A Conversation for The Death Penalty

Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 101

broelan

just zis guy,

the problem with that is that when you cut his 'goolies' off, you enter the realm of "cruel and unusual" punishment. unfortunately, we are no longer able to do this.

fragilis,

i believe that coercion is glamourized by film. i'm sure that it has happened, it may happen in the future, but i believe this would be the rare exception, rather than the rule. but movies wouldn't be very exciting if all the victims knew all the perpetrators, and emotions and actions never came into play.

i'm with you, i don't remember the waiter that served me dinner last night. i don't remember the gas station attendent that rang me up this morning. i went christmas shopping yesterday, and can't remember the face of a single salesperson that assisted me. but i clearly remember the face of the man that held a gun to me and robbed me on sunday, february 13, 1994.

in the case i mentioned in my last post, i believe the witness was corroborated by one other witness that had seen the man in the vicinity of the shop, and other sightings of the car he was driving in the neighborhood. like i said, the case was a few months ago, and i was primarily aghast at the length of time he had already spent on death row.


Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 102

Two Bit Trigger Pumping Moron

I've often thought that it wouldn't be a bad idea to sterilize convicted felons. What kind of children could they possibly have? If we learn how to interact with the world primarily from our parents, do we really want these folks raising kids (that's assuming they'd actually stick around to raise them).

Heck, they might even welcome a free vasectomy or a tubal ligation.


Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 103

Fragilis - h2g2 Cured My Tabular Obsession

If they really want one, they can probably get it. Inmates are typically covered by government health insurance.

But sterilizing people won't necessarily help. There's no guarantee that a felon's child will be problematic, especially in cases where the child has little contact with their criminal parent. There's also no guarantee that a "good citizen" won't have a child that grows up to be a felon. There are other environmental factors to worry about, like poverty, local gang activity, and so on. Simply sterilizing people may sound like a quick solution, but its illusory, IMO.


Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 104

JAR (happy to be back, but where's Ping?)

Sterilizing probably wont be the answer, as all it does is make sure the criminal can't have (any more) children. IT might be called eugenics (if I got that word right..) I'm a little bit more in favour of voulantary castration, as that often removes the castrateds sexual drive, thus taking away the notion to abuse ever again. Still, it's a brutal thing to do, and it's not allways succesfull...


Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 105

wrekage

what happens if we make the punishments so extreme that the criminals decide they have to go a stge further whith every crime if some knows that they are going to be executed if caught they are going to do a lot worse things before they are caught and this could be very dangerous for the police forces and innocent bystanders


Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 106

JAR (happy to be back, but where's Ping?)

Agreed.
(Castration needs to be voulentary.)


Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 107

Neugen Amoeba

Voluntary castration may be a good idea but it may not seem so voluntary to the criminal. They will be faced with a choice; spend 40 years in prison (as the wife of some 300 pound thug) or be "voluntarily" castrated. Also, child molesters are equally disliked inside prisons as outside, making the former option even less appealing.


Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 108

JAR (happy to be back, but where's Ping?)

Well, you're right of course... but let's not forget that they are criminals and should be sentenced to some sort of punishment/rehabilitation. In this scenario, at least they have a theoretical choice beyond suicide... It's not the best solution, but it's better than what we have today, is it not? I'm not thoroughly convinced myself, but I know that todays common methods do not work...

On the other hand, (in Norway at least) the maximum punishment for rape is redicoulusly low. I think 5 to eight years for repeated child molesters... smiley - sadface


Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 109

Hal

Chemical castration is often suggested as a method of dealing with sex-offenders. I have some sympathy with this position- it would be an "unusual" punishment, but for an unusual crime.

For offenders of non-sex related crimes, I would question how "voluntary" castration could ever be a good idea. Their sex drive will have little to do with their criminality. And the eugenic aspect is horrifying.

In most places, ex-convicts are already disenfranchised after release in terms of voting rights, travel or job opportunities. It is difficult to see how further eroding criminal's will help the rehabilitation of prisoners, or encourage them to take an interest in anything (for example, their children) other than short-term and selfish considerations.

Creating an underclass who have no rights, over even their own bodies? It seems to me that it would be kinder to kill.


Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 110

Hal

"...further eroding criminal's"
should read
"further eroding criminals' rights".


Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 111

JAR (happy to be back, but where's Ping?)

Well, I do agree with most of that... I was thinking of repeated sexual offender when daring to mention castration...

The thing about loosing your right to vote.. Is that a common thing, or is it specific to America? We don't practice that here in Norway..


Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 112

Neugen Amoeba

Yes, they are criminals, but they are also the vistims of the chemicals produced by their own body which they cannot control. Weak willed? Yes, but so are the drug addicts and alcoholics. I don't wish to belittle these crimes, which are trully heneous, but I feel thees people need help, rehabilitation and punishment, in that order. If help comes in the from of a pill that will cause chemical castration, then so be it.

