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Does Society Need Prisons?

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Belindi
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by Belindi » November 4th, 2018, 10:40 am

GE Morton wrote:
November 4th, 2018, 10:14 am
Belindi wrote:
November 4th, 2018, 9:17 am
Why not, GEMorton? I expect that you can answer that question if you think about it.

The parasites are always a nuisance. To deduce social parasites we need improved educational opportunities for disadvantaged minorities.The more productive citizens the better. It is universally acknowledged that prevention of crime is less costly than cure for crime.
"Disadvantaged minorities" have the same educational opportunities as everyone else. Public K-12 schools are open to all, and (in the US) so are government-guaranteed student loans for college.

But, as the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

Most criminals have no desire, and no intention, to ever become productive, Belindi.
Educational opportunities for disadvantaged minorities as often as not include improved housing; imagine how a kid can do her homework where there is no quiet space for her. Some disadvantaged children are carers for disabled parents of siblings and these children need extra care from community finances.In the US there remains the racial minority in need of integration into mainstream advantages. I could go on but I hope that you see where my argument is leading.

Student loans should not exist. Instead there needs to be free tertiary education for all.

Human criminals are not horses but are members of a species that might be educated as opposed to trained. Education and rehabilitation of criminals include motivating and re-motivating after traumatic immersion in crimes or drug dependency.

GE Morton
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by GE Morton » November 4th, 2018, 1:34 pm

Belindi wrote:
November 4th, 2018, 10:40 am

Educational opportunities for disadvantaged minorities as often as not include improved housing; imagine how a kid can do her homework where there is no quiet space for her. Some disadvantaged children are carers for disabled parents of siblings and these children need extra care from community finances.In the US there remains the racial minority in need of integration into mainstream advantages. I could go on but I hope that you see where my argument is leading.
Yes, I see where it is leading, and also from where it comes. There are numerous factors, genetic, cultural, and situational, which affect a child's ability or motivation to take advantage of the educational opportunities available. Your premise seems to be that other citizens have some duty to "equalize" those, at the cost of their own well-being and happiness.

I know of no basis for such a duty. Unless Bruno's disadvantages or misfortunes are of Alfie's doing, or unless there is some sort of contract between them, Alfie has no duties to mitigate them. Alfie is not Bruno's slave; Bruno has no claim upon Alfie's services or the products of his labor. If you think otherwise, please explain the origin and moral basis of that presumed duty.
Student loans should not exist. Instead there needs to be free tertiary education for all.
There is no such thing as "free" education. The only question is whether the person benefiting from it pays for it, or someone else is forced to pay for it.

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LuckyR
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by LuckyR » November 5th, 2018, 3:27 am

GE Morton wrote:
November 4th, 2018, 10:14 am
Belindi wrote:
November 4th, 2018, 9:17 am
Why not, GEMorton? I expect that you can answer that question if you think about it.

The parasites are always a nuisance. To deduce social parasites we need improved educational opportunities for disadvantaged minorities.The more productive citizens the better. It is universally acknowledged that prevention of crime is less costly than cure for crime.
"Disadvantaged minorities" have the same educational opportunities as everyone else. Public K-12 schools are open to all, and (in the US) so are government-guaranteed student loans for college.

But, as the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

Most criminals have no desire, and no intention, to ever become productive
, Belindi.
Then why do crimes rates fluctuate so much from decade to decade?
"As usual... it depends."

Belindi
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by Belindi » November 5th, 2018, 12:43 pm

Your premise seems to be that other citizens have some duty to "equalize" those, at the cost of their own well-being and happiness.
None of the three clauses of your sentence is correct, GEMorton.

Citizens have duties that include helping to make their society run smoothly.

When there is a large differential between rich and poor the society won't run smoothly.

When poor people are not given extra help with housing, health, and education much talent is lost to the society of which you, GEMorton, are a component part.

