All sentences are life sentences

Here’s my point:

If a person commits a crime, and is convicted, there will be a sentence.

If it falls short of a life sentence, it will still follow the person around for the rest of his life.

The concept of sentencing, AFAIK, is to punish a person. So, if a person is sentenced to 10 years, then it’s should be only 10 years of punishment.

But, when that person gets out, and tries to get a job, who’s going to hire him (or her)? The sentence continues–previously to keep the con in, now to keep the ex-con out.

I guess my point is that once criminals have “paid their debt to society,” they have paid their debt, and it should be over (with some very exceptional crimes like pedophilia).

Any thoughts???

Umm, yeah. Don’t commit crimes.

I go with Flora.

But also, there are people who will hire ex-cons. I know one who was convicted, went to jail, learned computer skills there, came out and has a decent job now. It may follow people around, but that’s part of the penalty they pay for committing the crime.

After all, if I were an employer, I think I have the right to know that a potential employee spent several terms in jail for fraud and theft. Don’t you?

Well, on the surface it might seem like the purpose of the criminal justice system is to punish offenders of the law - but it is not so. Criminals are locked up or executed to remove them from society. This is done often due to public relations and the desire for rapid vengeance. When a serial killer is on the loose or a riot has destroyed a neighborhood, society is all too willing to pin the crimes on someone right away. There are thousands of scapegoats in our prisons and morgues.

If it was just about punishment, you’d be right.

When junior disobeys the rules and throws dirt in little sis’s eyes, sure you might banish him to the corner for ten minutes. When his sentence is over, though, it’s over. You don’t continue to hold that infraction over his head for the rest of his life.

The “punishment” should fit the crime. If, instead of the ol’ sand-in-the-eyes, junior chops his sister up with daddy’s 3-phase bandsaw I think it would be best if we put junior down like the rabid dog he is.

Hell is Other People.

Consider carefully why you allow this exception. I suspect that the reason will have soomething to do with protecting ourselves from the possiblity that this person will repeat his prior acts.

So too with all other crimes. We are not actively punishing them, as much as we are trying to protect ourselves. I do regret the trouble this causes to those who have truly reformed themselves, but as the law currently stands, individuals have the right to be cautious against the chance that any given ex-con has not truly reformed.

I’m with Mjollnir on this one. When a person has paid their debt to society, they should not have to keep on paying for the rest of their life.

I know it’s pretty easy to say “well don’t commit the crime”, but anyone can make a mistake. How do you know you would have acted differently in the same situation?

Part of the reason some people become career criminals is because of the stigma that follows them the rest of their life and makes it difficult for them to re-enter society.

La franchise ne consiste pas à dire tout ce que l’on pense, mais à penser tout ce que l’on dit.
H. de Livry

Wait, arnold, you’re saying we should think about what we say instead of say what we think?

Not for the rest of his life. But if you call him out of the corner with, “okay, junior, your time’s up, and your sister’s waiting for you in the sandbox and I’m not going to be watching you,” well, you’d be stupid.


Would you want Charles Manson as an officemate?

Not that I think he’s getting out anytime soon.

I work in the securities industry. As a legal matter, we must disclose any felony or misdemeanor conviction we have received in the past ten years, and further disclose any conviction we have ever received for crimes involving fraud, deception or theft. In an industry that involves taking care of customers’ money, the reasons should be self-evident.

In all but the most extraordinary circumstances (I can’t think of any offhand), having committed a crime involving dishonesty or theft forever disqualifies a person from holding a position in the industry if that position makes it possible to defraud customers.

Is it your proposal that after some time period a person who has, say, embezzled customer money should be re-qualified to enter the industry? If so, would you as a customer want the person’s tainted history disclosed to you?

Livin’ on Tums, Vitamin E and Rogaine

Good point.

I suppose junior would have a “probationary” period when you’d keep an eye on him. Surely you agree that the time will come when he needs you to put your trust in him that he he’s reformed and won’t break the rules again.

If he keeps throwing the sand in sis’s face, then maybe it’s time for some harsher penalties - like that bandsaw I was talking about.

Hell is Other People.

That was in reference to Rich’s posting.

