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Should criminals convicted of non-violent crimes face jail terms?

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Old 11-20-2007, 09:59 PM
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Default Should criminals convicted of non-violent crimes face jail terms?


Should criminals convicted of non-violent crimes face jail terms?

My answer is no. Prisons are over flowing with prisoners and the cost of housing them is increasing with more and more prisons being built. Prisons should be for hardened criminals who murder, rape, rob with guns and weapons and sell drugs. These criminals are a danger or a menace to society and should be jailed. Crimes that people advocate to "lock them up and throw away the key."

However, for a person who comitted a non-violent crime, should not be sent them to prison. First of all, what is a non-violent crime? It could be a misdemeanour or a felony all of which could be white collar crime, fraud, drugs using, entering and stealing, shoplifting, stealing cars, misappropriation of information or funds.

What's the aim of the punishment? Punishment should have the goal of re-educating and rehabilitating these criminals to become better citizens and pay restitution for their crimes.

Incarcerating these criminals who are not a risk to society, not only waste public money, they also expose them to harden criminals who might beat them up or sodomise them. They may become a hardened criminal themselves.

Instead they should do community services hours.

If A defrauded B a certain amount to money, he should perhaps do the hours of work for B to pay for the fraud plus an extra which the court deemed right.

Where it is inappropriate to pay restitution to his victim, the court could sentence him to clean a public area or collect garbage. This kind of punishment should not be easy so that there is some degree of unpleasantness. This is so to teach the criminal not to repeat his crime.

For lesser criminals, they can be electronically monitored at home, or for an even lesser criminal, they could serve out their punishment in the form of voluntary work, like helping out the sick and the aged. In this way, it is a win-win situation. The criminal does some useful jobs, people are helped and the prisons are not over populated and it costs society less money than if he was put in prison.


Last edited by puresnow; 11-20-2007 at 10:29 PM..
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Old 11-21-2007, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by puresnow View Post
Incarcerating these criminals who are not a risk to society, not only waste public money, they also expose them to harden criminals who might beat them up or sodomise them. They may become a hardened criminal themselves.
Many do. In a recent TV interview a penal expert remarked that we are creating monsters in prison.

The vast majority of prisoners get released sooner or later and then society has to live with what they have become. The punishment ethic not only wastes a lot of money, it ultimately endangers public safety. Rehabilitation is much cheaper and safer in the long run, but politicians are terrified of being labeled soft on crime.
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Old 12-06-2007, 12:50 PM
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I believe that all criminals should do some sort of time. The problem is where. I have been fighting with the IRS, Social Security, District Attorney's and Prosecutors for over 8 years concerning a non violent crime. Someone stole my identity. To the tune of 400,000 dollars that the above claim I owe. I have proved time and time again the identity theft. Yet they have yet to stop her. I have spent nearly 100,000 dollars clearing my name. Why haven't they stopped her. Because she claims I stole her identity. Should she go to jail. HELL YES! Should she be monitored. NO because she has repeatedly done this to several people. She just used my money to hire a great lawyer.
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Old 12-06-2007, 02:33 PM
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We jail too many people. We've given up on rehabilitation as a society. Our juvenile justice system is broken. We our tipping foster kids and kids who got mixed up in the system out at 18 without skills or money.

Our society has problems. But I sort of think making an arbitrary distinction between violent and non-violent crimes is too simplistic. Fraud can cause far more trauma and do more to destroy a person's life than say a simple assault.

The way people prey on the elderly, ripping them off of their life savings, leaving them confused, sometimes homeless, often desperate sickens me. Identity theft is another example of a non-violent crime that can cause more lasting pain, more damage than many violent crimes.

What we've done is taken away discretion from judges and juries and prosecutors to deal with individuals and individual circumstances. We need to focus on putting good people in charge and entrusting them with the power to make change. We need to accept that sometimes, we'll have faith in someone and that faith will be misplaced (in other words, the parole type violations).

Wow, I just rambled on for way too long. It's a mess. I don't see an easy solution. But if we keep on as we're going, we'll all be in jail for something or other.
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Old 12-06-2007, 06:24 PM
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Default identity theft

Hi JavaQueen2000,

I am sorry that you had your identity stolen. Do you have any idea how she did it?

We often read about such fraud cases where people go to cemeteries and get the names and birthdays of deceased people.