Punishment by means of imprisonment is hypocritical. Not only are you subjecting them to crimes that you're punishing them for, but you're not addressing the issue. The issue being that these people are not capable of controlling the drive generated by their bodies chemicals, and more then likely, never will.


Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 113

Horse with no name

I hope you didn't forget to lit a candle, yesterday (10/12/2000)... For the 52nd birthday of the 'Human Rights'


Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 114

Hal

I presume you (Neugen Amoeba, that is) are specifially thinking about sex offenders.

The forced treatment of offenders who are considered to be not responsible for their crimes already happens (for "insanity").

Such an offender must either be guilty of a crime, or is not responsible by way of affliction. In the first case, a punishment (and deterrent) is in order. In the second, treatment, involuntary if necessary, is in order. "Punishment" per se is inappropriate. This is notwithstanding rehabilitation or, for example, incarceration for the protection of the public.

You cannot have it both ways.

However, most sex offenders probably cannot be said to be "insane" in the sense of not knowing right from wrong, or being incapable of understanding the harm they cause, the moral opprobrium of the rest of society or the punishments they face.

Treating such people as effectively "not guilty by way of sexual desire" is a slippery slope. How would you feel about a murderer arguing for clemency on the basis of a genetic predisposition to violence?




Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 115

Neugen Amoeba

A genetic predisposition to violence would definitelly put you in the "insane" category. The trick being to prove that someone has a genetic predisposition to violence. We do not understand how human behaviour is influenced by genetics to make any definite claims. We only observe the extreme cases where the people are clearly "insane". The more subtle cases are dissmissed as simply "crime".

There is another category of the "criminally insane", which are usually intelligent, rational people with a predisposition to crime. I'll leave it to others to disect that definition.

In any case, punishing sex offenders, especially repeat offenders by imprisonment is pointless. I pointend out why before so I'll save you a repeat, but only to say that the same arguement can be made for violent offenders.

As you can tell by my reasoning that I'm opposed to punishment, although I'm not opposed to castration. I see that as help, others may see it as punishment.


Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 116

Hal

I am not arguing with the fact that castration, chemical or otherwise, may be an effective way of dealing with the perpetrators of serious sexual crime. Nor have I said that incarceration is effective for that class of offenders (or any class smiley - smiley )

Castration was, of course, mooted as a "treatment", but even if considered as a punishment is much less "cruel and unusual" than serious crimes against, for example, children. I would support it were it effective; as I imagine would most people.

There may be a basis for allowing mitigation on the basis of a condition [which does not render an offender legally insane] in return for voluntary treatment.

The problem, for me, is where you define the limits of criminality and responsibility.

-Any- crime can be ultimately rationalized as a combination of the environmental and genetic factors of its perpetrator. A sliding scale of legal responsibility can hardly help to foster -personal- responsibility. And that is the foundation of our legal systems.


Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 117

kwagner

Re: castration

My general understanding is that most sexual offenders aren't driven to their crimes by sexual urges, but instead by psychology. For example, rapists don't commit rape for sexual gratification. They do it for power, often due to a lack of power elsewhere in their lives.

Castration of such people might result in the opposite effect.

I'd guess that the urge to castrate sexual offenders is driven more by a desire for vengence than a desire to cure the offender. Not that I don't want the offender punished and cured, but I'm not sure this is the method to bring the effect about.

Just my uneducated .02,


Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 118

Two Bit Trigger Pumping Moron

Even I think castration is extreme. I don't really care about the average criminal's sex drive. I don't see how it matters.

For sex offenders, I'd be surprised if it helped. As I understand it, chemical castration is not effective, nor are any other means of treatment. The problem with repeat sex offenders is that criminal sexuality is their sexual orientation. The only thing you can do with them is warehouse them so that they can't harm others.

I do think that criminals need treatment, as well as punishment. Most felonies are commited while the offender is either drunk or high. Releasing them without treatment doesn't so anything for them. If you treat their addiction, you may actually affect their recidivism.

As for sterilizing criminals, I doubt it will ever happen, but it occurs to me that it could be similair to other civil disabilities that they suffer such as the right to vote or possess firearms. I wouldn't even have a problem with them getting the procedure reveresed, as long as they paid for it, just as the other civil disabilities can be waived after good behavior.

If a felon does have more children, I doubt they will be raised well regardless of whether or not he stays around. I think that it is virtually guarenteed that the child will be raised in the same enviroment that produced the felon in the first place.


Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 119

Neugen Amoeba

To the comment regarding the motivation for rape being power rather then sex drive. That may be so, but I can tell you that it'll be rather difficult to commit rape after being castrated. Not impossible though....


Pragmatic vs. moral arguments

Post 120

Fragilis - h2g2 Cured My Tabular Obsession

You might have a hard time committing "rape." But sexual assault is still perfectly possible. The criminal simply shifts from using one part of their body to another when committing the crime.


Key: Complain about this post