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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by GE Morton » November 5th, 2018, 2:23 pm

Belindi wrote:
November 5th, 2018, 12:43 pm
Your premise seems to be that other citizens have some duty to "equalize" those, at the cost of their own well-being and happiness.
None of the three clauses of your sentence is correct, GEMorton.
That sentence does not have 3 clauses. But I take it that you deny that your premise is that citizens have a duty to "equalize" natural and situational inequalities. Correct?

Instead you say, "Citizens have duties that include helping to make their society run smoothly."

That claim is much too vague to evaluate. So leaving aside the question of whether there is any such duty (which cannot be answered until what "smoothing" entails is specified), from your earlier comments it still looks like equalizing or at least reducing material inequalities is what you think is necessary to make "society run smoothly." Is that correct?
When there is a large differential between rich and poor the society won't run smoothly.
The only reason why it would not that I can think of is that the differential will elicit envy and resentments, which may motivate violence. But surely envy is not a morally defensible justification for violating someone's rights. The way to deal with those violators is to imprison them, not reward their envy by paying them "protection money" stolen from honest citizens.

Any means of making "society run smoothly" that entails violating someone's rights must be ruled out. E.g., one major source of friction in many Western societies today is racial and ethnic animosities and hostilities. No doubt those societies would run more smoothly if all racial and ethnic minorities were deported (or exterminated). But I doubt you would agree that end justifies that means.
When poor people are not given extra help with housing, health, and education much talent is lost to the society of which you, GEMorton, are a component part.
"Society" is not a moral agent, and the only losses it can suffer are the losses suffered by the individuals who constitute it. It is for each individual to decide whether the anticipated losses to him by not subsidizing others' education, housing, etc., are greater than the cost to him of doing so.

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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by Belindi » November 5th, 2018, 4:01 pm

GEMorton replied to my :
"When there is a large differential between rich and poor the society won't run smoothly."

The only reason why it would not that I can think of is that the differential will elicit envy and resentments,
That is one reason, but a comparatively trivial reason compared with main reason which is the power differential. Personal affluence and its advantages such as health, housing, legal services, and education give the possessor a power advantage in particular a political power advantage. I hope that you will not be tedious and ask for the details.

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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by GE Morton » November 6th, 2018, 1:22 am

Belindi wrote:
November 5th, 2018, 4:01 pm
GEMorton replied to my :
"When there is a large differential between rich and poor the society won't run smoothly."

The only reason why it would not that I can think of is that the differential will elicit envy and resentments,
That is one reason, but a comparatively trivial reason compared with main reason which is the power differential. Personal affluence and its advantages such as health, housing, legal services, and education give the possessor a power advantage in particular a political power advantage. I hope that you will not be tedious and ask for the details.
That is a catechism often recited by the Left, but it is vacuous. No "rich" person has any "power" over any poor person. He only has power over his own actions and assets, just as does the poor person. He exerts no force against the poor person (which is what "power" means). What the leftist actually seeks is power over the rich person --- the means and authority to force the rich person to serve him and support him.

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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by Belindi » November 6th, 2018, 8:29 am

What the leftist actually seeks is power over the rich person --- the means and authority to force the rich person to serve him and support him.
I know about how the powerful fear the oppressed.

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UchihaSasuke
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by UchihaSasuke » January 14th, 2019, 5:53 am

Scott wrote:
February 28th, 2008, 4:09 am
[The following topic is featured as a leadup to the May philosophy book of the month discussion of Holding Fire.]

Does Society Need Prisons?
by Scott Hughes

Millions of people in the world currently rot in jails or prisons. People think of jails and prisons as an essential part of society, but do we really need them? Do prisons really protect people from violence and victimization, or do prisons just make matters worse? Let's look at the different types of criminals that governments throw in prison.

