Does Society Need Prisons?

Have philosophical discussions about politics, law, and government.
Featured Article: Definition of Freedom - What Freedom Means to Me

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post Number:#241  Postby -1- » March 11th, 2017, 7:58 am

My stance may be a bit off-the-wall, but it makes sense. Immediate sense.

Society does not need prisons. Or not the entire society as such. It is prisoners who need prisons.

The reasonis simple. A judge orders some people to spend some time in prison. Where do these convicts go? To prison. Should there be no prisons, they would have nowhere to go.

-- Updated 2017 March 11th, 8:07 am to add the following --

REBUTTAL to opening post:

1. There are no crimes that are victimless crimes. Prostitution helps spread drug abuse, STD, and inhumane exploitation. Pot smoking and drug abuse help people lose their viability as productive members of society. ETC.

2. Incidental crimes: they must be punished still, to keep their deterrent element. If incidental crimes were not punished, 1. there would be no end to a string of incidental crimes and 2. every criminal could claim that their crime was incidental.

3. Putting imbeciles and mentally ill into prisons is morally horrible. But they must be put somewhere, because they can't take care of themselves. Will you take three bullies, a cleptomaniac, several hundred necrophiliacs, and a few arsonists into your house because they have nowhere else to go? No, you wouldn't. So the next cheapest thing to take care of them is in the confines of prisons.
"You can always live without a lover, but you can't love without a liver."
User avatar
-1-
 
Posts: 712 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: December 1st, 2016, 2:23 am

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?



Become a member for less ads

Already a member? Login
 

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post Number:#242  Postby GE Morton » March 11th, 2017, 12:39 pm

-1- wrote:1. There are no crimes that are victimless crimes. Prostitution helps spread drug abuse, STD, and inhumane exploitation. Pot smoking and drug abuse help people lose their viability as productive members of society. ETC.


Any alleged "crime" in which no one's rights are violated is victimless.

All the problems you cite with prostitution are due to the fact that it is illegal. If it were legal prostitutes would make sure the service they offered was safe, in order to avoid civil liability, just like every other merchant.

No one has any duty to be a "productive member of society." As long as he is not preying on others how he lives his life is no one else's business.
GE Morton
 
Posts: 105 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: February 1st, 2017, 1:06 am

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post Number:#243  Postby Ranvier » March 12th, 2017, 3:06 am

-1-
Most of what we do is driven by what we know, which is predominantly determined by family upbringing, genetics, and social reality (laws). If we begin to objectively dissect the logic of what we do, one can notice that most of our actions are directed by what is expected of us in a social context that often has nothing to do with logic. Human laws and crime are very interesting, especially in the claim of justice. For instance, an individual or a group of people can rob others on regular bases (IRS) or exploit people (banks or corporations) and it's perfectly legal, yet in some states it's perfectly legal to shoot someone on site for stealing food. Therefore, the majority of "crimes" are deemed such by some group of people that have the legal authority to enact such laws, regardless of the general population sentiment. For instance: repeated alcohol possession or use is punishable by death in some countries, where here in US alcohol use is legal but for instance one can't drink on the street or sell alcohol without a license. We can often observe such discrepancies in application of the law between countries but also within a country in an uneven law dispensation between individuals (wealthy vs low income individuals). This should give a conclusion that "law" is essentially flawed and anyone should be reluctant in dispensing the punishment in form of an arbitrary time length spent in prison.

Counter thoughts:

1. "There are no victimless crimes", that is a nice cliche. It was dispelled in my mind when my car was vandalized, when the detectives informed me that "this is a vivtomless crime" after they found out that my car had a full insurance coverage. Of course my insurance went up so the joke on me.
Human sexuality is another very interesting topic in itself but to stay on your point about the prostitution, such claims are unsubstantiated by objective data. If you look up the STD prevalence world wide, it turns out that Amsterdam with legalized prostitution has a relatively low incidence of STD.
"Pot smoking and drug abuse help people lose their viability as productive members of society". There are several problems with that statement:
- there are number of well functioning people that use drugs that will make more in one year than I will make in my entire life time (actors or musicians)
- It's not in the scope of my rights to tell someone else what to do or not to do. If someone wants to use drugs it's their individual choice, I could prevent them from such activity as much as I can prevent someone from committing a suicide. It's their choice.
- "... productive members of society", if we go that route then perhaps we should place elderly or invalids in prison as well?
2. "Punish still..." Punishment is an instinctive impulse found only in humans, interesting given the human ability for logic. Especially if I try to punish someone for starving.
3. All the psychiatric conditions you have described can be successfully treated by a Psychiatrist, none of such people belong in prison unless they killed someone.

Another problem with the legal system is that it doesn't do what it's set out to accomplish, namely prevent the crime from taking place. The law enforcement shows up after the crime was already committed and at best it can only offer a limited recourse of vengeance through legal punishment. Prison sentences haven't proven to be of any significant method as a crime deterrent that would prevent crime but only become a never ending "risk vs benefit" game between the budget spending on law enforcement vs prison criminal education in prison and hub for the professional crime enterprise. The majority of "crimes" are caused by the systemic inadequacy to address the root cause of the crime (often poverty). Here is a novel idea: People that haven't committed a crime should receive a tax break (increased tax return) as an incentive to prevent crime. Those in the lowest financial bracket would receive a "bonus" at the end of the year for refraining from committing a crime. Not only such measure would actively attempt to actually prevent the crime from occurring in the first place but also combat the notorious problem of income inequality. I already suggested the "mandatory relocation" and "banishment" system for the repeated offenders and violent crimes, for those individuals that can't function in a given society.

