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Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

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Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

Post by True Blue on Tue Nov 29, 2011 2:05 pm

First topic message reminder :

RockOnBrother wrote:
True Blue wrote:Excessively punitive... I think the US has more citizens per capita in prison than does any other Western Nation.
On those last two, we can go a few rounds if you wish, mate.

Who has the highest rate of Incarceration in the World?

Wikipedia wrote:The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world (743 per 100,000 population)

Why?

Wikipedia wrote:Violent crime was not responsible for the quadrupling of the incarcerated population in the United States from 1980 to 2003. Violent crime rates had been relatively constant or declining over those decades. The prison population was increased primarily by public policy changes causing more prison sentences and lengthening time served, e.g. through mandatory minimum sentencing, "three strikes" laws, and reductions in the availability of parole or early release. These policies were championed as protecting the public from serious and violent offenders, but instead yielded high rates of confinement for nonviolent offenders. Nearly three quarters of new admissions to state prison were convicted of nonviolent crimes. Only 49 percent of sentenced state inmates were held for violent offenses.

Can we have a graph to see this quadrupling of incarceration?



How does Australia compare?



So there you have it RockOnBrother... my claim is as valid now as it was when I first made it... and your Wiki counts as a reputable reference in your opinion... so, let round one begin. Ding! Ding! Ding!
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Re: Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

Post by Shirina on Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:31 pm

Now - convince me that the death penalty is a deterant
I won't even try because I know there's no such thing as a deterrent for a criminal. The vast majority of criminals do not believe they'll be caught (there are a few exceptions, of course). The one thing the death penalty does that no other form of punishment can do is to guarantee that the criminal will never commit another act of crime. I do believe that our capital punishment system is arbitrary. Sending a person to death row for killing a convenience store clerk in a fit of panic while giving a serial child rapist 20 years and some counseling is hardly befitting of a good system. But my objections arise over how the decision to execute is reached, and who ends up dying.

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Re: Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

Post by Shirina on Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:33 pm

Rock,

Thank you for taking the time to explain all of that to me. Seeing it now after your post, I think I can understand more fully what you're talking about. In fact, I think I can safely say that we are, more or less, in total agreement. I would write more, but my fingers are not faring well today, and I need to give them a much needed rest. No typing for awhile!

Take care.
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Re: Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:30 pm

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

What's hard to understand?
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Re: Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

Post by witchfinder on Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:27 pm

As Gandhi once said "an eye for an eye and soon the whole world will be blind"
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Re: Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

Post by Shirina on Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:30 pm

But in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King.
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Re: Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

Post by Guest on Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:54 pm

Shirina wrote:
Rock,

Thank you for taking the time to explain all of that to me. Seeing it now after your post, I think I can understand more fully what you're talking about. In fact, I think I can safely say that we are, more or less, in total agreement. I would write more, but my fingers are not faring well today, and I need to give them a much needed rest. No typing for awhile!

Take care.

Thank you, my sister.
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Re: Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

Post by witchfinder on Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:36 am

So we all agree that, based on facts and statistics, the death penalty is not a deterrent (spelt correctly this time) to crime / murder.

For those people on this side of the water, "detterent" is often the reason given for advocating the return of the death penalty, the moral issue seems not to count very much.

If an American or British person is brutaly tortured by the police force of a desperate dictatorship somewhere in the third world, does that then give us the right to do to them as they have done to us. ?

tit for tat - they do it, so we can do it

Or are we above those levels, is it not true to say that we should not sink to the same methods used by such regimes, but instead we ought to set the example and set a moral code.

If a murderer must be killed, then surely the Pakistani air force now has the right to drop a bloody great bomb on an American army base in Afghanistan, because they would be doing to them as they did to us.

Eye for an eye ?

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Re: Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Dec 03, 2011 2:59 pm

As a generalisation, one of the more universal constants is the barbarity shown to their Peoples by those Governments which do not enjoy the widespread support of said Peoples.
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Re: Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

Post by Guest on Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:57 pm

witchfinder wrote:
So we all agree that, based on facts and statistics, the death penalty is not a deterrent (spelt correctly this time) to crime / murder.

No.

“We” includes “I”, and I do not agree. Every murder is committed by a murderer; thus, the fewer murderers alive on the planet, the fewer murders committee on the planet. As a matter of fact, if we were ever to succeed in executing every murderer on the planet, the number of murders committed in the succeeding calendar year would be zero, and the murder rate in the succeeding calendar year would be zero.

