Posted - Jun 06 2007 : 10:11:13 AM
| Future lawyers:
What do you think should be the purpose of what we call "the criminal justice system"?
1. To exact justice, in the sense of punishing the criminal in the way that morality demands.
2. To turn criminals into non-criminals--to cure them of the habit of crime.
3. To protect the potential victims of crime by removing the criminals from among their midst.
4. To insure that the criminal repairs the damage done to the victims of crime.
To what extent are any of these goals compatible with each other?
Should we, and can we, as a society, decide which of these goals our justice system should be designed to achieve? (Yes, I take it as a fact that we have not already done so.)
I often hear news reports that claim that most violent crime is committed by those who've committed violent crimes before. Does anyone know of objective evidence to back up this claim? I'd like to see something like statistics collected by the FBI.
Each item in the numbered list above (I think) carries with it assumptions that may be open to question.
Notably absent from the list above is that the criminal must pay a "debt to society." I'm not sure that phrase is as current as it was when I was young. I never could understand how incarceration constituted paying a debt to society. As far as I can tell, it's society that pays to incarcerate the criminal.
As a citizen, I am dissatisfied with the criminal justice system because it doesn't seem to be designed to achieve specific, achievable goals. I'm open to argument.
Edited by - Da5id on Jun 06 2007 10:20:11 AM