Friday, January 06, 2006

Every mercy for the criminal, but none for the victim II

Previous: Every mercy for the criminal, but none for the victim

Via Michelle Malkin comes this story of a Vermont rapist sentenced to only 60 days, though he repeatedly raped this little girl.

We imprison people not only for punishment, but for deterrence. The deterrence is not really to dissuade other criminals, but for the certainty that while the criminal is behind bars, he cannot prey on society. (Unless you're talking about Mike Dukakis' Massachusetts, in which criminals get unsupervised weekend furloughs, but that's another topic.) Jessica Lunsford would be alive today if we had simply made her murderer, a career criminal with a history of assaulting children, serve his full sentences.

Come to think of it, bringing up Dukakis is appropriate. Who else remembers in the 1988 debates when Dukakis was questioned about his opposition to the death penalty? He was asked if he'd oppose it for someone who raped and murdered his wife, and he said yes. I wonder how this Vermont judge, were it his own daughter who was raped repeatedly over three years, would have felt about another judge handing down a sentence of only 60 days.

2 Comments:

Blogger Scorpius said...

I heard this and had a thought about the judge's focus on "rehabilitation". One of the reasons for a modern criminal justice system is for rehabilitation, on that he is correct. How he is wrong is that it is society's right to rehabilitate people in a place where they will not be a threat to society and they can prove themselves capable of being rehabilitated.

If the guy walks after two months, there is no way to judge whether he will be rehabilitated; but if he is put in a cell and allow to meditate and come to some regret, and then we combine that with a merit-based evaluation of rehabilitation (i.e. whether he is a model or problem prisoner) over several years, society can have much more confidence in his ability to safely rejoin society.

The judge seems to fall into the 19th-century, mechanistic theory of human behavior trap that Richard Dawkins recently espoused (i.e. that crime is caused by an easily compartmentalized part of the person which can be dealt with with simple surgery or a pill and not by an evil person or a complex psychological problem that takes time and is not fully solvable).

And then there is the whole aspect of larger human nature. Remember, the victim and her family do want some justice, it may seem “barbaric” in the judges eyes but it is a real human need.

Friday, January 06, 2006 2:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Standard Mischief said...

The way they do rehabilitation in Maryland is this, first the judge orders a draconian penalty at the sentencing. This makes him look good in front of the victim's relatives. Then, in a secret second session, unbeknownst to the victim's family, the judge then reduces the sentence down to what he deems appropriate.

Friday, January 06, 2006 9:05:00 AM  

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