Non-violent non-victimizers - Governments have a tendency to criminalize behaviors that do not hurt anyone. The governments create victimless crimes by creating authoritarian laws. When people break these laws, they have not hurt anyone in any major way. These laws can include any laws outlawing victimless behaviors, such as drug possession, prostitution, peacefully practicing a religion, and so on and so forth. For example, the United States currently has over 1 million people behind bars for victimless crimes, which only limits freedom and does not protect others. Instead of putting these non-violent people in jail or prison, we can just let them go and legalize all victimless behaviors. It makes more sense to let people have freedom than to waste resources enforcing authoritarian laws.

Incidental Criminals – Some people may commit an illegal act of violence or victimization due to external conditions. We can refer to these people as incidental criminals. These 'incidental criminals' do not have any more of a tendency to hurt others than the average person. For example, consider someone who has to steal to feed his family one day. Almost anyone would do that, so it does not mean we need to throw the person in jail or prison. If we can change the conditions that cause a normal person to commit a crime, then we can do that rather than brutally lock a person in a cell. We have no need to throw a person in jail or prison if they pose no more danger than the average person but committed a one-time crime due to external circumstances.

Mentally Sick People - Finally, we have sick people. These people have some sort of mental defect that makes them a danger to other people. If we do not restrain these people, they will victimize other people. So we must restrain them. But why put them in jail or prison? They need treatment, and prison will not cure them; it will just torture them. If we put them in jail or prison, then we can never let them out because jail or prison will not cure them. If we put them into a treatment facility, then we may successfully treat or cure some of them, at which point we can safely release those ones back into society. We will protect more people by putting mentally sick people into treatment centers (including insane asylums), then by throwing them in jail or prison. These people need professional care in a medical establishment, not the punishment of prison.

I think most people feel like me in that I would prefer to protect people and to do it in as least brutal a way as possible. I have no interest in using the force of government to pointlessly get vengeance or inflict punishment using prisons. Thus, I see no need for prisons. We can release people who have no psychological defect that makes them dangerous, and we can put the ones with psychological defects in treatment. Let's base our policies on sympathy, understanding, and a desire to protect people. Let's not base policy on a wasteful indulgence in state-sanctioned vengeance.

About the author: Scott Hughes manages the Philosophy Forums, which contain a Philosophy of Politics Forum. You can use the forums to discuss topics such as this and more.

What do you think? Do you think society needs prisons? Why or why not?

1. What do you suggest for the criminals who do not belong to any of the categories discussed?
e.g. Hidan is a sane man who kills people regularly for sacrifices to the Lord Jashin of the Jashin religion he follows.


He definitely is not a non-violent non-victimizer type.
He can't be an incidental criminal because his crimes are not infrequent and are not instigated by any external factors but his own religious beliefs.
He doesn't have any kind of psychiatric disorder or psychological problem that modifies his behaviour. He just has a perspective that is radically different from the common people in the most fundamental aspects. The difference in views is no mental defect.
And even if he is put in a compassionate treatment facility, then what would be the purpose of the treatment he gets? Would it be to change his religious beliefs or something?


2. We are well aware that human acts are often driven by motivation. An integral factor of motivation is fear. Mostly, crimes are temptations that people fall into. Be it a temptation to reach earlier by overspeeding, a temptation to earn quick money by scamming etc. But still most of the people are not criminals, i.e., they do not fall into the temptations being driven by a fear of prison. If there are no prisons, it ends the fear of consequences from minds. Plus, if committing a crime means going to a place where one will be treated with compassion and professional care, it could even have the reverse motivational effects as not many people have the things that you could get in a medical facility.

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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by Belindi » January 14th, 2019, 8:38 am

e.g. Hidan is a sane man who kills people regularly for sacrifices to the Lord Jashin of the Jashin religion he follows.
That religion and culture would be outlawed here and elsewhere in the same way as Daesh is outlawed.