It is a fact that Lawrence Russell Brewer will murder no other innocent men like James Byrd, Jr..
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Re: Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

Post by witchfinder on Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:26 pm

RockOnBrother - If we were to get rid of every potential murderer, then the world would be devoid of all human life, because you and I are potetial murderers, as is everyone.

A great many murders are carried out by people who never thought they could possibly ever committ such an act, a fit of rage, an episode of anger, a mistake, an accident, "I only meant to hit him".



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Re: Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

Post by Ivan on Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:38 pm

"I only meant to hit him".
Under UK law, that sounds more like manslaughter than murder. Intention is what matters.
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Re: Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Dec 03, 2011 9:49 pm

I intend to vote out the current administration at the next Election.

Electoral Law requires a majority of Voters to concur, so may I request a little help from those of similar intention?
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Re: Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

Post by Phil Hornby on Sat Dec 03, 2011 9:59 pm

I am tempted to do the same - , but by the time we are due to vote what happens if one finds that they have sort of grown on one...? :affraid:
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Re: Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

Post by Guest on Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:13 am

witchfinder wrote:
RockOnBrother - If we were to get rid of every potential murderer…

I do not advocate ridding the planet of potential murderers; I advocate ridding the planet of murderers. Social science principle: The best predictor of future behavior is prior behavior.

witchfinder wrote:
… then the world would be devoid of all human life, because you and I are potetial murderers, as is everyone.

And yet neither you nor I have murdered. Neither has everyone.

witchfinder wrote:
A great many murders are carried out by people who never thought they could possibly ever committ such an act, a fit of rage, an episode of anger, a mistake, an accident, "I only meant to hit him".

Murder in my jurisdictions (two at any given time) is defined as intentional illegal homicide with malice aforethought, which would eliminate your scenarios for consideration as murders. You’re describing voluntary manslaughter, intentional illegal homicide with malice (but no aforethought), or, if no malice, possibly a lesser manslaughter offense.
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Re: Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:40 am

Murder is one of the few remaining illegalities that will ensure you the undivided attention of the London Metropolitan Police. They are otherwise much too busy playing Cop Politics.
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Re: Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

Post by True Blue on Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:19 am

RockOnBrother wrote:My unwitting comrade in revelation, you’ve opened the door that I’ve been wanting someone to open on this forum since March 2011. If you were alive and cognizant of (to Aussies) world events at the time, you know that Black Americans, Black Men, Black Women, all uppercase intentional, stood tall and strong against and for liberty and justice for all during the turbulent 1960’s. I was there.

I was one of the Black Men. I willingly sacrificed in ways unthinkable to young men of the 21st Century. Moreover, my friend, I rubbed shoulders with giants, one of whom, in the words of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg in 1863, “gave the last full measure of devotion” to “that cause” exemplified by the words of Bobby Seale, “All Power to All People.”

Through the 1970’s, 1980’s, 1990’s, and 2000’s, I remained one of those Black Men. In 2011, I still remain one of those Black men.

One uncle, the bravest human being of either gender and any ethnicity I’ve ever personally met, got blown off a hill at Anzio by German 88 mm fire trying to save the second soldier in five minutes; had he not landed on the soldier’s body after the fall, my uncle would have died. Although his job required him to stay behind (US Army regulations), he always went into harm’s way with is soldiers.

My uncle received the Purple Heart and Silver Star for his actions hat day; he mourned for the rest of his life that soldier he tried to save whose death saved my uncle’s life.

Had I ever wavered in standing tall and proud for liberty and justice for all, I would have had to look my uncle in his face and explain to him why his nephew backed down in the face of evil.

I am not of war. I am of peace... I was a child of the 70s, a teen of the 80s, becoming an adult in the 90s. I have no personal understanding of what it is to live through depression and war as older folk do. Even the Iraq conflict was completely removed from my reality as just another live tv presentation, albeit rather spectacular. I did not know the civil rights movement beyond powerful words on pages. I have not had a hard life from that perspective of wars waged and rights defended if that were judged the only perspective.

I am of the new societies forged after the war... of the 'sex sells', 'greed is good', 'party hardy' set. In those years people proud became consumers swayed by marketing and publicity, 'wag the dog', specialist. My era is known for the biggest PR stunt eva! The alpha set thought to blow the largest bubble recorded in history, bringing everyone along for the ride smiling in awe at the bubble's magnificence and succeeded. Truly epic 'guinness book of records' stuff. (Which just goes to show... what governments need now that they have decided to try for the largest bubble eva... is a good PR Company who will get the people on board. Very Happy )

It was a heady era of freedom, but like all delicate and flimsy bubbles, it burst. Debt outweighed cash flow, the party was over and host won't clean up the mess. This coincides with the end of my early years and the dawn of my middle ages. At this precipice, I see the season of war has just begun as often follows a great boom bust cycle. And just like WW1, diplomats are jostling into position according to the whims of their governments, who in their turn pounce upon the next move blindly. (The US is already in the midst of a currency war with China. There's something fishy going on with Western/ Iranian relations and then there's the Muhammadization of the East as well as the increase of defensive manoeuvre's globally and stocking of munitions... so it goes.)

