Crime and Punishment

by Frost on November 21, 2011

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Explore Nature November 28, 2011 at 10:42 am

Probably we may have to redefine what is a crime in future. And we may have to categorize which kinds of illegal actions are criminal too.

Dulst November 27, 2011 at 11:04 am

Crime in general in England has increased partly because the amount of things made illegal has increased.

One could also suggest that homicide rates increasing is just another indicator of civilisation’s impending collapse. People are angry at the blue pill world, but can’t focus that anger. This undirectable anger leads to violence.

I’m only hypothesising here obviously.

As for imprisoning violent criminals for life – I don’t want my taxes wasted on that kind of shit. I don’t care about retribution, I just want a cheap, effective and humane way of reducing crime.

You should take a look at the Dutch justice system. Prisons in Holland are basically like holiday camps. Really nice places that treat their “guests” well.

The result? A massive decrease in reoffending.

You can use reason to prove either side of the punitive vs restorative argument, but when restorative justice is tested in real life situations, it comes out on top every time.

Ed November 22, 2011 at 11:46 am


An order of magnitude is a multiple of ten. Look it up. 1000 == 3 orders of magnitude. Look it up. Note also that multiplication is not addition. Look it up.

Kudos for finding a way to be much wronger than he was.

Bill Owen November 21, 2011 at 11:46 pm

“Sadly, most of his columns have been taken off-line,” Frost

What? You can’t find Dan’s website? -10 internets

Crime has gone up in England several “orders of magnitude” in the last hundred years? You do know that an “order of magnitude” 1000 right? So crime is now several thousand times more prevalent in England than it was a hundred years ago? Really? Really?

Stats please.

Read Pinker, he’s the cure for your delusions.

Virtually everything you wrote is scurrilous nonsense.

Are you David Warren? LOL

Chris November 21, 2011 at 8:17 pm

You seem to read Dan Gardner, and yet you misrepresent his views on crime policy entirely…

Ed November 21, 2011 at 7:26 pm

90% of that was redundant or irrelevant, and the rest was trivially obvious.

Peter Phoenix November 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm

You assume that they have the room to hold every single violent offender for long-terms. Don’t you know the prisons are over-crowded already?

Library Desk Graffiti November 22, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Yeah, with dudes who got 25 to life for “possession with intent to distribute”. Get outta here

red November 21, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Prisons in general is a system of torture and very infective at creating deterrence. The primary benefit we get from longer prison sentences is getting most criminals past their 20s and 30s away from normal folks. Once a man reaches 40s his criminal actions slow way down and most crime is related to raising mating value of the criminal.

Floggings would be much more effective in deterrence and much cheaper than prison. Physical pain works much better than the metal anguish that prisons cause.

Iain D November 21, 2011 at 11:33 am

The real question is whether or not keeping them in jail indefinitely is the best solution. While they’re in jail they’re a net cost to society. In some states keeping an inmate in prison costs more than sending someone to Harvard.

Let’s keep our discussion to violent offenders, since I agree that consensual crimes like drug dealing and prostitution are different beasts.

The recidivism rate for violent offenders is not 100% (it’s around 50%, so we would also not necessarily be raising the violent crime rate by releasing some inmates. Unless we’re willing to bear the cost of the inmates who will not re-offend we’re stuck in the position of having to decide on a case by case basis, which is more of less what we do now. It’s not perfect, but it can be improved.

We also have to consider whether or not the prison environment encourages violent behaviour, therefore increasing the likelihood of recidivism. Jail is a relatively recent invention (mid 1800’s) and I don’t think it has had good results.

In short: “lock ’em up forever!” is a bit too simplistic a solution for me. Yes, it will likely reduce violent crime, but at high cost and at the expense of those people who will not re-offend.

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