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Retribution or rehabilitation?

 
 
On 10 May 2012 at 2:39pm Southover Queen wrote:
Angry wrote: "Hardly. If you were hurt by that (BMW) driver or lost a love one would you support treating the driver like a human being rather than teaching them a lesson?"

Yes. Because doing anything else would not achieve a better outcome and could easily produce a worse one. And because "teaching them a lesson" rarely does anything of the kind. The statistics say so.

The better question is how I would feel if I or a loved one were hurt by someone whose previous offending had been addressed by retributive punishment rather than rehabilitation: for instance, a twoccer who was sent to a young offenders institution rather than being made to face up to the consequences of his actions. I know who I think is more likely to drive badly in the future...
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On 10 May 2012 at 2:57pm Brixtonbelle wrote:
I think Sentinel raises a very good point on the previous thread about the early sexualisation of children, girls in particular. I find it unbearable that the prevaiing view of girls and women in most media is one that objectifies them first as sex objects or putative sex objects, judged principally on what they look like or what they wear. Sadly women are complicit in this and we need to teach our daughters not to parade themselves to be looked at, and to always value them for attributes other than their prettiness. I've caught myself praising my own daughter for her looks, but have trained myself to praise her primarily for her other abilities - sporting, creative, academic etc first. The sexualisation of girls starts at a very young age and thankfully now there is a growing awareness and hopefully a backlash against it. IT DOES fuel male fantasy and I'm sure the 'I'm availabe' and pseudo porn postures that many young girls assume for photos that are then posted on facebook etc don't help.
By the way, I'm certainly not saying here that any victims of sexual abuse are somehow complicit or responsible for the crimes committed against them.
 
 
On 10 May 2012 at 5:06pm Sentinel wrote:
Brixtonbelle, you added something really important which I meant to,
"By the way, I'm certainly not saying here that any victims of sexual abuse are somehow complicit or responsible for the crimes committed against them."
I have a 10 year old daughter who is thankfully not that bothered with all this stuff on TV/MTV/Soaps etc.
It is worrying that we have allowed it to happen.
It also makes my blood boil when the media/tv/magazines/newspapers come out with the old classic:
"people wouldn't buy/watch it if they didn't want it, we are only responding to what the public want"
Utter nonsense of course.
 
 
On 10 May 2012 at 5:38pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I can't recall who posted about Grendon being like a holiday camp, but would like to point out that the reason that only those who ask to go are considered for transfer there is because they have to be committed to an intensive (and often very difficult) therapeutic process at Grendon. Some can't hack it and ask to go back to a "normal" prison.
Many of these people are victims themselves, a lot of them come from families where child sex abuse (and often physical abuse) was normal and they never learned any different. When someone is so damaged by what has happened to them, there is an awful lot of work to do before they can ever be considered safe - Grendon is one of very few places in the UK where this work is done.
I have worked with both sex offenders and abuse survivors and both are often equally damaged and troubled.
 
 
On 10 May 2012 at 5:44pm Southover Queen wrote:
The thing is that they're right, to a large extent, Sentinel: that does seem to be what the public wants. That's why the Daily Mail's online offering - which appears to be nothing but a scandal sheet featuring slebs and their cellulite - is now the world's most popular, or something like that.

There's a whole generation of young people whose only ambition is to be "famous". There's no sense that you have to have a talent to achieve this state - the perception is that you need to make a fool of yourself in front of Simon whatsisname or appear on a reality show to get there.

I think there's a real mismatch between what a child sees on the television or in their mum's magazine and the idea that we all have a value which goes below skin-deep and you're both right: it's a particular pressure on women.

I think though that the most important factor in what leads a child into danger is that s/he feels loved and wanted at home and knows that they will be listened to. If they don't feel those things they're going to be vulnerable to predators who offer "love" and "admiration", and from the way you both talk that won't happen to your kids.
 
 
On 10 May 2012 at 5:45pm Southover Queen wrote:
@ACT: I raised Grendon, and it was "angry" who responded with the holiday camp jibe.
 
 
On 10 May 2012 at 6:30pm Lord Landport wrote:
If someone killed one of my family...particularly any of my kids, my life would be ruined. I would therefore make sure that i inflicted as much physical and mental pain on that individual as possible before i terminated them and got banged up for life.
Harsh...maybe but until you've been there, you'll never know the pain it can cause.
 