I believe some one who steals such a great magnitude as $400,000 should be jailed.

Puresnow
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Old 12-06-2007, 08:34 PM
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Yes it was on check in the middle of my check book. She said she found my purse when it was stolen. 190,000 are in student loans through the government. She got her masters and phd on me.
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Old 12-08-2007, 07:31 AM
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Ooh, please don't get me started on this subject. After my cousin was stabbed to death (46 times) by her ex, then raped in front of their 18 month old daughter, you may not like my opinions. Suffice it to say, the guy was sentenced to 8 yrs, got out after 6yrs and is now trying to get custody of the child.
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Old 12-08-2007, 08:04 AM
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Excellent example of the abuse of the jail systems. Violent crimes should demand longer sentences with just consequences in a maximum security facility. Lesser crimes ( i mean non-violent) should be in a minimum security facility with an intense rehabilitation program with psychiatrists and some form of training: IE college, vocational and social training.

I was blessed to have worked at a maximum security YOUTH (AGE 11 TO 17) detention facility for violent offenders. I taught Social Skills as well as History. They had vocational training and psychological treatment. These kids because they were teens would get out. This prison ( Yes Prison ) was ground breaking. Did it work? Sometimes. The point is we try. I believe youth and adults should be treated differently due to their psychological development. But only for that reason. Adults: YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW
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Old 12-08-2007, 05:44 PM
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Hi Hotrock,

That crim who killed and raped your cousin is among those that people who advocate "lock the door and throw away the key." I am surprised that he got only eight years.

Puresnow
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Old 12-11-2007, 04:24 AM
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I am not surprised at all. I have been on 12 juries over the past 15 years. I mistakenly thought that IF you served your jury time you wouldn't be called for at least 2 years. They love teachers apparently. The worst case I was on was a pedophile who killed a three year old girl. Lock him up throw away the key. We found him guilty. The judge gave him 10 years.I was appalled that he only got 10 years when we suggested Life. Justice has a way of righting it self sometimes. He was killed in jail within 90 days. Even criminals don't tolerate some crimes. Justice was served.
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Old 12-13-2007, 08:26 PM
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Dear Java Queen,

I kept thinking of you when I read this news article. I just wonder why the department of welfare or the dept of birth registry didn't pick this fraud up.

How sad for the parents.

Puresnow

Woman who stole baby's identity to be deported
3:30PM Friday December 14, 2007

An American woman who claimed more than $30,000 in welfare benefits under the name of a dead New Zealand girl will be deported on Sunda y.

Judge Bruce Davidson said Laurelyn Smith's actions had been like "opening a coffin" for the dead child's parents.

He sentenced Smith, 45, in Wellington District Court to two months and one week in prison and ordered her to pay $11,000 in reparation. She had earlier pleaded guilty to charges of impersonation and forgery.

She had already paid just over $11,000 in reparations.

An immigration officer told the court plans had been made for Smith to fly out on Sunday morning and, if sentenced to anything less than imprisonment, she would have been taken into custody by immigration services after today's sentencing.

Judge Davidson said although he had planned to sentence Smith to home detention, he would instead sentence her to a prison sentence that would allow her to be released today. That sentence took into account the time she had already spent in custody.

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Smith entered New Zealand in June 1993 with an illegally obtained British passport.

She acquired the birth certificate of a New Zealand infant, who had died soon after birth in 1962 , and used the certificate to get an Inland Revenue number and set up a bank account.

Under the child's name she applied for an unemployment benefit and up to June 1 this year had received $30,408 in benefits .

When considering a possible sentence, Judge Davidson said he took into account the devastating effect Smith's actions had had on the parents of the dead child whose identity she had assumed.

Reading from a victim impact statement, Judge Davidson said the incident had meant the now elderly couple had felt they were reliving the saddest time of their lives.

"It's like opening a coffin again," he read.

The judge said although Smith had not previously been in New Zealand courts, it appeared she had previously appeared in the United States for fraud-related charges.

Smith will be held in custody by immigration services in Wellington for 72 hours until she leaves the country on Sunday.

She indicated through her lawyer that she would seek special permission to return to New Zealand to be with her husband.

- NZPA
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Old 12-14-2007, 12:54 AM
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How luck for her. She get to go home and be with her husband. What is happening to our world? I bet the judge would give a stiffer sentence if it was his dead child.
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