no third solution

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Susan LeFevre: Comments on Comments #15

May 8th, 2008

Gyakusetsu comments via Google Reader’s “shared items”, on Susan LeFevre: Retribution or Rehabilitation

Good post about restitution, rehabilitation, and retribution. I would add “reconciliation” as another important “r”-word, but like most of the others (save retribution) we fail at it as well.

One good way to spot a law that makes criminals about of people who have done nothing immoral, is to ask “who is the victim” or “who is owed retribution?” If you can’t easily point to that person (or persons or people), then it’s likely it really shouldn’t be a crime at all.

The idea of “reconciliation” was on the tip of my toungue, but I couldn’t solidify it, and I couldn’t think of any more “R” words when I was writing that post. Also, I’m long-winded enough as it is! If we think about justice in the context of setting things right for those who have been wronged, the several parties must come to an accord. Reconciliation, in the sense of absolution, an admission of guilt or an act of contrition, requires the offended party (IMO) to accept the apology, per se, and although this might be properly ethical, I’m not sure it’s necessary for the victim to forgive the offender; only that the victim be barred from pursuing further damages after an accord has been reached.

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Noting that rehabilitation is the proper role of a penal system, Dan Z who works for a correctional facility, comments on the same post:

Working now in the corrections field I can see where the retribution angle takes precedence over what should be the true goal, rehabilitation. Much of the system is petty and arbitrary with the emphasis being on punishing people for actions that they committed rather than teaching them new behaviors and rehabilitating them so they do not do the same thing…

From what I have seen so far and this is working with youth, not adult corrections, the people in the system learn more diverse negative behavior and actions while in the system than they ever would have learned outside of it. It is an indictment of the system that the recidivism rate for most prisons is so high.

Point well-taken. Aside from a well-document history of abuse and negligence, it is often said that Prisons are the functional equivalent of “College for Criminals,” because it puts them in close contact with many who have no regard for the rights of others. In this environment, they are able to trade tricks of the trade, and far from rehabilitation, hone their skills as criminals.

I’ve also always found it interesting that black markets can function within a prison’s walls! If keeping known scofflaws under lock and key is unable to prevent the drug trade among them and with the outside world, the war on drugs is an incontestibly abysmal failure.

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anna leyenaar, a LeFevre supporter links to the Free Susan Lefevre website, and comments:

To support Marie and sign a one minute petition, please go to freesusanlefevre.com

She needs your help! Your vote counts!

I acknowledge the petition, but I am as certain of the uselessness of online petitions like this, as I am certain of anything. The best thing you can do, is to raise awareness of the fundamental immorality of the war on drugs, and awareness of LeFevre’s unique situation.

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no third solution

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