 
On 10 May 2012 at 6:52pm Clifford wrote:
I'm probably about as left wing as you can get without falling off the edge of the spectrum, Lord Landport, but I have to say I agree with your sentiment.
 
 
On 10 May 2012 at 6:56pm Southover Queen wrote:
And my argument, Lord Landport, is that it would be better for your life not to be ruined in the first place and then you wouldn't have to go off and murder everyone, would you? Wouldn't that be better? All your family still alive and you not banged up for murder? Stop someone committing the crime rather than reacting to it, and everyone's happier.
 
 
On 10 May 2012 at 8:22pm Angry wrote:
Southover Queen - how does your system stop people offending the first time? Also, dare I suggest that your conviction would only truly be tested if you lost someone dear as a result of a criminal act, and I wouldn't wish that on anyone.
 
 
On 10 May 2012 at 9:56pm Deep Thought wrote:
Forty-two
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On 10 May 2012 at 10:22pm Southover Queen wrote:
First of all, you have no idea about my personal circumstances. Secondly, I'm not proposing a "system", I'm suggesting thinking about criminals, criminality and recidivism in a more productive and creative way - a way which is not based on personal conviction or blind emotion.

Locking people up in prison doesn't work - statistically. Statistically, serious offenders treated at Grendon do far far better than their counterparts in the mainstream system. And surely the best result of all would be to prevent those people offending in the first place?

How I'd feel about someone running over someone close to me is completely irrelevant, and is actually precisely the kind of thinking that gets in the way of considering where our society is going wrong. Winding yourself up into a lather about an imagined crime is a bit pointless, isn't it?
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On 11 May 2012 at 7:03am sceptic wrote:
Let all the twisted perverted criminals out of nick and visit Southover Queen. She can then make them a nice cup of tea and afterwards take them to Grendon where they can be treated and hopefully filtered back into the community as better people. I dont think so.
 
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On 11 May 2012 at 9:10am Southover Queen wrote:
Thank you sceptic. A perfect example of closed thinking in action.
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On 11 May 2012 at 12:50pm Thomas Moore wrote:
SQ. You have read my book!! However, over the past 500 years in purgatory, I have realised that Utopia, sadly, cannot be achieved. I am in the process of redacting my text in preparation for a new, revised edition entitled: "Utopia? Forget it!" so, please ignore my original and look around you at this sad world you and all humanity live in and weep.
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On 11 May 2012 at 12:51pm Deelite wrote:
Obviously not a relation of the Sceptics in the Pub brigade... most often intelligent, enquiring and open minds. Perhaps a little less Daily Mail would help?
 
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On 11 May 2012 at 1:18pm Southover Queen wrote:
Indeed not, Deelite. Also, I think a little less Daily Mail is excellent advice in all situations, personally.
 
 
On 11 May 2012 at 4:20pm Interesting wrote:
There's an interesting book coming out soon called 'The Philosophy of Punishment' by Anthony Ellis (I think) which addresses a lot of the nonsense on this thread (particularly the nonsense that rehabilitation is any more effective at reducing crime than retributive justice - that just isn't the case).
It's actually quite an easy read, so I recommend it.
(By the way, I don't necessarily think that retribution is the way to go either!)
 
 
On 11 May 2012 at 5:40pm Southover Queen wrote:
Hello Interesting! Thank you for advancing the argument beyond the ad hominem attacks which most posters favour.

I've had a google around Prof Ellis, but I can't find anything except a very expensive academic textbook. I shall await the publication of the book you recommend with interest.

I am however a little wary of accepting the view of one academic as gospel on the subject, and it doesn't appear (again based on some light googling) that his is an unchallenged view: I'm sure there's a spectrum. Also, of course, the Grendon prisoners are to a large extent self-selected: they have already acknowledged profound wrong-doing and are actively seeking help. It is of course a very complex subject and there are no easy answers, not least because one size does not fit all.

There is however plenty of evidence that prison is a repository for many very damaged individuals, as ACT said earlier. Illiteracy rates are high, educational levels are pathetic and a frightening proportion of the prison population has active (often undiagnosed) mental illness and addiction problems. It's those kind of statistics which give me pause and make me feel that there must be something beyond sterner and sterner punishment.


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