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.
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 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.