Re: Punishment

Alexander 'Sasha' Chislenko (
Wed, 11 Mar 1998 11:28:49 -0500

At 23:00 03/10/98 -0800, John K Clark wrote:

> I simply become unhappy when I
>see another living thing in pain, and if I'm the cause of that pain then I'm
>even more unhappy. I don't claim there is any profound significance in my
>attitude, it's just the way my brain is wired.

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.

>        >By the way, what would the rationale be against corporal
>        >for violent but non-lethal crimes?
>I see insurmountable practical problems because I don't see how you could get 

>the calibration right. Even if they commit the exact same crime, a 25 year
>old 300 pound Olympic weight lifter and a 82 year old 89 pound grandmother
>can not receive the same corporal punishment. You'd end up killing some
>people for minor crimes and giving virtually no punishment to others who
>commit major ones. 
10 year jail sentence for these people will also be perceived differently.
And so will forced abstinence from sex, prison environment, solitude,
separation from family, etc. 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.

Besides, if the punishment is known in advance, and you think that it's
too harsh on you personally, then you don't have to commit that crime, right?
If you do, it's your own choice - maybe you thought that though the
punishment for you is more severe, but the chances to get caught and convicted
are smaller (we can't calibrate that for people). So you made a free conscious
choice, and now get the promised payoff. It will also be a lesson to others
to do it. Why do you thing old ladies commit fewer crimes ? ;-)

Alexander Chislenko <>
<> <> <>