As far as the securities industry - I would agree that it should be held to a higher standard than McDonalds when it comes to hiring ex-embezzelers. Same thing with bus drivers and teachers when it comes to violent crimes and sex crimes against children. You don’t want to gamble like that - the stakes are too high.

Hell is Other People.

manhattan said:

That might seem like a reasonable precaution. But pretty much what that policy says is “It’s impossible to reform” or “once a criminal, always a criminal.”

Those attitudes are what help create career criminals.

La franchise ne consiste pas à dire tout ce que l’on pense, mais à penser tout ce que l’on dit.
H. de Livry

I don’t think I’d have a problem with a convicted embezzler being given a position handling another person’s money . . .

After they’d paid back all the money they’d taken with exhorbitant interest.

And maybe posted a security bond for themselves in twice the amount of the money they originally took.

Surgoshan says:

I assume you’re referring to my “signature”. That actually means “frankness isn’t saying everything you think, but thinking everything you say.”

La franchise ne consiste pas à dire tout ce que l’on pense, mais à penser tout ce que l’on dit.
H. de Livry

Why stop at incarceration, how 'bout

‘… stop right there keeeed, I just got one question, have you ever been arrested …’

Now I know that what they really want to know is have you ever been convicted of a henious crime such as Mother Stabin’ and Father Rapin’ , but isn’t it really the same thing as being incarcerated. Perhaps there could be a stigma half life with different rates of decay for different crimes. A lot of folks have shoplifted, smoked dope (and sold it to their friends), embezzled company funds, cheated on their taxes (perjury) etc. and got caught and possibly arrested. So you shoplifted, let it go after 5 years. Pedophile, 20 years later and still clean and still taking your meds, forget it.

Now before someone says they need to watch the {insert nasty criminal type} because if they do the crime once they will do it again well I say the problem is the legal system. If ALL pedophiles commit their crimes again, then why are they EVER let out ?

Give someone a clean start, maybe working in the lower tier service jobs till they have proved themselves. They could then graduate to more secure & challenging jobs as job skills AND ‘clean’ time increased.

As an aside …

I saw a program once about a BUDS (Navy Seal boot camp) like program at Chino, CA (IIRC) where the inmates were trained in commercial diving skills. Those that made it, and like BUDS there were many washouts, were in fairly high demand after ‘graduation’. I also recall that they boasted a exemplary recidivism rate.

Who is serving time in the pointless forest

I don’t think that’s what it’s saying at all. I think it’s saying, “In certain cases, the risk that a former criminal will again commit a crime is too great to allow the former criminal a chance to commit the crime, regardless of whether or not the former criminal would, in fact, avail him or herself of the chance.”



By exemplary, do you very low or very high?

I think that the use of the term “dent to society” is misleading. After all, how is debt incurred? One way I can think of is: suppose you want a car that sells for $20,000, an amount of money which you don’t have right now. The car dealership agrees to give you the car now, and let you pay later. You now have $20,000 of debt. So what does it mean? It means that to the car dealership, $20,000 is more valuable than the car, and so if you pay them $20,000, they’ll be satisfied. In other words, the amount of debt is the amount that must be provided for the other party to feel that they received something of equal or greater value to what they lost. Now, suppose someone commits murder and is released after 20 years. Does this mean that society considers 20 years of his life to be of equal or greater value than life he took? I don’t think so.
However, I don’t think that the commision of a crime should entail lifelong separation from society. I think that our society needs to realize that when someone is murdered, that person is dead. That must be accepted. No amount of punishment will change that. Punishment should be deterrent, not compensation.

Low, I think …
Sorry, I was copping out. I forgot if recidivism meant to go back to jail (and forfeit $200) or to stay out, so I said exemplary to mean/imply that most inmates stayed out of prison and were productive members of society (hence exemplary) . I think that means a low rate recidivism. Please correct me if I’m wrong.


Promising to always look up those big cool sounding words before I use them …

Main Entry: re·cid·i·vism
Pronunciation: ri-'si-d&-"vi-z&m
Function: noun
Date: 1886
: a tendency to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior; especially : relapse into criminal behavior