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Would some criminals not commit crimes if

  1. Dec 13, 2013 #1
    Would some criminals not commit crimes if....

    ... they were reared in a different environment, and if they would not, should we still punish them?

    Such as, some criminals might have not commit the crime if they did not have a history of abuse by family members or other members in the society. Or some criminals may have not been able to handle poverty, because of their poor social intelligence which might have been affected by his relationship with other family members? Is it possible that they wouldn't commit the crime if they didn't have such a history? ( Of course, it's never 100% down to the genetic makeup of the criminal, since conditions that negatively affect social relationships and to which they were genetically predisposed can be controlled by altering the environment, at least, to a functioning level. Though it may not be true for some cases. )

    And if they wouldn't, how can we conclude that it was the criminal's fault ( since, they might not commit the crime if they had a better family or social or economic life ) and we should punish them?
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2013
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  3. Dec 13, 2013 #2


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    What about the crimes of society (it is not like groups evolved to be rational or sane) and that the individual cannot be an innocent victim of the irrationality of a group ("When a group of people come together to make a decision, every demon in the psychological bestiary will be summoned. Conformity, rationalization, stereotyping, delusions of grandeur - they all come out to play, and no one is willing to fight them back into hell...") - “It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society” -Jiddu Krishnamurti.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2013
  4. Dec 16, 2013 #3
    Yes, that's true. And that's why when change is needed, the whole society has to change together. That's a difficult task, but not an impossible one.
  5. Dec 16, 2013 #4


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    Do you "punish" a rabid dog by killing it?

    I think not.

    So, if your prime concern is in a frankly silly name shifting game concerning the practice of incarceration, that we shouldn't call it "punishment", but something else entirely, I don't see the point of the thread.
  6. Dec 17, 2013 #5
    Rabid dogs are curable. Many criminals are fixable.

    How about a restorative, rather than a retributive approach towards dealing with criminals?
  7. Dec 17, 2013 #6


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    Why should we cure?
  8. Dec 17, 2013 #7
    Why do we want to cure anybody?
  9. Dec 17, 2013 #8
    oh fun! not sure of your age but in my early teens these kinda of philosophical questions popped up in my head, along with "hey there isn't any "real" right/wrong, good/bad, it's defined.

    the criminal code too is defined, and more less based on prior experience. Most often it's great. Like no stealing, not violence. Sometimes it's bad, like putting drug addicts/abusers in jail.

    All that said it is all quite fair, quality governments protect citizens from unjust laws mostly via charters/constitutions like the bill of rights or charter or rights & freedoms.

    One thing I know for certain is, if someone steals from me or physically attacks me I don't give two hoots of your up bringing, it's not a cause/effect thing....it's a correlation thing. no excuse imo, and at the end of the day that's all the criminal code is. And majority agree more less with the punishments/defining of crimes.
  10. Dec 17, 2013 #9
    This may vary based on where you are from.
    But in Canada the stated goal of the criminal justice system isn't to "punish" criminals but rather to rehabilitate them back into a functioning member of society.
    However the results are somewhat dubious these days.

    While I would conceed that the actions of many criminals stem from enviromental behaviours. As sentient beings they are still ultimately responsible for their actions, and as such must be held accountable for them.

    Further it is still the responsibilty of society to protect individuals, and the easiest method in achieving this the segergation of the criminal element from the rest of society.
  11. Dec 17, 2013 #10
    Agreed, though I see it more as a "parental" thing. In that prison is just an extreme case of removing your rights (more specifically though, privileges, for example cruel and unsual punishment isn't removed because you re a prisoner) . Not sure prisoners can even vote. In the case of my fine for not paying for a sticker in time, if I don't pay that fine in time I lose the privilege to drive.

