John K Clark (johnkc@well.com)
Wed, 11 Mar 1998 11:09:56 -0800 (PST)


On Wed, 11 Mar 1998 "Alexander 'Sasha' Chislenko" <sasha1@netcom.com> Wrote:

>You can be unhappy punishing anybody, but the criminals will also be
>unhappy. That's the point - their unhappiness with the punishment
>will prevent them from committing [more] crime.

Exactly, preventing future crime is the only reason for punishment, or at
least the only reason I would care to defend. My point was that if you're
going to kill a murderer anyway then you can be sure he will never kill again
so there is no purpose in torturing him before you do so.

Ok, an argument could be made about increasing the deterrent, but this effect
may not exist (it would probably just generate sympathy in the population for
the murderer and make him a martyr) however even if it did and the effect was
proven to be large I still wouldn't go for it because emotional revulsion
against torture would prevent me. Hey, I never said I was a paragon of logic.

>Calibrating people's psychological perceptions does sound like an
>insurmountable problem, but it is never taken into account.
>Calibrating physical effects, such as tiredness and pain, is
>extremely easy compared to that. So by your very argument, we should
>abandon all other types of punishment in favor of the corporal.

Tiredness and pain are psychological perceptions, heart failure, shock, and
massive blood loss are physical effects. You'd be giving one person a mild
irritation, a second person a lifelong crippling injury, and a third person a
death sentence, and all for committing the exact same crime.

John K Clark johnkc@well.com

Version: 2.6.i