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The Western notion of justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, equity or fairness.

There is no way to equally judge another human being or bring back what the violation has caused equally. The attempt will lead to mistakes and cruelty. More insidious is the notion someone can bring justice. I bring this up because the smart men and women I know (asked 40) all agreed this is why they still believe in the religion they believe in. Some cited fear of death as number 2 but all said they believe there has to be justice  from higher power ultimatey. And that this is the only solace they have in this world. They believe someone who took so much life, like a Dahmer, would have to be judged by something eternal. I said someone in war may take 100's of lives but this is judged justice because they did it under orders or for a "just" cause.

Justice does seem to be hard wired instinctual.Most social mammals show different degrees of abhorrents to inequality.Especially primates.

But essentially isn't the pursuit of real justice not possible? Calling it necessary means this will make those who deem the power to wield it, to better humanity, unjust from the beginning? Isn't justice another way of claiming superiority? Doesn't a despot in the world use it to claim there power? If we agree justice is not a noble pursuit and clearly impossible (like following the word of god), what laws or punishments should be changed or updated? How would you feel if a mass murder or child molester was treated with a kind hand, rather than the visceral feeling of gutting them like a pig and dancing in the entrails as they slowing die. I am the first to admit this sounds more like justice at a primal level. But should we be smarter than that?

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So, to take a concrete example, a famous country singer owes millions of dollars in evaded taxes. A tax court reduces his liability by half. Joe Schmoe also has a huge tax liability due to being caught in an evasion. Joe should get treatment?

nope it says the law itself is unfair that is all.

 There are many people who have had a poor upbringing who never went on to live a life of crime.The recidivism rate for convicts released from America's prison systems is very high. Now the question is- Is it the convict's fault or the system's fault that they became a repeat offender? You cannot force rehabilitation onto a prisoner; they have to have a desire to change. Rehabilitation is offered in our state's prison systems; the ability to complete your high school education and beyond is also available. Early parole consideration is an incentive for completing these courses but some still lack the interest.

I cannot see the future but I do know it would be absolutely irresponsible to allow some of our incarcerated to return back into society. Some individuals are psychopathic and a danger to society and others are sexual predators who would almost certainly repeat their offenses if given the opportunity. Some do not stop this behavior even after being locked up and the system is forced to isolate them from the imprisoned population.

It has to be realized that a certain percentage of offenders have no inclination to change their ways. Some people are just evil. We have unfortunately learned these lessons the hard way when a parole board releases someone who goes out into society and rapes and kills again.  

The system has so many flaws your not seeing anything but letting people out who fool the system or worse get out wihtout some kind of penalty paid to humanity for what they have done, when they are nothing more than comotose zombies, only doing what it takes to survive. Unaware of the diseases they harbor or that is killing them, Or how they are spreading it to the rest of us as either victims of their disease, or contracting the disease itself.

Getting a GED is not rehab. or treatment. Going to the doctor to get a pill isn't either. In some respect i want to give them what seems to be a choice and easy choice but freedom is really choosing the best path we have in front of us,. Follow this path and go here, follow this path and go here. the paths are determined by research, not by god, which is all they have a choice to follow right now. and really all they need to do is say sorry to jesus and all is forgiven which we know is bullshit and a way to stay ill.

This is treatment. and I agree the older they are the harder it is for any kind of real recovery, but I know my life changes on every road trip I take even now. Sometimes the bus ride into work becomes a journey into self discovery. Step by step personalized for the individual. all this research will not only help them but help all of society. I am just using the "justice" system as an example of making something so hallowed we never bother to look any further into it. just like god and religion.

I do not believe release I believe in treatment. big difference. Is it easier to to treat an illness then house it so it can continue to infect those who come in contact and possibly release it back on the public to continue the infection? right now we keep the diseased untreated to infect those around them so when they all "due there time" they get out to spread the diseases to more people. It's not justice because most of the real criminals as you put are victims at one point themselves. This is not setting them free. No one goes walking down the street to have an ice cream cone after being caught raping someone, but they will have to go confront the crime they committed and it is our job to support the research so we know how to explain to them what they did and what it meant and why they did it. But without the reward there is not point.

