Punishment fitting the Crime

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Yesterday I was on the elevator heading to the skytrain platform and tried valiantly to not touch anything or even breathe for that matter as it was so filthy in there. As I stood on the platform waiting for my train I was thinking of writing to the newspaper editors asking why there isn’t something done about the sanitation of these train stations. Then I thought if I was in charge what would I do to fix the problem as I knew the city would say they didn’t have enough man power to clean them.

Then I thought of the old days when people went to prison for crimes committed.. they worked on “chain gangs, work crews that worked from dawn till dusk. There was none of this sitting around watching TV all day, playing pool and basketball. Then I thought of how the prisons are filled with repeat offenders so why not start making punishments fit the crimes. Here are some examples:

1. Someone gets caught defacing, littering etc any skytrain station, instead of getting a fine and a slap on the wrist they would be (under police supervision) they would be made to clean the stations and surrounding areas every day for an indefinite period of time

2. If you got caught spraying graffiti you would be fined and then be made to paint buildings for an indifinte period of time

3. If you got caught stealing or vandalizing cars you would be fined and be made to wash cars in car sales lots over and over

4. If you got caught doing a home invasion of a senior you would be fined and your punishment would be to spend time at a senior’s home where there are armed forces vets there and?Ǭ† speak to vets about why they faught for our freedom and after an indifinte amount of time write essays of why these seniors are our real heroes

5. If you got caught littering whether when walking or throwing things out of your car window,?Ǭ† you would be made to clean ditches picking up trash at the sides of roads and highways or in bad areas of town where litter is the new decoration

In some eastern countries if you get caught stealing you get your hand cut off. I bet they never think more then twice to steal something. Last week in the news here, someone had been caught stealing and this was the EIGHTEENTH time that he had been arrested. Are you kidding me??? What part of repeat offender do you not understand? Obviously this person’s punishments don’t fit his crimes. But if he was made to come into stores after closing and stock shelves and clean floors of large box stores like Costco over and over he’d never want to walk in a store again.

What do you think?

21 thoughts on “Punishment fitting the Crime

  1. This will never fly in Canada with prisons that are not private.

    First, in Canada, prisoners are being rehabilitated rather than punished – that’s the mandate. Second, facilities must act as non-profit generating organizations.

  2. Do you have a link to an article on that, Mary?
    I’m trying to remember the reasoning behind it.

    Was it that the mother-inmates were getting preferential treatment?

  3. I am looking for it, it was in the Lethbridge Herald this morning, but I can’t find it online yet. They said it had to do with safety of the babies ion the prison, but people in the programme say that isn’t an issue, that other inmates as well as staff are benefiting, and some inmates (ones without babies as well as those with) are re-evaluating their choices and thinking about their own lives and relationships with their children. They said that staff aren’t trained in infant CPR or emergency medical care for babies, so it’s not safe to have them there. Some advocates for the programme say that the real issue is the province isn’t willing to fund it. A lot of people are VERY upset by the decision and that includes other inmates. So it seems it is helping everyone all around. Except the government of course that doesn’t care about babies and bonding.

    I will keep looking for the article.

  4. oh and on Mum’s topic! Yes, there is too much ‘get out of jail free’ stuff going on. I thought though there is a 3 strikes rule or is that in the plans right now? 18 times is ludicrous. I agree, the punishment should have more relation to the crime. How about car thieves having to work on restoring old cars for charity? Or cleaning up a junk yard? Yes, changes should happen since the system doesn’t seem to work now.

  5. If you got caught stealing or vandalizing cars you would be fined and be made to wash cars in car sales lots over and over

    I got a vision of The Karate Kid here. Wax on, wax off.

    Great post. Seriously, you’re onto something.

  6. I like the idea generally and all your suggestions except 3 and 4. Punishment should not thrust the perpetrator into a situation where he/she has a prime opportunity to repeat the offense. Providing a car thief with access to hundreds of spanking new cars, or sending someone who gets his jollies assaulting seniors to do volunteer work in an old folks’ home, strikes me as inviting disaster.

