How to Change Bad to Good
In a society where children can no longer be spanked because it’s considered child abuse, gun violence is at an all time high, and parents fear what ay happen as they are sending their children off to school, it’s difficult to watch the evening news anymore. There was a time where people would leave the house to go to the grocery store for a loaf of bread and leave their doors unlocked. Today, if you leave your doors unlocked, there is a high probability you will be burglarized.
What is the world coming to and is the Justice system really serving its purpose if there are so many repeated offenses, and in some cases, repeat offenders? For Assignment One for this week, I shared information about Singapore Criminal Justice System. The information I learned through my research was astounding. Singapore has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and while many feel Singapore punishments are inhumane and extreme, some feel Corporal punishment would allow individuals contemplating criminal activity to think twice before they act out on impulsion.
In 1994, American teenager Michael Fay was caned four strokes and sentenced to four months in Jail for vandalizing cars and public property, despite the United States appeals for a different sentence (The Wall Street Journal, 2010). After the caning and turning to the United States, Michael Fay was involved in a butane accident, burning his face and hands, and was subsequently admitted to the Hazarded rehabilitation program, located in Minnesota, for butane abuse (People Magazine, 1994, pig 60). According to People Magazine (1994), Fay blamed his butane abuse on his experience in Singapore.
Following the butane incident, Michael Fay continued his troubles with the law. In Florida in 1996, he was cited for several traffic violations (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, pig 82) and in 1998, Fay was charged with drug rappelling and possession of marijuana (Askew, 1998, pig 1). Did Fay continue to break the law in the United States because he knew Corporal Punishment was not an option and his punishment would be much lighter than caning, or can his misdoings’ really be a direct correlation to his caning experience?
Why do people commit crime? Is there a difference between a man stealing a turkey at Thanksgiving because he is homeless and a man stealing clothing so he can then turn around and sell it to support his bad drug habit? It seems as though there should be a difference, et both men could face the same sentence. There are underlying psychological reasons why people commit crimes, however, some may be more reasonable than others. But then again, who defines reasonable? I believe in order to allow Justice to prevail; you must understand the criminal at hand.
Why did the person commit the crime? Is the person a threat to society? Can the person be rehabilitated if given the correct direction and opportunities? Sentences should be appropriate to the crime committed. If a man steals a turkey because he is homeless and is trying to eat, what DOD is it going to do sending him to Jail when he knows he will be giving a warm place to sleep and food to eat? Wouldn’t that antagonize him to continue to steal? Instead of sending him to Jail, send him to work.
Order him to pay for what he stole and continue to hold a steady Job so he is able to pay for food, contribute to society and show remorse for the crime committed out of disparity. If a man is stealing clothing to sell it for a drug habit, again, the situation should be assessed. Is he a threat to society and would he continue to steal if his substance abuse problem was obliterated? Instead of sending him to Jail, send him to a rehabilitation center. However, do not send the defendant to rehab for ninety days.
If someone has a substance abuse problem severe enough to steal, ninety days is not going to rehabilitate the individual. An extensive rehabilitation program is called for. Repeated offenders are a concern. If the individual did not learn from their prior punishment, it is obvious there must be some sort of attempt to mislead and commit crimes without being caught. For those individuals, they should be sentenced accordingly, and then sent to the military. The enlisting time should depend on the offense committed and their prior criminal history.
As a victim of crime, I understand that Justice is not always served in the way some feel it should be served. For example, there are plenty of homicide cases reported in the news where the accused has been convicted before on murder charges. Why is this person out on the streets? If a person murders someone intentionally, there is absolutely no excuse for why they should be given another chance. I am a big proponent for Capital Punishment. If money takes a life, why should they be allowed to continue their life?
There is a local municipal Judge in my area that I have much respect for, as do others in the community. His name is Judge Continent. Judge Continent believes in creative sentencing. He has sentenced a woman who abandoned kittens in a box in the woods during the winter season to a night spent in the woods. He has sentenced a man who called a police officer a “pig” to stand on a busy city street corner with an actual pig and a sign that read “Police Officers are NOT pigs. ” It is hard not to laugh at some of Hess sentences, but it does seem very close to the “eye for an eye” mentality, which I thoroughly support.
I believe that if this type of mentality was used when handing down all sentences, the element of suspense and criminals thinking they will get a slap on the wrist will soon disappear. If the sentence is known before the crime is committed, and the sentences are uniform, people may think twice before committing a crime, especially if they know they will be subjected to the same treatment they caused someone else to endure. Is there really a quick fix for the United States Criminal Justice System?