Truth Before Dishonor

I would rather be right than popular

The Criminal Justice System: A Biblical Repair

Posted by John Hitchcock on 2012/02/19


Dana Pico and I are both Christian Conservatives. Dana Pico is a Catholic adherent, while I am … not. But we both believe in Tough Love.

There is a reason why Liberals and “victims” of Tough Love despise Tough Love. And the reason is purely emotional and purely devoid of logic. Many “victims” of Tough Love, after they grow up and become responsible, become adherents of Tough Love. And there is a very clear reason: it works.

As I stated, Dana Pico is a Catholic adherent and I’m not. That difference is key from the starting gate.

While Catholics, like Dana Pico, are wholly against Capital Punishment, and Tough Love adherent Catholics like Dana Pico are fully in favor of Life without Parole, I am dead-set against Life sentences. If anyone has done something so heinous as to deserve to spend the rest of his life behind bars, that person has done something so heinous as to have his life legally truncated. Period. And the philosophical argument I’m giving has no room for the legalistic expense of arguing such a case. If my position were codified in any manner, much of that expense would evaporate into the oblivion to which it belongs.

I’m also against giving someone years or months or whatever behind bars for theft, burglary, possession of stolen property, burglary tools, etc, which all fall under the category of Theft. But I am not for giving them a free pass, either. Nor am I for accepting “extenuating circumstances” which are always a weak sympathy ploy which should be rejected out of hand.

Death Sentence:
Murder, rape, kidnapping

This would include terrorism, attempted murder (and robbery by gunpoint is attempted murder in my book), attempted rape, attempted kidnapping, but would exclude the accidental deaths called vehicular homicide where drugs and alcohol are not involved, but a lack of control (usually shown by a lack of experience behind the wheel) is the contributing factor.

Time behind bars:
Any sentence that doesn’t require Death, that cannot be financially paid, until such a time as the financial pay-off is met

This would include everything else. Steal a 1,400 dollar TV and pay the victim 5,600 dollars in return. Period. End of story. Whatever you steal, you pay the victim four times its purchase price. If your wife and kids starve because you lose that money, that’s on you, and not on anyone else. (It’s partially on your wife because she consented to live with the criminal you are, but it’s ultimately on you.) Steal a 50,000 dollar car and can’t pay for it? Go to jail until your family and/or friends pay the 200,000 dollar (plus the cost of incarcerating you) penalty. If you never get out of jail, that isn’t a Life Sentence; that’s your family not covering for your sorry butt.

For those who think the Death Penalty is not a reliable deterrent, answer me this: How many people who have served out their Death Penalty sentence have ever committed another crime? Beyond that, if the Death Penalty were more actively carried out, criminals would be that much more careful not to do that which could get them dead. I have read on more than one occasion that violent crimes drop off in the immediate aftermath of someone being executed for a violent crime.

For those who think it’s terrible to “punish the wife and kids” for a crime the man committed, consider the social ostracization of criminals that would result. And consider the resultant lowering of criminal activities that would result from the ostracization. Pariahs don’t survive well within a culture, thus few people want to become pariahs. And the result would necessarily be a drastic drop-off in crime over the long term.

There is no societal “lose” here. Short-term pain (innoculation) leads to long-term health, and a drastic reduction in crime. Tough Love, while declared “hateful” by Liberals and the “victims” of Tough Love, proves to be the exact opposite as people learn to be wholly responsible for their own actions. In short, they grow up and become mature adults, instead of “blame others always” “helpless” children.

3 Responses to “The Criminal Justice System: A Biblical Repair”

  1. Dana Pico said

    Though I am Catholic, I very careful avoid making theological arguments to support my opposition to capital punishment. My reason is simple: if I base my arguments upon Catholicism, then anyone who is not Catholic is automatically not persuaded.

    I do base my arguments on the fact that we are really not serious, not serious in the least, concerning capital punishment. In Pennsylvania, prosecutors go for the death penalty all the time, to prove that they are tough on crime, but since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976, there have been only three executions in the Keystone State, and in all three cases, the criminals voluntarily dropped all of their appeals, and basically volunteered for the needle.

    Even the great state of Texas, where our esteemed host resides, and which is more efficient in the application of capital punishment than any other state, has, since the reinstatement of capital punishment, executed only 15.93 criminals per year, on average, over the thirty years since the first post-moratorium execution was carried out, and with 322 condemned men on death row in the Lone Star State, it will take over 20 years to execute them all, and that assumes that there are no further capital sentences levied. The fact of the matter is that, even in Texas, it is more probable for a condemned man to die in prison of some cause other than execution.

    And, of course, the costs of executing a prisoner far exceed the costs of keeping them locked up for the rest of their lives, due to the very expensive legal proceedings — for both prosecution and defendant — of getting a condemned man executed.

    There is, however, a moral part to my argument, even if it is not a specifically Catholic one. As Christians and as civilized men, we are commanded not to kill unless it is absolutely necessary to kill. Killing in self-defense is allowed, because such may be necessary, and it is understood. But, regardless of what crime a condemned man has committed, if he is already incarcerated and if he can be executed against his will, he is, by definition, helpless, and we have, by definition, already successfully defended ourselves against him. Since we have him in custody, and life imprisonment is an option, it is not necessary to kill him.

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  2. And as Thomas Sowell so aptly noted, that position doesn’t carry water in the real world, where Liberal Governors commute Life Sentences to “Time Served”, or convicted murderers and rapists go on to murder and rape while in prison.

    Again, while I know my solution will never, ever, under any circumstances be codified, such a solution will greatly diminish the actual cost and time of going forward with an execution, thus removing the short-term economic rebuttal. And that doesn’t even touch on the very definite long-term cost reductions as a far more energetic Death Sentence structure will most definitely serve as a deterrent.

    But I note you only spoke out on your obvious differences with me regarding Capital Punishment, and none of the rest. We can keep arguing Capital Punishment, or you could provide your input into the rest, where we could argue that or agree there as your position warrants. As the original member of my “stable of authors”, you know you have my respect (even when you’re dead wrong on things).

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  3. Yorkshire said

    As I stated, Dana Pico is a Catholic adherent and I’m not. That difference is key from the starting gate.

    While Catholics, like Dana Pico, are wholly against Capital Punishment, and Tough Love adherent Catholics like Dana Pico are fully in favor of Life without Parole, I am dead-set against Life sentences. If anyone has done something so heinous as to deserve to spend the rest of his life behind bars, that person has done something so heinous as to have his life legally truncated. Period. And the philosophical argument I’m giving has no room for the legalistic expense of arguing such a case. If my position were codified in any manner, much of that expense would evaporate into the oblivion to which it belongs.

    All my life, +6 decades, I would say I firmly believed in the DP. The ultimate deterant. A year ago I was called for Jury duty on a state Capital case. As guaranteed in the Constitution the accused has the right to confront his/her accuser, and has the right to trial by Jury. That’s where I came into this. There ware about 150 people called for this jury. No one knew what it was for, but would be told specifics when you showed up. That’s when I found out it was 1st degree murder with the DP. This was the first time I came face to face with being a potential person ordering the needle. It was in filling out about a 12 page questionaire that the question of ordering the needle for the first time in my life. In the abstract we hear of these murders and the initial reaction is “hang-em high”. But here was the question before “me” as can you personnally order this and not bother you. It did. In the one on one interviews, I couldn’t do it..

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