    Hopefully the OP doesn't fall into thinking this is a citizens being ruled by government. The government is put there by citizens. So if the OP doesn't agree with certain laws/punishments, it's more less the majority of citizens they disagree with...not the "enforcer/executor " of the laws/punishments.
  12. Dec 17, 2013 #11


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    Perhaps because they have the moral worth obliging others to cure them, in contrast to criminals, who by their own actions, have thrown that worth away?
  13. Dec 18, 2013 #12
    Not all of the criminals are product of social anomalies, but most of them are. When you find correlation between criminals and their defective upbringing that strong, it is cause-effect. That of course doesn't exclude other causes, but upbringing is the major one.

    But better for the society is first segregate them, then rehabilitate them as countries like Canada, Norway do.

    "Their own actions?" Social factors contribute to their actions as well.

    Right, but I want to know why the majority of the society thinks that retributive approach is useful for the society.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2013
  14. Dec 18, 2013 #13
    The system creates so called criminals. Without these criminals their would be no judges, mayors, police officers,
    politicians, modern day slavery. etc. It is the prison industrial complex research it.

    I believe that prisoners should be rehabilitated. Oftentimes a drug offender is incarcerated for petty marijuana only
    to turn into a cruel and hardened criminal in jail. Les Miserables is a great example of how if a convict is shown genuine compassion he can be of better service to society. Ie better then a citizen who was never in an abyss.
  15. Dec 18, 2013 #14
    I am personally against the death penatly in 99% of cases. There are however a few cases that are so horrific, that the shake the foundations of society. Cases like this, and the crimes commited being so horrible that the chance of legitimate rehabilitation is 0.
    The best example I can think of is the Paul Bernado (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Bernado) case.
  16. Dec 18, 2013 #15
    Try and support that claim, presuming youre referring to "western" countries. For example in Canada "petty" marijuana is oftentimes merely confiscated. If the officer had the option to fine the individual surely that would be the "punishment". If the person is sent to the courts, often as a substitute for non existing fines the punishment is a donation.

    surely even in Texas possession of a petty amount wouldn't result in prison time for first time offenders.
  17. Dec 18, 2013 #16
    It's not cause effect, not every terrible upbringing results in criminal behavior. That's crazy! to think those criminals who had terrible upbrinings are autonomous/not at fault for their actions.

    If you were a judge, would you suggest to put the caretakers of a criminal in prison instead because they provided a terrible upbringing for the law breaking individual? Ultimately a line must be drawn. Heck what about a case of manslaughter? perhaps as a result of a bar fight. Would you suggest that no one is at fault...that accidents happen?

    What about the Menendaze brothers (sorry don't know the proper spelling of their name, didn't wanna google it) do you think they are justified in their actions?
  18. Dec 18, 2013 #17
    Depends what color you are in America bro.
  19. Dec 18, 2013 #18
    Ah I see your perspective now, including the comment about "Prison business". I agree with you on that, it resembles a business model/industry.
  20. Dec 18, 2013 #19
    The best remedy for inprisonment is raising the consciousness of urban communities. Sadly education ussually falls on deaf ears. It should not halt people from informing others. The legal system has to be revamped for modern times in america. And make all punishments equal for eveyone. Bankinh scandal is a prime example

    Epistemology in regards to the media plays a huge role on peoplea develpments.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2013
  21. Dec 19, 2013 #20
    Of course, not all of the criminals are product of social anomalies. You couldn't stop some people from being criminals no matter whatever the environment is.
  22. Dec 19, 2013 #21
    Yes, true. Some criminals are just too horrible for consideration of rehabilitation for them. I have nothing to offer for serial killers, mass murderers etc, because the risk of their getting re-engaged in crime is too much.
  23. Dec 19, 2013 #22
    Guess "terrible" upbringing includes both ends of the class spectrum

    Link to the story
  24. Dec 19, 2013 #23
    If I recall correctly sexual assault types crimes often repeat themselves, same with DUI, same with....on and on.
  25. Dec 19, 2013 #24
    He did kill 4 people.
  26. Dec 19, 2013 #25
    In Norway, reoffence rate is less than 15%, and in the USA it's nearly 70%. Restorative vs retributive approach. Can you see the difference?
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