-- Updated March 12th, 2017, 3:21 am to add the following --

LuckyR
LuckyR wrote: Oh BTW, what happens to the children born in the penal colony? In the colony (with their family) or are they innocent enough to rejoin society?


That is a very good question. Unfortunately children don't have a choice to whom they're born to or what country. Effectively, children conceived and born on the territory of the penal colony are the citizens of that land. Australia used to be a British penal colony, now they are amazing people...I love Aussies.

-- Updated March 12th, 2017, 3:55 am to add the following --

In essence, prisons provide no benefit to the victims of the crime and are virtually a useless method of preventing the crime. As someone had suggested, non violent "criminals" should repay directly through labor or financially to the victim affected by the crime.
User avatar
Ranvier
 
Posts: 538 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: February 12th, 2017, 1:47 pm
Location: USA

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post Number:#244  Postby -1- » March 12th, 2017, 2:53 pm

Vanier: prostitution: it does promote STD... please quote some stats and their sources that say they don't. I only ask you this because you have done already this work (quote you: "If you look at STD prevalence worldwide"... so you have, please quote your source.)
Most prostitutes abhor their work... male or female. they do it because it's very profitable. It is inherently anti-human for men and women to indiscriminately have sex. Even with those, and exactly because of those, whom they have sex with but really don't want to. Imagine a really unwanted person for your own tastes, and see if you could have sex with that person. Well, the prostitutes do. It's inhumane.

Robbing by the IRA (Or CRA in Canada): pure libertarian drivel. Sorry, but I won't even touch it. I personally detest the view that rejects the usefulness of redistributing funds in society, and the shortsightedness of its proponent's greed.

Contributing member in society: I mean at best people who contribute (by paying taxes, by working, by building the society) and at least who don't destroy society's achievements. There are not too many people who rob banks to pay their back taxes, opposed to those who rob to support their drug habits. I meant this sort of thing.

I don't buy your argument that "many upright and contriubting members who are supportning pillars of society are drug users." If you refer to artists and musicians and actors, well, their art requires altered states. But those days are over; no mega-mammouth paydays for musicians any more, or for artists. They can go the drug-habit way, and they will end up in skid row. This is of course an opinion argument, not a substantiated one; it will be substantiated by evidence, which I don't have.

I quote you: "The majority of "crimes" are caused by the systemic inadequacy to address the root cause of the crime (often poverty)." I have been there, in those ranks, and I tell you: the poverty that compels people to commit crimes in our societies is fuelled by drug abuse. The social safety net (in Canada) is sufficient to support life and even families, for the extremely poor. Your idea of giving poor people "tax breaks" is laughable. They don't pay taxes. They don't have enough positive income for the minimum tax bracket.

I did not describe any psychiatric conditions. You are reading between the lines, or above them, or through them, or something.

-------------------

I am actually angry, and it has no repercussion other than my emotions, and it presents no danger implied, and it is not going to make me harm anyone, in any way, at armchair philosophers who decry the damaging effect of prostitution, of drug abuse, and I am especially angry at those who subscribe to libertarian ideals, while they drive on public roads, use the Internet and telephone service, eat food bought at supermarkets, use drugs to treat a headache, vote, and pretty well enjoy any and all available and needed benefits of society. They are hypocritical morons, (present company excepted) who can't see beyond their noses when it comes to the benefit to them and to others in trade and exchange within society when trade and exchange is necessarily enforced upon them by external forces.
"You can always live without a lover, but you can't love without a liver."
User avatar
-1-
 
Posts: 712 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: December 1st, 2016, 2:23 am

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post Number:#245  Postby Ranvier » March 12th, 2017, 5:57 pm

Here is the STD link
http://www.medicaldaily.com/pulse/std-p ... ace-325574

Prostitution..."it's inhumane". Perhaps illegal prostitution is inhumane, where an organized group forces women for that end. However, legalized prostitution is an individual choice and as such it's not under my purview to judge. I'm not a liberal or any type of classifiable political "type". I'm a free thinker that chooses to look at the data objectively without emotion, in subjective belief that others have no right to tell me how to think or what to do in their own ideology. Therefore, neither do I have such right to impose my will onto others. That includes the use of drugs, it's not my place to tell people they can't do use drugs (outlaw drug use) unless it directly affects me (driving under influence)

As for the IRS, I have so much debt in school loans that I don't think I will ever be able to repay them. Yet I still pay a third in taxes for someone else kids to go to school and I get audited by the IRS to repay double the amount in interest for the tax returns they think I received in error. So please don't tell me what you think is your justification for taxes because as far as I'm concerned I was "rapped" twice.

-- Updated March 12th, 2017, 6:17 pm to add the following --

As for the "tax break" and "bonus" to the poorest in the population, think about it a little more... If anything you can laugh some more.

Pyromania or necrophilia are psychiatric problems that can be treated...
User avatar
Ranvier
 
Posts: 538 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: February 12th, 2017, 1:47 pm
Location: USA

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post Number:#246  Postby Dissimulation » March 24th, 2017, 6:32 pm

GE Morton wrote:
-1- wrote:1. There are no crimes that are victimless crimes. Prostitution helps spread drug abuse, STD, and inhumane exploitation. Pot smoking and drug abuse help people lose their viability as productive members of society. ETC.