I wonder will this be a pointless war like WW1, or will a villain or two rise to the occasion so that the Military Industrial Complex can say with all honour and pride, that 'those men' (who are trained, killing machines) fought a cause?

Most likely it will be an era of wars given an overarching name... Will it be the War on Terror perhaps? The War on Drug? Or maybe, Operation Islam is Bad, to be fought in the Pacific and the East? Laughing

Then again, with populations reaching critical quickly, a culling war seems necessary in an ugly kind of way, so what does it matter if their is a cause or not? Shocked

I apologise for cynicism in this post... the world made me this way. Embarassed

Edited, RockOnBrother wrote:One of the lullabies sung by me to all of my children.

Oscar brown jr
BROWN BABY LYRICS

Brown baby brown baby
As you grow up I want you to drink from the plenty cup
I want you to stand up tall and proud
And I want you to speak up clear and loud
Brown baby brown baby brown baby

As years go by I want you to go with your head up high
I want you to live by the justice code
And I want you to walk down freedom's road
You little brown baby

So lie away lie away spleeping lie away singing
Lie away sleeping lie away safe in my arms
Till your daddy and you mama protect you
And keep you safe from harm
Brown baby

It makes me glad you gonna have things that I never had
When out of men's heart all hate is hurled
Sweetie you gonna live in a better world
Brown baby brown baby brown baby

Perhaps you know me bit better. I hope so.

You're an Idealist and I am only sometimes. On the matter of raising children, I still maintain that we should not be beating disobedience out of a child. I appreciate that it did not stop you acting freely to pursue what is right and just during the days of war and civil rights. On the other hand I have to wonder if it really is civil disobedience to rally against the abuse of justice and civil rights? Surely it is not civil disobedience, but rather civil uprising against injustice.

True Blue wrote:There are ways of teaching children that appeals to the universal morality of goodness so that correcting disobedience is less violent, negative and fear ridden.

One practitioner of this ideology had a son that habitually disobeyed the father. The kid was a good king, never malicious, just hard-headed and disobedient when he felt he wanted to explore. Kind of like me at three and a half years old.

One thing the son would do was play in the driveway while vehicles were moving thereon. His dad did as you advise, using verbal correction, eschewing anything “violent, negative”, or “fear ridden.”

[...]

The son, who had repeatedly been verbally admonished to not play in the driveway while vehicles were moving, died instantaneously when his father backed his pickup truck over his son’s body.

Tragedy happens and it is always very sad so I am very reluctant to use personal tragedy in an argument. Suffice to say, at times when a child is endangering their life, it is wise to link that danger with shock and pain... such as a sharp smack on the hand... but not a beating... never a beating.
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Re: Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

Post by Guest on Wed Dec 07, 2011 3:37 am


The “Military Industrial Complex” is an existent red herring. Long before the onset of sufficient inter-global infrastructure upon which to “hang” this red herring, there were “wars and rumors of wars” (quote from the 1st Century AD). Since I’ve been cognizant, there has also always been righteousness, unrighteousness, and those who embrace one or the other.

There’s a personal test that I apply to m actions: If everyone were to do as I do, what would the world be like? One example; since June 2009, I’ve boycotted the David Letterman weeknight show because of a series of comments made by him which, to me, disrespected two teen-aged girls whose parents have put themselves in the national, and perhaps, global spotlight. If everyone were to do as I do, Letterman’s ratings would sink so low that advertisers would top buying time, and the network would contract with someone else to fill that time slot.

That’s about all that on person can do, but one person can do that, and one person need not seek the approval of the Military Industrial Complex to do so.

Iran is owned by evil men (it’s a male’s only club) who practice and live unrighteousness, and would, I believe, visit unrighteousness on another country if they could solely because the residents of that other country are, of a particular ethnicity/culture no to their liking. No Military Industrial Complex created that reality, although I’m sure there are some industrial arms manufacturers that wouldn’t hesitate to make a profit from any ensuing conflict. But they don’t make world conflict; they simply feed off of it. Note, however, that everyone who makes armaments is not a bottom feeder, just as in any endeavor in which profits, the fuel of world economy since time immemorial, are generated.