  7. JimD

    I know she isn’t suggesting they would be unsupervised, so I think it would still work. Someone on them all the time to make sure they are doing the work. And being made to work in an arena where they have to serve the people they have in the past attacked, could show them in that they are PEOPLE and not just vulnerable objects to attack for gain.

  8. Mary, come to think of it, there’s at least some precedent for this type of punishment when Allied troops forced SS guards at various concentration camps to bury the dead who hadn’t been incinerated yet. I haven’t looked at this issue in detail, but my understanding is that most of the guards were somewhat indifferent to the work.

  9. I don’t really see the connection between errant youth serving seniors and SS burying dead people.

    However, we also don’t know the state of mind of these men. Not all German SS were mindless killing machines. Many did not want to be there. I know that for a fact. They were there basically because they had no choice…follow or be killed, or have your family disappear or be killed.

    Anyway, that’s beside the point. Service, real service can be healing, especially when trying to rehabilitate youth who have gone astray. They aren’t so hard that their shell can’t be pulled away and a soft and gentle inner layer allowed to emerge and the light of Christ that is still in them, grow.

  10. “They aren’t so hard that their shell can’t be pulled away and a soft and gentle inner layer allowed to emerge and the light of Christ that is still in them, grow.”

    I laughed out loud when I read this, but it’s not your fault, Mary.

    Have you had much experience with repeat offenders? I hesitate to admit that I have.

    I could not, in any way, shape or form imagine that comment being applied to the individuals I’ve known…

    Maybe you’ve been exposed to nicer criminals than I have. :)

  11. I just hate to think that people give up so much on the humanity of others that they don’t think there is a chance that they might change and work to help that(I am not disagreeing that there are some hardened criminals who will not change. But I don’t think that is the case with all repeat offenders, and this would depend on the crime).

    1. Rick,, obviously prisoners are NOT being rehabilitated in Canada hence the Mister 18 times under My Belt example

    2. Mary as for the 3 strike rule.. that’s dumb.. not you the rule.. I stick my hand on a fully hot burner I don’t need to do it 3 times to learn my lesson ;) I like your refinishing old cars for charity.. they put that much work in completing a work of art they are going to make sure no one steals it

    3. JimD, they do the home invasions here because they are punks and always travel in packs like dogs…. you separate them and one on one they spend time supervised really talking to some of these seniors especially those that have no family visiting or those that have more attitude then the kids (perhaps were the wild thing in their days) would make them think twice.. that this is someone grandparent not just a mark

    4. In my first example I did mention that they be supervised at all times and obviously this would not be for the hardened criminals like murderers etc.

  12. Fulfillment of the mandate (or lack thereof) does not change the mandate – only politicians do.

  13. I think for lesser crimes, this is a good way to go. Criminals are a strange brew. It is really hard to know when you are not being manipulated. I do believe in rehabilitation though and believe that it can be done. Our current system is not great…far from it…but it is all we have. I think more needs to be done with families and kids to keep the criminals from becoming criminals.

    When we lived in Utah I was over Brain Injury services in the state and always thought there should be a motorcycle tax that went directly to services for people with brain injuries. The leading cause for brain injuries in adults are motorcycle accidents. Tax dollars went to these services and were constantly in jeapardy of being taken away. It would be nice to have a fund that directly relates.

  14. I like the term “rehabilitated rather than punished”. It should be alittle of both. The guy from AZ is taking on stuff others cant do, helping prisorers, lowering tax burdens etc. Its working, thats why US probably won’t do it. It works.

  15. I think what Sally have written is just fair enough. Why not make those people pay their sins by letting them do community work. Salute to you Sally.


  16. I guess the main problem is all of this costs a lot of money to implement. Having police monitor somebody clean a station will cost a lot more than simply imprisoning someone, or paying a cleaner to do it.

    I like where your coming from though, I think if it was organised on a larger scale this could probably be made cost effective. I think it would be a better form of punishment as well.

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