Any alleged "crime" in which no one's rights are violated is victimless.

All the problems you cite with prostitution are due to the fact that it is illegal. If it were legal prostitutes would make sure the service they offered was safe, in order to avoid civil liability, just like every other merchant.

No one has any duty to be a "productive member of society." As long as he is not preying on others how he lives his life is no one else's business.


You are making an assumption suggesting that if legalized prostitution will exist in an ideal form. All industries in actuality are fallible and have the potential to cause harm. A crime may have no immediate victims but to suggest that the effects rendered will not result in harm to society or to another individual is objectively wrong. The crime itself may not be the immediate cause of harm but the behavior, culture and implications stemming from the initial crime possibly (statistically) will cause harm. Prostitution is legal in many nations, of course some may or may not be successful, however the psychological effect, murder,pedophilia, assault, rape, drug abuse and suicide are common in the industry. I contend some crimes such as drug abuse, assuming the addict somehow is able to finance and function without violating other laws to feed the habit (Ideal, not in actuality) may not directly harm an individual. However the cost of rehabilitation, the immense resources required to treat the individual, the spread of disease, the unreliability of the product and the potential for drugs to be used to control an individual (i.e shoot a young women up, turn her out on the streets) causes profound harm to the welfare of the nation/society. society is the summation of its individuals, therefore victems.

No one has any duty to be a "productive member of society." As long as he is not preying on others how he lives his life is no one else's business.


Everyone in a society has a duty to be a productive member of society. Its a passive contract, as a recognized member of society you are obligated to adhere to its mandates. Those who feel they dont are harming the society and living off the work of its productive members. Social programs are so often abused its developed a deplorable sense of entitlement. In more developed societies you may be able to take advantage but in many others you would likely perish, limited resources and instability demands obligation.
Dissimulation
 
Posts: 29 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: March 23rd, 2017, 12:38 pm

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post Number:#247  Postby GE Morton » March 26th, 2017, 9:59 pm

Dissimulation wrote:
You are making an assumption suggesting that if legalized prostitution will exist in an ideal form. All industries in actuality are fallible and have the potential to cause harm.


Of course. Hence we should ban all industries. Correct?

Of course there will be less than scrupulous prostitutes and prostitution businesses. You deal with them as they appear, just as with all other industries, via regulation or civil process.

A crime may have no immediate victims but to suggest that the effects rendered will not result in harm to society or to another individual is objectively wrong.


Can you cite some hypothetical examples? I must advise, however, that I have no idea what would count as a "harm to society." Societies are not moral agents and cannot per se suffer harms. Only the individuals who constitute them can suffer harms. So unless you can identify some actual, individual victims, the claim that harms will result to "society" is meaningless.

The crime itself may not be the immediate cause of harm but the behavior, culture and implications stemming from the initial crime possibly (statistically) will cause harm.


What harms? You're not counting as "harms" merely departures from someone's concept of Utopia, are you?

Prostitution is legal in many nations, of course some may or may not be successful, however the psychological effect, murder,pedophilia, assault, rape, drug abuse and suicide are common in the industry.


The psychological effect upon whom? The prostitute? Her customers? The "public" (i.e., third-party observers)? To what extent are you prepared to grant the State the power to restrict human liberties in order to spare someone the psychological effects of various choices someone might make? Abortion has a psychological effect upon ardent pro-lifers. Others eating meat has a psychological effect upon ardent animal-rights advocates.

As for murder, assault, rape, etc., those are, again, associated with illegal prostitution.

I contend some crimes such as drug abuse, assuming the addict somehow is able to finance and function without violating other laws to feed the habit (Ideal, not in actuality) may not directly harm an individual. However the cost of rehabilitation, the immense resources required to treat the individual, the spread of disease, the unreliability of the product and the potential for drugs to be used to control an individual (i.e shoot a young women up, turn her out on the streets) causes profound harm to the welfare of the nation/society. society is the summation of its individuals, therefore victim.


No one has any duty to "rehabilitate" or "treat" drug abusers (or criminals). That is a fools' errand (one among many) that many contemporary governments have taken on, in response to political pressures from "progressive" dogmatists. Drug users and criminals, like everyone else, are responsible for their own choices and the consequences thereof. No one else is.

Everyone in a society has a duty to be a productive member of society.


Everyone has a duty not to violate others' rights. That means you may not steal from them, enslave them, assault them, kill them. If you can provide for yourself without indulging in those predations it doesn't matter (morally speaking) how productive you are. No one has any a priori duty to produce goods and services for others.

Its a passive contract, as a recognized member of society you are obligated to adhere to its mandates.


May I see a copy of this contract? I certainly don't recall ever signing such a thing. The "social contract" is a fiction, an artifact of contemporary political mythology.

Those who feel they dont are harming the society and living off the work of its productive members. Social programs are so often abused its developed a deplorable sense of entitlement. In more developed societies you may be able to take advantage but in many others you would likely perish, limited resources and instability demands obligation.


Someone who is living off the work of others, and violating their rights to do so, are harming those individuals upon whom they prey, not "society." Of course, when governments become the thieves, and force productive citizens to support the parasites, the number of victims becomes very large.
GE Morton
 
Posts: 105 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: February 1st, 2017, 1:06 am

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post Number:#248  Postby Dissimulation » March 31st, 2017, 5:53 pm

Its quite amusing that you took to the time to pick particular statements made and apply condition and interpretations that have no relevance to the argument as a whole. To take it one step further you dismiss any claims on the basis that you disagree or do not 'believe' in them. All of your arguments
fail to address The arguments I stated and instead fallaciously avert them. If you have any meaningful criticisms I would be happy to discuss them.
Dissimulation
 
Posts: 29 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: March 23rd, 2017, 12:38 pm

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post Number:#249  Postby Dissimulation » March 31st, 2017, 6:54 pm

GE Morton wrote:
Dissimulation wrote:
You are making an assumption suggesting that if legalized prostitution will exist in an ideal form. All industries in actuality are fallible and have the potential to cause harm.


