of Criminal Sentencing
Answer: To be considered ...
Thus, you will never see a Supreme Court Judge venting his spleen in public at some indecency or even participating in an open forum where his personal opinion is put on the table. They don't dirty their hands. They are aloof ... detached ... IMPORTANT ... too important to sully their veneer by rubbling against you, "the commoners". They hide in a their closet (like James Brown under his little towel) later to come out with their great and wise "interpretation-decision" (ugh! unh! good god! ... papa's got a brand new bag).
In other words, they can't achieve real wisdom so they are willing to accept fake greatness. And this altered state can only be maintained IF their reverie is not "disturbed" by any intruding form of reality.
So I guess I'll have do their job for them.
This is sorely lacking and by itself would condemn the judicial system as unfit for praxis. For how many years have I heard about the murderer being released after six years while some wretch caught with a nickel bag of wacky tobacky languishes for 10 then 20 then 30 years. This shit sucks. It is intentional. It is designed to make you "give up". I say "counterattack".
We have some simple standards ... Fifty bucks for twenty over in a forty mph zone ... to ... death for first degree murder. Everything else falls in between. Is it a linear increase? Not likely. But we do know that one crime is worse than another and therefore deserving of the heavier sentence.
Proportionate sentencing is just this, "If A is greater than B and B is greater than C ... then ... A is greater than C". Applied to law, "Worse crimes beget worse punishments".
Is this hard? No, it's intentional.
This is amusing. Kill a rat ... that's OK. Kill a flying rat (pidgeon) ... go to jail. Go figure.
Sentencing for Actual rather than Potential
No one should be made "an example of ...". What is this? You're supposed to pay in advance for what someone else might do in the future? What kind of crap is this?
If you are sentenced appropriately for your crime ... you ARE an example ... period. What is really meant is a form of social masterbation ... "I'll teach you to obey me ! You bastard !".
Punishment is for what the criminal DID ... not for what people might do in the future IF you fail to scare the bejeesus out of them. In general, if people do a "crime" even though the law threatens to weigh in heavily on them, it is an indictment of the law ... not of people.
Uniform Sentencing Through Time and Space
Forty years ago someone is sentenced to twenty years for smoking dope. Last year someone is sentenced to two years for the same crime? It was bad for civilization then ... but not now? Who gets out of jail? ... who goes in? ... for how long? What a mess!
Steal something in State A ... then do the same thing in State B and get a completely different sentence. After over two hundred years as a unified country, we still can't get this right? Do you hear Mr. Supreme Court Justice pounding the pulpit about this?
Hell no. They're just "pounding off" on the secretarial pool.
Forms of Sentences
We have only a few to choose from ...
This is what we have for the very worst, e.g. murder of a person unknown to the assailant without mitigating circumstances arising in the victim. Actually, such a crime is a philosophical suicide. The death penalty merely confirms and certifies this fact.
This is great for extracting information (though very intelligent and experienced interrogators can get more by other means less messy). We don't want to use it if we are civilized because it demeans our higher motives ... and we must retain these in order to build a worthwhile civilization.
Criminals are incarcerated primarily to protect civilization from their depredations. It may be construed as punishment (a lesser form of torture which one believes will "cure" the offender of his harmful ways ... which may work if one wishes to produce a sort of "fearfilled, socially correct zombie").
Constructive work is more in tune with rehabilitation provided that the work is "normal" and not of the slave variety (another form of torture).
Take his money. This might work for lesser crimes (e.g. fraud) but those of passion or genuine meaness will be unaffected. People of violent nature seldom have anything to confiscate, nor will they ever obtain it.
We may sentence him to a term (definite or indefinite) of rehabilitation at the hands of well meaning psychotherapists, psychologists, etc. ... which seldom works.
Basically the Goal of Sentencing is to
"Don't bother me with it ... I have other things to do."
Which is fine. If you are a righteous person, you really do have other, more important things to do than babysit malfactors.
Then ... Babysitting
The duties are to keep the kids relatively peaceful. Don't let them hurt themselves or one another. Keep them entertained ... and in the case of schools ... maybe try to teach them something. Lastly, give a report at the end of the day.
So, what the ideal prison system is in a benevolent, well-meaning civilization is ... a babysitting service for wayward adults.
To optimize this service is to acquire the best possible return on investment which is "least trouble, least recidivism". So we can't talk about criminal sentencing without also discussing the design of a properly functioning prison.
The Nuts and Bolts of Optimized Penology
I favor the following experimental configuration:
Where they can see each other and interact verbally & visually. I don't mean mix ... this would lead directly to big trouble. Rather, if two hit it off they can arrange (with the respective wardens permission) for a little private nookie time in a special room for this purpose. What!? Why?
This could be easily accomplished by simple fences with razor wire on the top. It's not meant to be unscalable ... only difficult. So that by the time the rioters get to jumping over, the situation in the next cell is under control. Having 300 men on an open field is asking for trouble. For personal interactions with other inmates, access to a couple dozen at once is more than sufficient. Platoon size ... not a whole freaking regiment.
This big bruiser mentality can be stopped by fixing an acceptable weight for an inmate based on his size ... a chart like the doctor has in his office. It can be easily enforced by cutting the rations of someone who has "bulked up" and by getting rid of weight training ... aerobic excercise only.
But the Pelican Bay practice of holing up an inmate for 23 hours per day with one hour for nonsense excercise MUST END. This is, quite blatant, psychological torture given the social nature of man. Clearly, if such a damaging regimen is to be inflicted, the inmate ought properly to be executed, i.e. if he's that bad ... put him out of his (and our) misery. If his sentence length is "life" arrangements must be made for him to speak to and interact with others (inmates, lawyers, family ... perhaps through fences if necessary). They must not be cut off from the rest of humanity. They cannot be given a de facto "philosophical" death sentence.
By this I mean, each inmate must be legally entitled to a certain amount of "yard-days" calculated by mathematical formula established by responsible and experienced penologists. This means that each inmate is entitled to a certain number of square yards of personal space balanced over a specified time. So if the equation called for, say, 480 square yards per day per man and he's kept in a 6 sq.yd. cell, he has to be given enough time in a larger enclosuure to average 20 square yards per hour. If he's put "in the hole" for punishment he must be compensated for that lack of yardage ... or ... he could still be given his yards but the penalty would be isolation only.
It is known that many sexual offenders cannot be "cured". Therefore, in the interest of protection of the public, they must be incarcerated for life under the rule of Imminent Threat. This is the rule that forbids you to store dynamite in your garage in the suburbs. It is known to be dangerous and so is preempted by poorly understood legal means.
Obviously, if you put good food, and a beautiful woman on the one side and torment on the other ... the direction of travel is set sure. If all there is, is torture of one type or another ... the inevitable result of this "pressure cooker" penology is that the inmates will turn on one another in rage and frustration. In the larger sense, these men truly do not know what is wrong with them. They are ignorant of their condition and its causes. Help them as you are able ... or ... simply kill them. The supply is endless.
None of the foregoing is meant to "go easy on the criminal".
I simple acknowledge the nature of man whether he is good or bad and that it does not change because of these circumstances. Therefore, to the end of "good order" I propose that they be treated humanely as ... still members of the human race ... or ... that they be killed by humane means and thus eliminated from our consideration permanently.
If you could not bring yourself to kill such as these, you cannot, perforce, authorize that they be rendered insensible to their true and perhaps better natures.In these ways the requirements of humanity, civilization, and all the individuals therein are best served. And the culture is perceived as both Placid (in the face of opposition) and Immovable (by violence or deception).