their sentence outside of prison (which is what parole is, not the early termination of one’s sentence. That’s how parole boards and parole officers can set up pretty much any conditions they want without much due process: parole is a privilege and the Department of Corrections can revoke it for any reason (or lack thereof) they deem appropriate. With regard to those we’ve deemed sex offenders, we have indeed set up a system of reputation and restriction based indefinite punishment contingent on certain delisting requirements. In such cases where none are applicable, it is tantamount to a non-incarceration life sentence.

    • There are a couple different principles at play here. With respect to parole, the default punishment is prison, but you are giving your word that you’ll be a good boy if we let you out early to serve the remainder of your sentence back in the world. We’re allowed to impose conditions on your release, check up on you, and restrict your behavior, because you’re still serving your sentence. Then, when the term of your punishment is over, you’re off parole. You’ve paid your debt to society and it’s over.

      With respect to sex offenders, however, there’s something else going on. It’s that we believe they cannot be rehabilitated — they’re hard-wired to have the proclivities that got them in trouble. As soon as they get out, they’ll just want to do it again. And so no prison sentence can be long enough to ensure our safety. Think of the children!

      Because ordinary prison/parole doesn’t give us the protection we need from such awful, awful people, we have a system that is NOT punishment. It’s categorically NOT punishment, because we SAID so. It’s merely a civil, administrative regulation entirely outside the criminal law. And what it does is impose conditions on your freedom, lifetime monitoring, restrictions on your behavior, plus compelled publicity of your status as a sex offender so everyone knows to stay away from you.

      When you consider the kinds of crimes that put you on the sex-offender registry — such as peeing outside, visiting a prostitute, mugging someone (unlawful imprisonment), etc., it’s easy to see why we need to impose such restrictions far beyond any period of punishment the criminal law would have imposed.

      • I honestly struggle to deduct if this is sarcasm or not. The third paragraph’s over the top emphasis makes me think it is but the last paragraph seems so straightly written.

  4. If crime were defined in terms of what right of an individual it violated, there would be much less dishonest paltering as to how to justify the added coercion. Real crimes, the ones with victims, have no problem enlisting the support of conscientious citizens in support of laws against them.
    This brings us back to the evasion of a cogent definition of rights based on an objective standard of right and wrong. The very thing that would free honest folks from fines and imprisonment is anathema to the mystical conviction that hidden revelations distinguish right from wrong.

    • You are correct that criminal law is only for punishing things that everyone already agrees are bad. However, the reason that everyone already agrees that those things are bad is irrelevant. So it doesn’t matter whether the acts that criminal law punishes have victims or infringe anyone’s rights or not. All that matters is that everyone agrees that those things that criminal law punishes are bad, however manifestly fallacious and stupid their reasons for thinking that are.

      • Wrong. Criminal law does not punish things “everyone agrees are wrong”. Criminal law punishes things the state says are wrong. the state ≠ everyone.

        • I wasn’t saying that criminal law is actually restricted to only punishing things that everyone thinks are bad. I was saying that the criminal law is supposed to be restricted to punishing things that everyone expects to be illegal so that people don’t get imprisoned for violating technical regulations and statutes that only specialists have actually read, which does happen. I was speaking normatively, not descriptively. Our positions are non-contradictory.

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