Of course. Hence we should ban all industries. Correct?

Of course there will be less than scrupulous prostitutes and prostitution businesses. You deal with them as they appear, just as with all other industries, via regulation or civil process.

I stated nothing regarding banning all industry. Laws are preventative as well as reactionary, dealing with them as they appear is ethically irresponsible and fails a vital function of the law.

A crime may have no immediate victims but to suggest that the effects rendered will not result in harm to society or to another individual is objectively wrong.


Can you cite some hypothetical examples? I must advise, however, that I have no idea what would count as a "harm to society." Societies are not moral agents and cannot per se suffer harms. Only the individuals who constitute them can suffer harms. So unless you can identify some actual, individual victims, the claim that harms will result to "society" is meaningless.

Perhaps you missed the line of reasoning that addresses your critique. Law is a social construct that enforces a mandate of behavior for its members to function in a society. The implications of your statement limit what harm is or ignore 'harm' that is relevant to society. Prisons are a social institution used as a punishment for individuals who compromise the functioning of a society.

The crime itself may not be the immediate cause of harm but the behavior, culture and implications stemming from the initial crime possibly (statistically) will cause harm.


What harms? You're not counting as "harms" merely departures from someone's concept of Utopia, are you?

If I were I would have stated that. however your question is non-nonsensical. From someones 'Utopia' is a meaningless question given that 'someones utopia' is undefined and comprised of unknown variables. Its quite clear given the context of the argument asked that I was referencing a common understanding of 'harm', however you can refer to Freud ' civilization and its discontents', the pleasure principle and harm as he defines it (to both the individual and society). Ironically through your assumption your guilty of the irrationality your accusing me of.

Prostitution is legal in many nations, of course some may or may not be successful, however the psychological effect, murder,pedophilia, assault, rape, drug abuse and suicide are common in the industry.


The psychological effect upon whom? The prostitute? Her customers? The "public" (i.e., third-party observers)? To what extent are you prepared to grant the State the power to restrict human liberties in order to spare someone the psychological effects of various choices someone might make? Abortion has a psychological effect upon ardent pro-lifers. Others eating meat has a psychological effect upon ardent animal-rights advocates.

Its clear that I am referencing illegal acts. My argument says nothing about liberty, referring to Mills has no relevance to anything stated. Again your falsely presenting my statement. Last I checked eating habits are not restricted by the law or mentioned in my statement.

As for murder, assault, rape, etc., those are, again, associated with illegal prostitution.

Yes they are. Your point ?

I contend some crimes such as drug abuse, assuming the addict somehow is able to finance and function without violating other laws to feed the habit (Ideal, not in actuality) may not directly harm an individual. However the cost of rehabilitation, the immense resources required to treat the individual, the spread of disease, the unreliability of the product and the potential for drugs to be used to control an individual (i.e shoot a young women up, turn her out on the streets) causes profound harm to the welfare of the nation/society. society is the summation of its individuals, therefore victim.


No one has any duty to "rehabilitate" or "treat" drug abusers (or criminals). That is a fools' errand (one among many) that many contemporary governments have taken on, in response to political pressures from "progressive" dogmatists. Drug users and criminals, like everyone else, are responsible for their own choices and the consequences thereof. No one else is.

I never made reference to duty, however drug abuse ( refer to any statistical study) causes undeniable harm.

Everyone in a society has a duty to be a productive member of society.


Everyone has a duty not to violate others' rights. That means you may not steal from them, enslave them, assault them, kill them. If you can provide for yourself without indulging in those predations it doesn't matter (morally speaking) how productive you are. No one has any a priori duty to produce goods and services for others.

The initial question is about a social institution not a moral consideration . 'Morally speaking' is not an argument nor does it support or serve to discredit what I stated. You fail to explain why it is morally inapplicable. As a member of a society a priori duty does exist, it is the foundation of civilization

Its a passive contract, as a recognized member of society you are obligated to adhere to its mandates.


May I see a copy of this contract? I certainly don't recall ever signing such a thing. The "social contract" is a fiction, an artifact of contemporary political mythology.

The social contract that you disagree with is the same contract that enables the liberty you espouse. If you dont understand 'passive' social contract a lot of literature is available. contemporary ? if you suppose civilization itself as a modern development

Those who feel they dont are harming the society and living off the work of its productive members. Social programs are so often abused its developed a deplorable sense of entitlement. In more developed societies you may be able to take advantage but in many others you would likely perish, limited resources and instability demands obligation.


Someone who is living off the work of others, and violating their rights to do so, are harming those individuals upon whom they prey, not "society." Of course, when governments become the thieves, and force productive citizens to support the parasites, the number of victims becomes very large.


