Tuesday 14 July 2009

On Crime and Punishment

In my last post I mentioned some of the recent bad publicity that Winnipeg has received because of it's various crime infestations. The question is: what do we do about it? Here at the Peanut, we're not just whiners and complainers. We are problem solvers!

Three of the four punks arrested for the stabathon Friday night were acquainted with the law, including "numerous breaches of court orders" stemming from previous offences. Likewise, I suspect most violent crime and property crimes are committed by repeat offenders.

The current system of punishment works something like this:
1st offence: a stern talking-to, a warm coddle, and a big grape-flavoured lollipop.
2nd offence: a stern talking-to, a playful noogie, and a small citrus-flavoured lollipop
3rd offence: a stern talking-to, and no lollipop
4th offence: a stern talking-to, suspended sentence.
5th offence: a stern talking-to, credit for time served, and a recommendation to stay away from the friends that are being such a bad influence on you.

Nobody should ever be the fifth or sixth victim of a criminal. I have heard all the arguments against jail time: it will "harden" the criminal, they will lift weights and learn new ways to jack cars, they aren't responsible for their actions beacuse they have FASD, whatever .... Gets these fucks off the street. That's how you solve the problem. Specifically, you need A) minimum sentences for violent crimes, and B) logarithmic sentencing.

A) If you shoot somebody or stab them in the chest, whether they live or die is a matter of chance. I don't care if the victim walks out of hospital the next day, the crime should be heavily punished. Violent crimes should be punishable by at least 5 years in prison every time, if not more depending on the circumstances. And I don't mean "5 years" as in 2-for-1 credit for 8 months in remand and immediate parole. I mean "5 years" as in 5 years behind bars.

B) Logarithmic sentencing recognizes that people make mistakes and do dumb things. They need to be given a chance to smarten up and get their lives in order. However, if a person is unable or unwilling to be reformed, then they should not be on the streets. Punishments need to get progressively harsher as an individual shows a higher probability of reoffending. (There are a lot of judges out there who could learn a few things from Thomas Bayes.)

This will do a number of things: it will keep serious re-offenders off the streets where they can not harm more people, it will free up police and court resources to catch and prosecute more offenders, and it will cause the offenders themselves to take the system seriously and think about the consequences of their crimes. Further, if a person is spending 5 or 10 years in the slammer, the may actually learn a skill or get an education, if for no other reason then to pass the time. Reform and education programs need to be implemented in prison, not just in the community where they can be ignored by the criminals.

Yes, maybe we'll need to build a new prison, but so what? It will stimulate the economy of some small town. And eventually, if all goes according to plan, gangs will fall apart because all of the leaders are in the slammer, and the new recruits will not be so anxious to follow in their footsteps. Crime rates will go down, and our little PR bugbears (murder capital of Canada, car theft capital of Canada ...) will go away.

Now: what to do about the child prostitution problem... Maybe we just need to put a positive spin on it. Youth employment capital of Canada, anyone? No? Alright ... I'll work on a real solution and get back to you.


Anonymous said...

Wow. I've been thinking the same thing for years, and hoping to do some research on the "repeat offenders commit a large share of the crimes" theory some time soon.

I agree wholeheartedly; I'm not clear on how any sane human being would want anything other than a permanent life sentence for people who wander the streets randomly attacking whoever they find. No parole, no mercy, no anything.

cherenkov said...

If you get around to doing that research, I would be interested in seeing it. I'm big on research .. just not the part about me spending time on it.

The Traveler said...

I have the Research which was done a few years ago , and the percentage of repeat offenders was overwhelmingly showing that stiffer sentences were needed. The figures were 53 percent of juveniles arrested were repeat offenders and had been never in jail for more then 1 year. This largely because of the protection they receive from the laws of this land. Also most had violent crimes under their belts which involved robbery or assault. I will post it to my Website in the future , just have to dig it up from my books .

The Traveler said...

This si the latest from the goverment, they are a year behind which is normal as it is compiled when the year is in complete


Sometime I will try to explain the method of the reporting it is not as simple as it seems by there explanation .

cherenkov said...

Thanks, OC.

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