If Crime is the symptom of illness...what is the antidote?
An observation for the day -
The crisis in point “Crime and punishment in the NT”
I’ll immediately give a quick statement - I do not consider Myself a lefty, righty or either of the extremes, as a father I have a deep need to understand and contribute to the world in which my children exist, in so doing I research, read and on occasion give my observations or interpretations. I’m not always right, I’m fallible like every man but I am willing to contemplate and accept the error of my ways.
The data I have reviewed- from”The Crisis”.9
The US Chief Judge Bazelon in 1960 states “we desperately need all the help we can get from modern behavioral scientists” but in dealing with the criminal law, the cold facts suggest no such desperation or crisis.
So to refute his claims a question was asked -
Since the most reliable long-term crime data are on murder, what was the murder rate at that point?
The number of murders committed in the United States in 1960 was less than in 1950, 1940, or 1930—even though the population was growing over those decades and murders in the two new states of Hawaii and Alaska were counted in the national statistics for the first time in 1960.
The murder rate, in proportion to population, was in 1960 just under half of what it had been in 1934.
“During this time incarceration and punitive measures were the preferred actions of the day.”
However, Judge Bazelon observed, the criminal justice system in 1960, and he asserted the problem was not with “the so-called criminal population” but with society, whose “need to punish” was a “primitive urge” that was “highly irrational”.
He reflected that indeed society had a “deep childish fear that with any reduction of punishment, multitudes would run amuck.” It was in his learned opinion that this “vindictiveness,” this “irrationality” of “notions and practices regarding punishment” that had to be corrected.
He observed that the criminal “is like us, only somewhat weaker,” according to Judge Bazelon, and “needs help if he is going to bring out the good in himself and restrain the bad.”
Society in his opinion is indeed guilty of “creating this special class of human beings,” by its “social failure” for which “the criminal serves as a scapegoat.”
Punishment is itself a “dehumanizing process” and a “social branding” which only promotes more crime.
(It also reduces opportunity and increases the access to negative “proximity” in my own opinion)
Since criminals “have a special problem and need special help,” Judge Bazelon argued for “psychiatric treatment” with “new, more
sophisticated techniques” and asked:
Would it really be the end of the world if all jails were turned into hospitals or rehabilitation centers?
This Data brought with it a personal dilemma between my ideology and my interpretive mind.
Incarceration and punishment have resounding evidence for several hundred years. But a lack of evidence does not dissuade a good or progressive idea.
Finding evidence to back Judge Bazelon’s assumptions has been difficult to find, although psychologist have thousands of hours of research and evidence, the subjective methods in place due to the wide variety of clientele and lack of published corrections data fails to meet societies populous requirements for legislative chance and greater financial investment outside the private sector.
Notes - I have worked in mental health as a security officer and observer. I have spent many years living with and interacting with mental health clientele and am by no means an expert, furthermore, I admit my Christian values may give me a bias towards rehabilitation.
Danielle Wilks(my wife) Opinion - Programs building self worth and self esteem along with a zero tolerance to bullying and actual consequences for bad behavior during childhood and adolescents especially in schools may actually prevent youth crime before it starts! But that’s a bit too hard for the powers that be to comprehend or implement.