Why spend the time to pick out particular statements and then fail to address them. All you have accomplished is to state your own opinions (poorly) by intentionally misrepresenting my assertions. If you have any valid concerns regarding my statement in context to the argument being addressed by all means present them, however I will not respond to arbitrary opinions and incorrect assumptions.
Dissimulation
 
Posts: 29 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: March 23rd, 2017, 12:38 pm

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post Number:#250  Postby GE Morton » April 5th, 2017, 9:15 pm

Dissimulation wrote:
GE Morton wrote:(Nested quote removed.)


Of course. Hence we should ban all industries. Correct?

Of course there will be less than scrupulous prostitutes and prostitution businesses. You deal with them as they appear, just as with all other industries, via regulation or civil process.


I stated nothing regarding banning all industry. Laws are preventative as well as reactionary, dealing with them as they appear is ethically irresponsible and fails a vital function of the law.


No, you didn't. But but it's implied by the reasoning you're offering. You're arguing that if an industry has a potential to cause harm, it should be banned. You also state that "all industries . . . have the potential to cause harm." Hence if, an industry has the potential to cause harm --- and you say all do --- then it follows that all of them should be banned.

We could go further --- every person has the potential to commit a crime. Hence everyone should be locked up. It would "irresponsible" to permit all those potential criminals to run loose.

I'm sure you'll agree there is something wrong with that reasoning. I'll give you a hint: We don't punish "potential" criminals, only actual ones, and we don't try to prevent crime by denying everyone any opportunity to commit it.

Can you cite some hypothetical examples? I must advise, however, that I have no idea what would count as a "harm to society." Societies are not moral agents and cannot per se suffer harms. Only the individuals who constitute them can suffer harms. So unless you can identify some actual, individual victims, the claim that harms will result to "society" is meaningless.


Perhaps you missed the line of reasoning that addresses your critique. Law is a social construct that enforces a mandate of behavior for its members to function in a society. The implications of your statement limit what harm is or ignore 'harm' that is relevant to society. Prisons are a social institution used as a punishment for individuals who compromise the functioning of a society.


Well, you either missed or ignored the point. Any proposition which imputes human attributes to society must be reducible to propositions about particular persons within that society or it is meaningless, having no cognitive content. Consider the society consisting of Tom, Dick, and Harry. If you say that "society has an interest in X," or "X is beneficial (or harmful) to society," or "X is a social goal," etc., etc., X must the goal, beneficial, harmful, etc., to at least one of Tom, Dick or Harry. If your statement cannot be transformed into statements about Tom, Dick,or Harry, it is meaningless. If it can be transformed, but X is not a goal or interest of either Tom, Dick, or Harry, it is false. If X is a goal or interest of at least one of them then it is true, but it is only true of those particular persons, not of "society as a whole."

There is a ubiquitous but badly misguided tendency to personify societies (or other human groups) as sentient creatures and moral agents in their own right, ontologically distinct from their members, which have goals and interests distinct from those of any of their members and which can suffer benefits and harms distinct from those accruing to any member. That is an ontological mistake. Societies and other groups have no properties, except statistical ones, other than those attaching to their members.

What harms? You're not counting as "harms" merely departures from someone's concept of Utopia, are you?


If I were I would have stated that. however your question is non-nonsensical. From someones 'Utopia' is a meaningless question given that 'someones utopia' is undefined and comprised of unknown variables. Its quite clear given the context of the argument asked that I was referencing a common understanding of 'harm', however you can refer to Freud ' civilization and its discontents', the pleasure principle and harm as he defines it (to both the individual and society). Ironically through your assumption your guilty of the irrationality your accusing me of.


Well, Dis, I'm afraid there is no "common understanding of harm." What there is, is a common, but false, assumption that the phrase "harm to society" has some concrete meaning. But when pursued, it always turns out that a "harm to society" is anything that offends some particular person's conception of Utopia. The distinction you're trying to draw in the last sentence, "both to the individual and society" is vacuous. There are, and can be, no "harms to society" that are not harms to individuals.

The psychological effect upon whom? The prostitute? Her customers? The "public" (i.e., third-party observers)? To what extent are you prepared to grant the State the power to restrict human liberties in order to spare someone the psychological effects of various choices someone might make? Abortion has a psychological effect upon ardent pro-lifers. Others eating meat has a psychological effect upon ardent animal-rights advocates.


Its clear that I am referencing illegal acts. My argument says nothing about liberty, referring to Mills has no relevance to anything stated. Again your falsely presenting my statement. Last I checked eating habits are not restricted by the law or mentioned in my statement.


Oh, but it does say something about liberty. Any time you propose a restriction on human conduct you're saying something about liberty. Some restrictions on liberty are justifiable, of course --- those which forbid violations of others' rights. But no others that I know of, and certainly none whose aim is furtherance of some nebulous, incoherent "good of society."

Your argument above --- "I am referencing illegal acts" --- is circular, BTW. The question here is, What justifies making some conduct (e.g., prostitution) illegal? You can't cite adverse "psychological effects" as justifying the ban, and then try to restrict the argument only to effects of illegal acts. That is circular.

As for murder, assault, rape, etc., those are, again, associated with illegal prostitution.


Yes they are. Your point ?[


I should think that obvious, especially since it was addressed earlier in the thread. When an activity is forbidden by law there is no legal protection for those engaged in it. Hence the assumption that the undesirable consequences of illegal prostitution would continue if it were legal is unwarranted.

No one has any duty to "rehabilitate" or "treat" drug abusers (or criminals). That is a fools' errand (one among many) that many contemporary governments have taken on, in response to political pressures from "progressive" dogmatists. Drug users and criminals, like everyone else, are responsible for their own choices and the consequences thereof. No one else is.


