Tuesday, January 04, 2005

United Future crime policy

NRT looks at united future's crime policy and declares it to be basically evil, Some of his attacks however are a bit overdone.


While he is right that many of them seem to be an attempt to make sentences longer I dispute that there is a major problem with hte following.

* making drug dealers accomplices to the crimes of their customers;

If I ate ETA peanut butter and it drove me insane and made me want to kill someone presumably ETA would be in trouble (particularly if they knew it would do that). Surely the same should be true for drugs no?

NRT uses the example of alcohol as a major killer. and says if we dont blame alcohol distributors for thsoe crimes we should not blame drug sellers. but this is a foolish argument. The fact that we have been unable to ban alcohol for various reasons (attempts to do so generally resulted in serious damage to the system, and alcohol may have health benefits in moderation) does not mean we should never ban anything. This is a common but blatantly false argument to put what is being said clearly the argument is as below.

"Alcohol kills millions per year (worldwide) and we don’t ban that" therefore "we should not ban anything that kills less than millions per year".
you may not be able to save EVERYONE but that is no reason to refuse to save ANYONE.

And yet people always use it... why?

* Specialist drug courts

NRT suggests this is in order to change the standard of proof. maybe he is right - but there could be other benefits to having such courts besides changing the standards - won’t they have to pass the laws to allow a lower standard of evidence anyway? if so should that not be the policy that is opposed as opposed to this only loosely associated one?

* lowering the age of criminal responsibility to 12;

Why not? Why have a point or responsibility at all? Why not just test the person to see if the are "responsible" (whatever we mean by that) or not? The same way we deal with mental patients. Personally I see the differentiation between a 15.9yr old and a 16.1 yr old (or whatever the age is that you set the difference at) as a breach of one of their human rights. On the same grounds as one argues against any discrimination - you need a real moral difference - not just an age or race or gender etc difference.

* "voluntary chemical castration for sex offenders as a pre-condition of parole".

Well if a sex offender was willing to properly castrate himself I might well let him out tomorrow without parole (depending on the case). After-all he may well have been completely rehabilitated (and the punishmnt inclined might say sufficiently punished) - in which case why keep him? Waste of his time and ours.


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