Often, when (most typically) defending criminal youth, their advocates will say something like, "This one mistake shouldn't affect the entire rest of his/her life."
What was the "mistake"? Often, it's something like one of these:

Armed robbery of a convenience store.
Assaulting a homeless person.
Driving way too fast and causing an accident.
Killing someone.
Stealing from his employer's inventory.

My problem is that none of these things are actual mistakes. A mistake is, literally, a missed take. A misunderstanding. Understood that way, none of the above crimes are mistakes.

One characteristic of a true mistake is that it involves, in part, a lack of intentionality. Consider some real mistakes:

I go around the house looking for my glasses until I realize to my chagrin that I'm already wearing them.
I ask someone how his father is doing, forgetting that his father had died.
I add 286+37,206 and come up with 37,493.
I show up at Josh's party in street clothes. It turns out to be a costume party.
I am wondering why my key isn't opening my car's door until I realize that it's not my car; it just looks like my car.

Have you ever thought about this? Do you agree with me?

Tags: mistakes

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Even when evil intent is involved? I'm talking about when the actual intent is to do harm, not merely giving their actions insufficient consideration before doing harm.

What is the alternative Unseen? Take a fucked up teen,  throw them  in a shithole of a jail for 20 , 30  years to fuck them up even more, then release them wide eyed and blinking having known nothing but prison life for their whole adult life? Then Americans  wonder why you have some of the highest recidivism rates in the developed world. Well actually most of them probably don't but they  should.

Hmm when I come to look at  it with your harsh sentencing laws for  non violent,usually non white   drug offenders, a focus almost exclusively on punishment over rehabilitation....Well except if your rich enough to buy justice in the form of really expensive lawyers. Then you can steal beers from Walmart, crash your car drunk and speeding killing 4 or 5 people and get sent to a drug rehab with horses and spa's..... But anyway. It would almost seem as if you guys had giving rich capitalists a large profit motive to keep as many people in prison for as long as possible.But I know there is  no way your government would have  been naive  enough to sell your prisons to large corporations? No one could be that clueless right?

Give me an alternative that can reliably produce someone worthwhile to release back into society. What's the better choice for society?:

1) lock 'em up for a while, attempting some sort of rehabilitation, then let them go, fingers crossed

2) firing squad

3) keep 'em off the streets in perpetuity

Ever heard of a place called Norway? You know with a 20 % recidivism rate compared to the American 60 odd percent. I wonder if that has anything to do with them focusing on rehabilitation instead of punishment?

"Recidivism rate in Norway. Norwegians tend to see “acts of extreme violence … as aberrant events, not symptoms of national decay,”  Norwegian prison guards undergo two years of training, “don’t carry guns … and call prisoners by their first names and play sports and eat meals with them,” Adams reported.

That approach — and its underlying premise that people who commit crimes are troubled who should be given a second chance and prepared to live again amongst society — can perhaps be credited with Norway’s extremely low prison-recidivism rate — only about 20 percent of those imprisoned in Norway commit a repeat crime that sends them back to prison. Recidivism figures in the United States and the United Kingdom, by contrast, are much higher — 50 to 60 percent."

If by recidivism you mean that, for example, someone convicted of assault or murder is allowed back in the world and then assaults or murders again, you find this satisfactory? A good thing if it's only 20%???

A good thing it is only 20% rather than 60% wouldn't you say? If you have a system that has been proven to work better then please share. If not I vote we go with what has been shown to work best.

I can anticipate one which would completely eliminate recidivisim for serious interpersonal crimes like gross physical assault and murder. Can't you?

Unseen,

I am against the death penalty for two reasons:

1. There are many instances where innocent men have been sentenced to death

2. Do you really want to give the Fed Govt, which recently incarcerated a man for making a YouTube video, the power of life and death over the citizenry? The potential for abuse of power is enormous. The slippery slope towards tyranny becomes more slippery with the death penalty.

I think people who've been around here longer than you understand that I will often start a discussion and participate in it to see where it goes, not because I hold a passionate position. I think it benefits everyone in terms of refining their own positions to have to confront a strong presentation/defense of the opposing position(s).

Two young boys walked a lost 5 year old out of a mall to a secluded place and beat him to death (I can't remember the names).

What would be the reasoned argument to not hold them accountable for their action?

I agree that the two young boys brains are not fully developed, but their brains have been developed to a point where they have become a danger to 5 year old children.  Why give them a second chance?  Doesn't that amount to a second opportunity to kill another child?

They're old enough to know that that is wrong.

Unless they were born psychopathic.

Unseen,

Not all people born with psychopathic tendencies become criminals. Some of them become high-functioning members of society and often contribute a lot.

Psychopathy is essentially the lack of empathy. Psychopaths, without empathy, but with a strong moral foundation, often become strong pillars of society.

Lack of empathy can also be a virtue in a soldier, who fights for a righteous cause.

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