I never made reference to duty, however drug abuse ( refer to any statistical study) causes undeniable harm.


You've evaded the question. Harm to whom other than the user himself? "Harms to society" is not an answer, for the reasons mentioned. And of course, as with prostitution, one cannot cite harms to others that occur only because the drugs are illegal.

The initial question is about a social institution not a moral consideration . 'Morally speaking' is not an argument nor does it support or serve to discredit what I stated. You fail to explain why it is morally inapplicable.


Hmmm. Are you suggesting that social institutions need not be constrained by moral considerations? I think you'll find that a pretty difficult position to defend. Any institution you erect will be aimed at some goal, and questions immediately arise: Whose goal? What justiifes that goal, and what duty does anyone have to pursue it? Moral questions all. When erecting any institution those questions are always answered, either explicitly and rationally or tacitly and presumptively (and probably speciously).

As a member of a society a priori duty does exist, it is the foundation of civilization.


Duties are moral obligations. Hence if you allege that someone has a duty you are obliged to present a moral theory from which this duty can be derived. The duty in question here is the alleged duty to provide goods and services for others. I'd love to see the theory from which this duty is derived. I'd also love to see arguments and evidence that this duty is the "foundation of civilization." That would be quite interesting, given that few people in any civilized society recognize or honor such a duty.

Its a passive contract, as a recognized member of society you are obligated to adhere to its mandates . . . The social contract that you disagree with is the same contract that enables the liberty you espouse. If you dont understand 'passive' social contract a lot of literature is available.


Sorry, but no liberty I've experienced derives from any contract, particularly not a hypothetical, imaginary one. A contract is a concrete, explicit agreement between two or more agents, whose terms are objectively ascertainable. A "contract" the parties to which and the terms of which are unspecified is not a contract at all, of any kind. There is no such thing as a "passive contract," i.e., one to which one becomes a party by edict or accident.

The "social contract" in political philosophy is an explanatory construct, useful for presenting a political thesis. No philosopher who used that device imagined that such a "contract" actually exists, or binds anyone.
GE Morton
 
Posts: 105 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: February 1st, 2017, 1:06 am

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post Number:#251  Postby Wooltree » April 7th, 2017, 5:17 am

This is the first time posting, so please excuse me if I make mistakes.

I think this discussion is not necessarily about the legitimacy of law and law-abiding, but about the necessity of specifically prisons.

Among the five pillars of the justice system, that is deterrence, retribution, reparation, reformation, and incapacitation, 4 are not exclusively achieved by prisons, and arguably, are better achieved through other means, namely fines.

Firstly, incapacitation is the only one achieved solely by prisons, but it does not have any purpose or fulfillment on its own, considering incapacitating a human being does not bring any intrinsic good.

Deterrence and retribution are achieved through all other punishments; a realistic one would be higher fines, especially by making fines a percentage to make it more punishing for the wealthy as well.

Lastly, reparation and reformation are probably better achieved without prisons. Reformation, that is the rehabilitation of the convicts, is clearly not being achieved sufficiently in the judicial systems of most countries considering re-committing rates. An extreme case would be Zimbabwe's (I think), where prisoners are likely to be infected with HIV in prisons. Furthermore, society does not gain in any way from prisons but lose money. Sure, prisoners do physical labour in prison, but it is a huge waste for people with high education standards to work in factories. Instead, fines would actually benefit society, aid in reparation, and help fund rehabilitation projects for prisoners.

Furthermore, prison is hugely punishing for the poor. Taking a collectivist standpoint, the poor are statistically much more likely to commit crime, and prison makes it even harder to escape poverty; they are literally spending years of their lives not being able to better themselves for better qualifications for better jobs. This just encourages poverty and recommitting. And although fines also may have this side effect, it is much easier to solve, one that comes into my mind now is letting people pay over a long time.
User avatar
Wooltree
New Trial Member
 
Posts: 2 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: April 7th, 2017, 4:56 am

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post Number:#252  Postby GE Morton » April 7th, 2017, 11:16 pm

Wooltree wrote:This is the first time posting, so please excuse me if I make mistakes.


Welcome to the fray, Wool.

Among the five pillars of the justice system, that is deterrence, retribution, reparation, reformation, and incapacitation, 4 are not exclusively achieved by prisons, and arguably, are better achieved through other means, namely fines.


The first questions to ask are, Which of those goals are realistically attainable, and which of them may citizens be compelled to support financially?

Any unpleasant consequence attached to an act will have some deterrent effect. The magnitude of the effect will vary with the degree of unpleasantness and the probability that the consequence will follow. But the effect differs from person to person. Not even the death penalty will deter everyone, even when it is highly likely to be applied. At best, deterrence is an incidental benefit of an effective criminal justice system.

Retribution is an emotionally satisfying, but non-rational and unproductive goal. It serves no useful purpose.

Decades of experience have amply demonstrated that reformation, or "rehabilitation," of any but a small minority of offenders, is an unattainable goal. Overall, the five-year recidivism rate for felony inmates (in the US) is about 75%. That rate is reduced about 25% for the best "rehabilitation" programs tried. But that means the recidivism rate for those felons is still about 55%. And of course, the success rate for most programs is much lower.

The reformation goal must answer the second question posed above --- What duty do citizens have to "rehabilitate" criminals? How does Alfie become responsible for "rehabilitating" armed robber Bruno?

The only rational answer I know of is that a reformed criminal will commit no further crimes. But neither will an incarcerated criminal.

