[LMB] Crime and Punishment

Aruvqan aruvqan at gmail.com
Sat Dec 14 23:11:50 GMT 2019

On 12/14/2019 10:46 AM, WILLIAM A WENRICH wrote:
> 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.

There are serious issues at play.

*Currently* you are considered an adult for legal contract purposes at 
18 unless emancipated, and in general the age of emancipation is 16 at 
best [roughly based on child labor laws in combination with some other 
goodies like minimum age you can bail on high school without the law 
coming down upon one] I have heard previously that the mind is not 
actually fully mature til about the age of 25 [and some guys never 
actually mature mentally, ubt we won't get into the jerks like that]

Previously, you could be put into apprenticeship at 5 years old, at 9 
years old and until the 1800s guys as young as 14 were considered adult 
for work purposes. The Jewish Bar Mizpah ceremony was more or less 
accepting the change from boy to man - roughly when they hit puberty. 
GIrls could and did get married when they hit puberty - not as 
frequently as people currently tend to believe, but it was not unknown.

And currently you can be tried as an adult while fairly young, I think, 
not researching right now, sort of busy - but I think currently the 
youngest was something like 12?

That being said -

I think that while one is 13, you certainly should know good and bad, 
and that something is illegal and dangerous and should be avoided. 
Unfortunately we have peer pressure crap going on so older kids are 
urging younger kids to indulge in crimes [gang crap specifically] but 
treating them like an adult will pretty much assure they will be a 
criminal all their lives. DOn't ask me for a cite, as I said, busy.

If you put them into general population, while a friend who works in a 
prison in Michegan says that violent rape is moderately rare, legally 
anything done to the kid under 18 is rape even if it is consensual. 
Trading sex for *insert whatever* is fairly common in prison - what is 
the kid going to do if he is pressured to put out to get protection from 
some other group? Put him in solitary, it *will* screw him mentally - it 
screws with adults and kids are still developing.

He has been tried as an adult, pretty much taking him out of the kiddy 
penal system.

So we have to change the definition of adult and shove him into the 
adult penal system, we have to screw with his trial results and return 
him to the kiddy system, but we need to decide if that is dangerous to 
the other kids. We can't declare him crackers and put him in a mental 
ward, he is healthy, we can't out im into a hospital ward.

Honestly, there really is no good decision.

More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list