I don't think the question of Free Will has to complicate this argument. There is a range of rehabilitation outcomes that depend on each perp's "illness" or dysfunction.

Free Will or not, in most cases, one's behavior can be influenced by having knowledge of laws and penalties, and/or with proper socialization. Lack of empathy in a violence-prone sociopath leads to a much more problematic treatment program than lack of empathy in cases of autism, which are typically much less often violent.

I agree that we need to learn how to rehabilitate better for better outcomes. Even better would be to enhance one's social behavior and cultural connectedness at earlier ages. Meanwhile, to just say that punishment in general doesn't deter crime is an absurd statement. Experimenting with and investing in early solutions should work better in the long run than just pointing fingers at our post-crime, reactionary failures.

Perhaps the keyword here should be pre-habilitation?

Well if someone wants to use determinism, i like to use that line of investigation back and that is all about freewill or lack thereof. And I do think it applies here. but i understand where your going and i think it is part of the research to put in models that can help those earlier on before they commit the crimes they commit. Because everything is easier after you get what you want from it and know you like it right? so getting to them before they try will make their recovery much more likely and easier.

But then they wouldn't be in prison yet. I do know punishment deters crime for people who not mentally ill, but we all know, recovery of any kind takes, want and need, these are much better and deeper motivators for humanity. The model from this discussion is starting to become clear if anyone noticed, we all have points of view that can help construct real changes to policy from prevention, to research, to process and an treatment, and finally it would be how to determine what success is? I think we can all agree justice is not being served to any of the victims of crime right now. I think we can all agree that the solutions we have tried really only appeal to our lower base motivations, and that a new system should be researched at the very least. but how do you quanitify succes? Is it a return to society for all criminals wiht recidivation rates kept at such a such a level? or is it deeper than that?

The thing is, the problem of determinism is pervasive. For example:

Free Will or not, in most cases, one's behavior can be influenced by having knowledge of laws and penalties, and/or with proper socialization.

I love the way people kind of nod that perhaps determinism may be the case and yet they go right ahead talking as though people can take some sort of conscious initiative to change things.

Now, I'm like most people. I feel free and I believe I can change things or be different than I am. Until, that is, I really start thinking about the fact that I don't believe in spirits or souls, I believe that everything that happens in the everyday world is the product of processes describable by physics. Physical and chemical events being effects of prior events and causes of subsequent events. It's then I realize that there's no room for free will, that to believe in free will is to believe in the sort of exceptionalism as regards physical laws that religious believers typically believe in.

I can't agree more. I think the problem is most people do not get to think about this matter conclusively.

What conclusion? The path never stops. It was and is and will be. If action is attempted it is and the though of what came to make that decision was and the congress of that decision will be. We are forever in a state of time. Everything is either starting time, into time, or ending time. there is no out of time.

I agree but you have to take into account that your perception is really only about you and can only be reflected as to what you expect will come from your point of view from another individual. Even if I talk about a subject without regard to determinism it is an attempt to talk out the past in a derterminist way. I do not always see us as completely wiithout free will. Mainly because I cannot in any way shape or form really understand your experience or point of view except from my completely biased point of view. So I will make decisions from seemingly random events and can only really grasp them as random no matter how intellectually I perceive the path that lead me to that reaction and it would make me less responsive in the long run.

Even if we have no free will changing the path would already be something in our predetermined path. And if it doesn't work the lessons learned that we already learned will be used to better make us aware of the predtermined path we are on. the physical laws alwasy exist because they have to exist within the constrainst or playing field we see infront of us and interact with playing out the predefined end as it is and as it always was and how it always will be.

I love the way people kind of nod that perhaps determinism may be the case and yet they go right ahead talking as though people can take some sort of conscious initiative to change things.

I love that, too. It so much feels like I've taken the conscious initiative to write this, and in response to your response to my post before that, and... wait, so determinism makes me feel this way. Which is ok with me. (As if I had a choice.)

But my point wasn't that obscure. It's a fact that one's behavior (at least to varying degree) is influenced by laws and consequences, and other people; whether our perceptions of free will or determinism are real or are delusions is largely irrelevant to this conversation, because (one way or another) we can usually adjust our behavior based on circumstances.


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