Firstly, incapacitation is the only one achieved solely by prisons, but it does not have any purpose or fulfillment on its own, considering incapacitating a human being does not bring any intrinsic good.


That is an surprising statement. I should think that preventing someone from murdering, assaulting, raping, robbing, burglarizing, and swindling more citizens would surely count as a good, in the estimation of most people. Keep in mind the 75% recidivism rate I mentioned above. 75% of the crimes reported every day in your local newspaper are committted by person with prior felony convictions. If those thugs had remained in prison those crimes would not have been committed.

If that is not a good, what is?

When considering the goals of a criminal justice system it is helpful to reflect on the meaning of "justice." Justice consists in securing to each person what he or she is due, or deserves, or merits. What one is due is determined by one's actions --- an athlete is due the gold medal if he wins his race; a third-grader is due a gold star if she aces her spelling test; someone injured by a drunk driver is due damages from the drunk

A criminal justice system that takes "justice" seriously is one which forces criminals to make good the damages they have inflicted on their victims. Since most criminals lack the resources to pay those damages out of their pockets, the system would confine them to a work center, where they would be forced to work, at whatever tasks they are best qualified to perform, until that debt, along with the costs to the State to arrest, try, and confine them, is paid in full. Such a system would also solve, for the most part, the recidivism problem, since most convicts would be confined for a very long time.

Deterrence and retribution are achieved through all other punishments; a realistic one would be higher fines, especially by making fines a percentage to make it more punishing for the wealthy as well.


Methinks your concern for "punishing the wealthy" is leading you to overlook the fact that 99% of crimes --- crimes with actual victims, such as murder, assault, rape, robbery, burglary, auto theft, etc. --- are commited by the non-wealthy, by persons who have no means of paying any fines. The more felons you leave loose on the streets, the more crime you will have.

Furthermore, prison is hugely punishing for the poor. Taking a collectivist standpoint, the poor are statistically much more likely to commit crime, and prison makes it even harder to escape poverty . . .


That returns us to the second question again: How does Alfie acquire a duty to help felon Bruno escape poverty? Bruno's poverty is his problem to solve, and he must solve it without victimizing others.
GE Morton
 
Posts: 105 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: February 1st, 2017, 1:06 am

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post Number:#253  Postby Wooltree » April 8th, 2017, 5:20 am

Welcome to the fray, Wool.


Thank you very much.

I should think that preventing someone from murdering, assaulting, raping, robbing, burglarizing, and swindling more citizens would surely count as a good, in the estimation of most people.


So, presumably, the answer to preventing recommitting would be life sentences for all criminals.

When considering the goals of a criminal justice system it is helpful to reflect on the meaning of "justice." Justice consists in securing to each person what he or she is due, or deserves, or merits. What one is due is determined by one's actions --- an athlete is due the gold medal if he wins his race; a third-grader is due a gold star if she aces her spelling test; someone injured by a drunk driver is due damages from the drunk


However, not only is this realistically unattainable, considering there is some sort of intrinsic punishment and severity of punishment depending on the crime, and it is possible to meet this ideal severity, is it not therefore also principally just to punish criminals proportionately to their crime?

Furthermore, I think we know face a comparison on which to prioritise, the principle of proportionality or prevention of crime.

I believe it is possible to make the rehabilitation process better. An example would be Norway with 20% recidivism rate, with a much more leniant justice system than the US (which has one of the highest recidivism rate). If we categorise the motives for crime into two large categories, that is, financial problem (such as robbery) or lack of remorse (white-collar crime), as I explained before, the problem of economically motivated crime is solved by making the justice system more equal, in that the prison system disproportionately affects the poor. Therefore, instead of prison, we should treat poor ex-convicts better, and help them get a job (such as education).

Now the second, lack of remorse. The problem of remorse, I believe, is a balance. It is a balance in risk and return, and it seems to me that this balance can be tipped in favour of non-committing by increasing deterrence. However, I don't think prisons are the only way to increase deterrence, and considering how damaging the prison system is for minorities and society's most vulnerable, it is probably the worse choice.

A criminal justice system that takes "justice" seriously is one which forces criminals to make good the damages they have inflicted on their victims. Since most criminals lack the resources to pay those damages out of their pockets, the system would confine them to a work center


Furthermore, I don't think work centres are the best way to compensate for a crime. It becomes especially problematic with the most damaging crimes, the ones we should really care about, such as financial fraud, which would take centuries of menial labour to compensate for.

To conclude, it certainly is too radical to suddenly get rid of prisons, but it would certainly be possible and beneficial to make them better and more leniant.
User avatar
Wooltree
New Trial Member
 
Posts: 2 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: April 7th, 2017, 4:56 am

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post Number:#254  Postby GE Morton » April 9th, 2017, 1:05 am

Wooltree wrote:
I should think that preventing someone from murdering, assaulting, raping, robbing, burglarizing, and swindling more citizens would surely count as a good, in the estimation of most people.


So, presumably, the answer to preventing recommitting would be life sentences for all criminals.


At some point, yes. My state (WA) at one time had a habitual criminal law, which provided that anyone convicted of a felony who had a prior conviction for a felony "shall be adjudged to be an habitual criminal and shall be punished by imprisonment in a state correctional facility for not less than ten years." If the defendant had two or more prior convictions he "shall be punished by imprisonment in a state correctional facility for life."

https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9.92.090

That law was repealed in 1984, partly in response to political pressure from "progressives," but mainly in order to save money. Per the restitution model I described the costs would be at least partly recovered by the inmate work requirement.