On another topic upon which you’ve commented, a question: How much do you love your son or daughter? Do you love him/her enough to no only beat him/her, but to put him/her in the hospital whilst you turn yourself in to the authorities, if that’s what it would take to save his/her life?

I was frightened out of my wits decades ago when I saw a certain three year old boy run into the street in a fit of joy. No cars were coming, that time, and I knew that I was going to do whatever it took to make that time the last time that he ran into the street helter-skelter. If you dodge a bullet once, don’t put yourself in the line of fire twice to see if you can do it again.

I’ll leave it to you to ascertain what I did, and I’ll tell you that this certain three year old boy is now a grown man who stands up tall and proud, speaks up clear and loud, and lives by the justice code.

Thank you for posting OBJ’s words. Oscar Brown Jr. was a poet/musician from Chicago who died in 2005. Click here to read the wiki article.

Here’s another song:


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Re: Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Dec 07, 2011 11:12 am

O tempora! O mores!

Other times, other customs. A few hundred years ago, life was nasty, brutish and short. A man could be hanged for stealing a loaf to feed his children. Debtors were thrown into Prison, which did not assist them in earning money to repay their debts, and workers who dared unite against their grasping employers were transported to Australia, or in trivial cases criminals were encouraged to populate the new Colony of America.
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Re: Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

Post by True Blue on Wed Dec 07, 2011 11:48 pm

RockOnBrother wrote:On another topic upon which you’ve commented, a question: How much do you love your son or daughter? Do you love him/her enough to no only beat him/her, but to put him/her in the hospital whilst you turn yourself in to the authorities, if that’s what it would take to save his/her life?

I was frightened out of my wits decades ago when I saw a certain three year old boy run into the street in a fit of joy. No cars were coming, that time, and I knew that I was going to do whatever it took to make that time the last time that he ran into the street helter-skelter. If you dodge a bullet once, don’t put yourself in the line of fire twice to see if you can do it again.

I’ll leave it to you to ascertain what I did, and I’ll tell you that this certain three year old boy is now a grown man who stands up tall and proud, speaks up clear and loud, and lives by the justice code.

I forgot to mention that I am a mother of grown children and never had cause to beat them. I'm speaking from experience also. My children grew to be very decent adults which I am proud to call my own. They are kind, thoughtful and mindful of consequences. Of me they say I was strict but fair in my parenting.

So no... I can never envisage a time where I would need to hospitalize my children and be charged with violent abuse in order to save their lives.
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Re: Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

Post by Guest on Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:08 pm

RockOnBrother wrote:
… a question: How much do you love your son or daughter? Do you love him/her enough to no only beat him/her, but to put him/her in the hospital whilst you turn yourself in to the authorities, if that’s what it would take to save his/her life?
True Blue wrote:
I forgot to mention that I am a mother of grown children and never had cause to beat them. I'm speaking from experience also. My children grew to be very decent adults which I am proud to call my own. They are kind, thoughtful and mindful of consequences. Of me they say I was strict but fair in my parenting.

So no... I can never envisage a time where I would need to hospitalize my children and be charged with violent abuse in order to save their lives.

Please look at, either in person, via a photo, or via memory, one of your grown sons, or daughters if you’ve no sons, Can you envisage your son, that son at whose picture you are looking right now, at three year three years eight months two weeks old (being as exact as I can) crushed under the wheels of a passing car or truck?

I can, today, as I look at his recent photo high on a mantle, smiling back, handsome as al gee out, thoroughly decent, and most importantly, thoroughly alive. If you “can never envisage a time where I would need to” do whatever it takes to save your son’s life, I suspect it’s because your son never needed extremes measures to ensure that his life would be preserved.

As for hospitalization, I watched on television as a grown male held staff and students hostage at rifle-point because he was mad at his wife, one of the staff. My son, the same one who never ran into the street again, asked me, “Where’s his father?” I said, “Why do you ask?”, and he said, “Because his father ought to be there volunteering to go inside the building and bring his son out, in one piece or in need of hospitalization.” His point was that a son’s decency is has father’s business for the rest of the time that they both shall live.

Referring back to my original question: How much do you love your son or daughter? Do you love him/her enough to no only beat him/her, but to put him/her in the hospital whilst you turn yourself in to the authorities, if that’s what it would take to save his/her life?
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Re: Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:38 pm

The Better Part of Valor is Discretion
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Re: Compared to other Western nations, is the USA excessively punitive towards its citizens?

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