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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by UchihaSasuke » January 14th, 2019, 12:20 pm

Belindi wrote:
January 14th, 2019, 8:38 am
e.g. Hidan is a sane man who kills people regularly for sacrifices to the Lord Jashin of the Jashin religion he follows.
That religion and culture would be outlawed here and elsewhere in the same way as Daesh is outlawed.


Belindi,

That's not the question. It most obviously will be outlawed.

I am asking what category does such a criminal belong to according to the article poster and what least brutal and compassionate measures does he propose for them?

Sasuke

Belindi
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by Belindi » January 14th, 2019, 7:07 pm

UchihaSasuke wrote:
January 14th, 2019, 12:20 pm
Belindi wrote:
January 14th, 2019, 8:38 am


That religion and culture would be outlawed here and elsewhere in the same way as Daesh is outlawed.


Belindi,

That's not the question. It most obviously will be outlawed.

I am asking what category does such a criminal belong to according to the article poster and what least brutal and compassionate measures does he propose for them?

Sasuke
There are recognisable crimes in all legal systems. What category of crime such a criminal would belong to depends upon the legal system where he committed the crimes.

The least brutal and most compassionate treatment for him would be to imprison him with profuse apologies and explanation that other people must be protected from him. He will also be assured that he will be well treated at least in accordance with recognised human rights.

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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by GE Morton » January 14th, 2019, 8:22 pm

Belindi wrote:
January 14th, 2019, 7:07 pm

The least brutal and most compassionate treatment for him would be to imprison him with profuse apologies . . .
Er, apologies for what?

Apologies are due when a wrong is done. Removing a murderer from the community is not a wrong. Nor is he entitled to any compassion.
He will also be assured that he will be well treated at least in accordance with recognised human rights.
A moral agent who violates another's rights relieves all other agents from any duty to respect his own.

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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by Belindi » January 15th, 2019, 6:33 am

GE Morton wrote:
January 14th, 2019, 8:22 pm
Belindi wrote:
January 14th, 2019, 7:07 pm

The least brutal and most compassionate treatment for him would be to imprison him with profuse apologies . . .
Er, apologies for what?

Apologies are due when a wrong is done. Removing a murderer from the community is not a wrong. Nor is he entitled to any compassion.
He will also be assured that he will be well treated at least in accordance with recognised human rights.
A moral agent who violates another's rights relieves all other agents from any duty to respect his own.
GEMorton, you assert but don't argue your case.

Rights are man made and therefore rights are matters of degree. I was challenged to name the least brutal and compassionate treatment of the criminal. It's least brutal and most compassionate towards the criminal to apologise for imprisoning them together with an explanation of how the majority need to be protected against his activities. And loss of liberty to continue killing people to be accompanied by the maximum of prison comforts that the budget can afford.

Do you realise that you come over as punitive?

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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by GE Morton » January 15th, 2019, 11:37 am

Belindi wrote:
January 15th, 2019, 6:33 am

Rights are man made and therefore rights are matters of degree.
Yes, they are man-made. But they are not arbitrary; they have an objective basis. (I'm speaking of natural rights, not legal rights, which can indeed be arbitrary).
I was challenged to name the least brutal and compassionate treatment of the criminal. It's least brutal and most compassionate towards the criminal to apologise for imprisoning them together with an explanation of how the majority need to be protected against his activities. And loss of liberty to continue killing people to be accompanied by the maximum of prison comforts that the budget can afford.
You don't answer the question as to why you think an apology is due. Do you disagree that apologies are due only when a wrong has been done? Or do you contend that imprisoning a murderer wrongs him?
Do you realise that you come over as punitive?
The purpose of imprisonment is not to punish (i.e., to inflict pain or discomfort), but to remove predators from the community and secure justice for their victims. In a rational world the inmate would be forced to work, to pay full restitution to his victims for the losses he imposed upon them and the full costs of apprehending, trying, and confining him. The costs of any "comforts" provided him would also be added to that restitution obligation. He would remain confined until that obligation had been paid in full.

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