[LMB] Crime and Punishment

Harvey Fishman fishman at panix.com
Sat Dec 14 16:01:23 GMT 2019


Do you have a way to deal with inequality?

Harvey

------ Original Message ------
From: "WILLIAM A WENRICH" <wawenri at msn.com>
Bcc: fishman at panix.com
To: "Discussion of the works of Lois McMaster Bujold." 
<lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk>
Sent: 12/14/2019 10:46:58 AM
Subject: Re: [LMB] Crime and Punishment

>One of the things that prompted me to start this thread was the news that a thirteen year old was arrested for and confessed to the brutal knife murder of an eighteen year old college student. What can we do with current technology with a 13 year old murderer?
>The penitentiary was invented by the Quakers as an alternative to physical punishment. The idea was mainly to give the prisoner time to repent. It hasn’t really worked that way.
>
>Christian, husband, father, granddaddy, son, American. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.
>William A Wenrich
>________________________________
>From: lois-bujold-bounces at lists.herald.co.uk <lois-bujold-bounces at lists.herald.co.uk> on behalf of pouncer at aol.com <pouncer at aol.com>
>Sent: Saturday, December 14, 2019 8:30:21 AM
>To: hedwig52 at comcast.net <hedwig52 at comcast.net>; litalex at gmail.com <litalex at gmail.com>; lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk <lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk>; m.dolbear at lineone.net <m.dolbear at lineone.net>; sylviamcivers at gmail.com <sylviamcivers at gmail.com>; thefabmadamem at yahoo.com <thefabmadamem at yahoo.com>
>Subject: [LMB] Crime and Punishment
>
>Louann Miller refers to canon:
>
>>Cordelia ... offered some Barayarrans the option of
>>Betan personlaity treatment on Beta vs. (per
>>Barrayaran law) the death penalty. All of them went
>>for the death penalty.
>
>I absolutely accept this into my head-canon, and
>it's absolutely consistent with Cordelia's character,
>but I confess I don't recall the scene or situation
>in the books.
>Would a listie who has a better-working memory chip
>than mine please help fill in the background?
>
>In real life I often consider the virtues of flogging.
>Or time in wooden stocks outside the court-house, or
>weekends devoted to picking up trash in parks or along
>roadways.
>
>I think it unfair (my foolish rationale) and ineffective
>(my wiser one) that financial punishments are so common
>for so many offenses against the good order of
>society.  The consequence is simply that wealthy
>offenders suffer very little, while already-impoverished
>offenders begin a cascade of tortures. Living
>paycheck to paycheck, a person paying a parking ticket
>may choose NOT paying an installment on a credit
>contract, leading to increased interest payments.
>It might mean not buying groceries or not paying
>a utility bill.  In the extreme not paying a
>court imposed fine means going to jail or prison.
>Even setting aside downstream consequences the same
>absolute financial penalty represents disproportionate
>pain (the point of any penalty) to richer or
>poorer citizens.  A corporal or temporal penalty -
>unlike financial ones - affects those who have
>bodies, or exist in time much more equitably. They
>are not perfect:-- young healthy offenders may
>recover from 5 lashes from a horsewhip much more
>quickly than elderly ill ones and so be less
>deterred by any prospect of punishment. Similarly
>a worker accustomed to intermittent hourly paid
>income tasked off to some number of community
>service hours is less inconvenieced by such
>a sentence than, say, a trial lawyer who bills
>hundreds of dollars per hour in six minute
>increments. But nothing in law or life is
>perfect, or fair. It is perhaps unfair to
>require taxpayers to hire foremen/supervisors
>to instruct and manage and track hours for
>trash pickers.  Flogging would be much quicker,
>I think. And arguably a better deterrent.
>
>Time and pain have another advantage in that
>they can not be transferred to societies'
>guardians.  If a policeman's pay depends
>on the fines and impounded property resulting
>from his enforcement, most police officers and
>their management will feel incentives to
>enforce the most "profitable" laws. The
>funds collected from fines may also go to those who
>WRITE such laws and again there exist incentives
>for writing more, and more "profitable", laws.
>But very few feel a benefit to themselves
>in inflicting pain. Neither the cops nor
>city council members would get more pay or
>financial perqs of office based on how many
>lashes on bare backs are inflicted on the
>city's litterbugs, check-kiters, and those
>who abuse handicap parking spaces. Line 'em
>up on Saturdays in front of the court house.
>Five to ten lashes apiece, as determined by
>the municipal courts and juries. Fair and
>square, over and done, then forgiven and
>forgotten.  Move on.
>
>There WILL be psychological and behavioral
>consequences of such policies.  For all
>I know Betan therapy takes flogging, or
>like negative reinforcement, into their mix.
>I suspect, however, Barrayar is more likely
>than Beta Colony to include forms of corporal
>punishment.
>
>
>
>--
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