The notion that most felony inmates can be "rehabilitated" is a Pollyanna fantasy. History has amply demonstrated otherwise. So we have a choice: continue to nurture that fantasy, and thereby sentence thousands more innocent citizens to murder, assaults, muggings, burglaries, rapes, robberies, thefts, etc., or remove the habitual offenders from the community. Whether or not the latter is deemed the most humane response depends upon whether one focuses on the plight of the offender or the suffering he inflicts on his victims.

Per the restitution model there is no fixed prison term. The inmate remains confined until his restitution obligation has been satisfied. He can be released earlier only if his victim(s) forgive their portion(s) of that debt.

However, not only is this realistically unattainable, considering there is some sort of intrinsic punishment and severity of punishment depending on the crime, and it is possible to meet this ideal severity, is it not therefore also principally just to punish criminals proportionately to their crime?


That is precisely what the restitution model requires. Any punishment that does not fully compensate the victim's losses is not proportionate to the crime. Laws stipulating that a convict be confined for specific numbers of months for specific types of crimes are completely arbitrary. In what sense is, say, 3 months in jail "proportionate" to theft of someone's car? In what sense is 6 months in jail "proportionate" to the trauma of a domestic violence victim's two broken ribs and four missing teeth? How is this "proportionality" computed? Not only are fixed prison terms not proportionate to the costs and suffering inflicted by criminals, they bear no relation to them whatsoever.

Unless an offender makes good on the damages he has caused justice is not done.

Furthermore, I think we [k?]now face a comparison on which to prioritise, the principle of proportionality or prevention of crime.


Except that the "proportionality" presumed is arbitrary. The sentences prescribed have no rational basis; they're plucked from thin air. The relevant comparison, as I mentioned, is that between the harships imposed on the criminal vs. those he would impose on his future victims.

I believe it is possible to make the rehabilitation process better. An example would be Norway with 20% recidivism rate, with a much more leniant justice system than the US (which has one of the highest recidivism rate). If we categorise the motives for crime into two large categories, that is, financial problem (such as robbery) or lack of remorse (white-collar crime), as I explained before, the problem of economically motivated crime is solved by making the justice system more equal, in that the prison system disproportionately affects the poor. Therefore, instead of prison, we should treat poor ex-convicts better, and help them get a job (such as education).


It is difficult to compare recidivism rates between countries, mainly because there are no standard criteria or a standard reporting format. Norway's 20% rate, for example, is the 2-year rate; the US 75% is the five year rate. There are also significant cultural and ethnic differences from country to country. See:

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/articl ... ne.0130390

The prison system does not disproportionately affect the poor. It affects them in proportion to the number of crimes they commit, as it should. That is the relevant ratio, not their imprisonment rates vs. their fraction of the population. And of course, the jobs, education, counseling approaches have all been tried. They don't work for most convicts.

Furthermore, I don't think work centres are the best way to compensate for a crime. It becomes especially problematic with the most damaging crimes, the ones we should really care about, such as financial fraud, which would take centuries of menial labour to compensate for.


Well, I think the crimes most people really care about, because they affect them personally and intimately, are murder, assault, robbery, burglary, rape, and theft (and a few others). Financial fraud, I suspect, ranks near the bottom of of most people's litany of worries.
GE Morton
 
Posts: 105 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: February 1st, 2017, 1:06 am

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post Number:#255  Postby Tibbir » June 15th, 2017, 3:32 am

A lot of prisoners are in gaol not because they are mad or because of their imediate needs but through poor education in empathy. A lot of criminals for example steal drinks in bars or shop lift not because they are poor but because it is fun a bit risqué, it is simply because they have never thought of the effect their actions have on their victims.

Unfortunately this lack of education in one of the basic needs to make a group of people a community is left to schools to educate because in too many cases the parents never had it and never understood that there was something totally missing in their lives.

I would advocate empathy lessons in school.

One of things we do as Christian prison visitors is to discuss, with inmates who want to see us, is how their criminal actions have affected their victims. In some cases this increases the inmates empathy and decreases their chance re-offending. Occasonally when both victim and inmate are willing, we introduce both of them and the criminals get a much better idea of what their actioins have had on their victims. Even more rarely we get the victims foregiving the criminal and that grace of foregiveness almost always has a very profound effect on the criminal.

As I understand it the Muslims have similar visits to prisons to deal with Muslim Prisoners. Although I have no idea what is discussed in those meetings because I am not a Muslim. Although I do know that in Muslim countries there so I suyspect there are probably fewer criminals in gaol because a lot more crimes are capital offences aand theft leaves you a one handed beggar. This reduces the presure on the prison system.
User avatar
Tibbir
 
Posts: 33 (View: All / In topic)

Joined: April 25th, 2012, 5:51 pm
Location: Aylesbury, UK
Favorite Philosopher: Jesus

Previous

Return to Philosophy of Politics

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

Philosophy Trophies

Most Active Members
by posts made in lasts 30 days

Avatar Member Name Recent Posts
Greta 162
Fooloso4 116
Renee 107
Ormond 97
Felix 90

Last updated January 6, 2017, 6:28 pm EST

Most Active Book of the Month Participants
by book of the month posts

Avatar Member Name BOTM Posts
Scott 147
Spectrum 23
Belinda 23
whitetrshsoldier 20
Josefina1110 19
Last updated January 6, 2017, 6:28 pm EST