POL/PHIL: Crime and Punishment (was: Re: No Federal Parole)

From: Corwyn J. Alambar (nettiger@best.com)
Date: Mon Jan 29 2001 - 13:27:39 MST

>From Brian Williams:
> From: "Michael M. Butler" <butler@comp-lib.org>
> >No parole for any federal offenders for 16 years now and counting.
> >Ergo every federal prisoner, or near enough, would wind up there.
> >It's easy to forget just how Procrustean the System already is...
> >or is that Draconian?
> What's wrong with people who commit crimes serving their full
> sentence?

Actually, the question here is this: What is the purpose of prison,
anyway? Most everyone who's been through a civis or government class
encouners this question at least at some level. While I think we can
all agree that prison is a deterrent to some level, the question comes
to be what is the main purpose of prison in any modern society, not just
that of the US: Is prison supposed to be punitive, or is it supposed
to be rehabilitative? And can it possibly be both at the same time?

I personally would argue that prison should be more a rehabilitative
forum than a forum for punishment. Rehabilitation, while initially
costlier, can often be much less expensive in the long run because of
decreased recidivism and increased productivity to society. A form of
"enforced welfare" perhaps.

Granted - the question of if prison should really exist at all or not
is never seriously addressed. What is the nature of crime and punishment
in a situation where the locus of power is geared more towards the
individual than any social structure? On what foundation does the concept
of "criminal justice" lay? Does any governmental instrument have either
the right or the responsibility to attempt to rehabilitate or punish
individuals, and how would this idea scale into a more libertarian/econo-
anarchic model?


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