Punishments for virtually all crimes (either against property or against people) should be denominated primarily in terms of money rather than prison time, hours of community service, or other methods. Property crimes would be the easiest to denominate in terms of money, but scores of crimes against people could also be denominated in terms of money as well as given additional penalties, if needed, such as prison time. However, prison time should be primarily reserved for criminals who pose a significant threat to the safety of people.
Nevertheless, whenever the punishment for certain crimes are stated in terms of monetary fines and/or prison time or whenever the courts or criminals are able to choose between serving prison time or paying a fine, the amount of the fine should always be at least roughly equivalent to the amount it would have cost to incarcerate the criminal in prison. For example, when the violation of a certain law says that the penalty imposed could be a fine as well as jail time, it is often the case that the fine is a ridiculously small amount compared to the amount and cost of prison or jail time. For instance, it is common for the fine to be $1,000 and for the jail time to be months long, such as three or six months. This is ridiculous. It can easily costs about $1,000 every week to house an individual in prison. If anything, the fine should be set at the higher amount so that the government would not end up spending more on housing the prisoner than what it would get from the levying of the fine. Even if the courts choose to impose only either the fine or the prison time, but not both, the amount of the fine should be directly related to the length of imprisonment and roughly equivalent to the cost of such an imprisonment.0 Comments
Penalties for crimes should generally not be influenced by where the crime was committed, whom it was committed against, why it was committed, or where the case is tried. In other words, there should not be a separate category of crimes, such as ‘hate crimes’ with punishments that are automatically higher than ‘regular’ crimes. Also, trials held in state courts should not, as a matter of statute, yield different penalties than those same crimes tried in federal courts.0 Comments
Every male sex offender including male and female trafficker, including a first time offender, responsible for a clearly and undoubtedly unauthorized intimate sexual violation or trafficking of another person ought to be castrated and made impotent. They should never again be allowed to produce offspring. Castration (of either one or both testicles, depending on the severity of the crime), would dramatically reduce the natural sexual urge, though testosterone level could be artificially increased through medication. Perhaps, for these people, or at least the more violent ones, it should be made a crime for them to purchase and/or consume any testosterone drugs.
Of course, the above punishments would be in addition to the formulas and calculation used to determine the normal financial and physical (forced supervision) penalties that would be levied on criminals. These would depend on the actual facts of the case and the determination of the courts and juries.
The punishment for sex offences, as a general rule and with the exception of castration and the removal of the penis, should not be life-long. Furthermore, no sex offender should ever be barred from voting. The requirement for them to live a certain number of feet away from schools or parks is ridiculous and only makes finding a place for them to live much more difficult.
Consensual sex with underage people should not be classified as a sex offense. It should still be punished, but nowhere near the degree to which other more significant sex crimes should be punished.
‘Victimless crimes’ such as viewing anonymous child pornography or ‘accidentally’ engaging in indecent exposure (such as during public urination) , while still a crime, should not be categorized as a ‘sex offense’ using its commonly understood usage by the public (namely forced sexual acts with another person).
There appears to be significant irrational public fear regarding any individual who has ever been convicted of a ‘sex crime’, as if they are all equal. Because of public pressures over the years and emotional initiatives placed on ballots, the laws regarding punishments to this class of offenders have gone over the top, resulting in exaggerated punishments that have caused the lives of many convicted offenders to be permanently ruined beyond what should be deemed fair. The pervasive nature and often permanent punishments imposed have caused many of them severe residency and employment hardships. Such prospects are not conducive to their rehabilitation.0 Comments
Criminals’ punishment should include, as much as possible, work or service in the area, field, or scope in which the crime was committed. For example, if a person steals money from a dependant elderly person, that criminal should be sentenced to work for the police or other organization that works to solve and prevent crimes against the elderly. Or if a person wrote graffiti, that criminal should be sentenced to clean up or remove graffiti from a certain area or for a certain length of time. People who litter should be required to pick up litter, etc. (May 13, 1999 LA Times)0 Comments
All lawbreakers, regardless of how small or how big the crime, should be required to take educational courses designed to explain to the lawbreaker or criminal why what they did was wrong, why the law that prohibits what they did exists and how it came to be, and why that law should be respected. The courses lawbreakers and criminal would be required to take would depend on the type and severity of the offense and would be in addition to any fines levied. All this should apply even to people who get traffic tickets. For example, if somebody gets a ticket for passing a red light, as part of their punishment, they should be required to take a course in traffic signals that explains, among other things, how they work, how the lengths of green, yellow, and red lights are determined, etc. Ticketed drivers should also be taught all the relevant statistics concerning violations of whatever traffic law they broke (in this case it would be statistics concerning the number of people killed or injured as a result of red lights being run, amount of property damage, per capita calculations, etc.). (Much of this basic road infrastructure information and victim testimonials, etc., should be taught in driving schools anyway.)
Criminals should be taught in detail, even shown videos, about how their crimes (or types of crime) can or have affected both the victims of the crime, their families, others in society, and even themselves. All kinds of statistics related to that offense should also be taught. Criminals should be educated with how other countries and societies and even how at other times in history criminals, or merely accused criminals, were treated by both law enforcement authorities and the general population. One of the goals should be to get to the point where criminals themselves appreciate both the humane and rehabilitative natures of modern criminal justice systems.
Criminals should be encouraged to apologize to the victims without expecting anything in return, much less good will from the victim or their families.
Criminals who do not have marketable skills should be required to take courses to develop one.
Criminals and all other lawbreakers, even traffic violators, should also be educated as to what exactly they need to do to resolve their matters quickly and efficiently. For example, every traffic ticket or other legal infraction or criminal papers that are handed out to lawbreakers, should include a clear set of sufficiently detailed instructions on how to resolve the matter quickly and efficiently. Maybe such papers should always have a telephone number that people could call to have any related questions answered.
Criminals must begin paying the government immediately since the government paid the victims immediately. Governments are the entities that should bear the responsibility for searching for, bringing to justice, and billing the responsible criminals. Criminals would be liable to pay the government all direct costs (namely, restitution), indirect costs (which include investigative, court, detention expenses, etc.), and the punitive multiples (the actual penalty component of this punishment) at an interest rate equal to the rate of inflation.
The major assets of suspects should not be allowed to be sold, given away, or otherwise transferred out of their ownership until a verdict of innocence is declared. This is to prevent the preemptive shuffling away of assets in order to avoid having them confiscated to pay criminal expenses.
Juveniles convicted of crimes should generally be punished in the same way as adults. Their penalties (at least the financial penalties) should not be lower just because they are juveniles and they would be required to be paid under the same terms as required of adult financial penalties. Parents (as would absolutely anybody in society be able to do for absolutely any criminal) could pay or help pay off these penalties to avoid the need to pay accruing interest, but that would be up to the juvenile to decide how and when to pay.
Perhaps juvenile jail sentences could be moderated compared to adult sentences for equivalent crimes. Parents should obviously be charged with a crime (i.e. being as accessory to the crime, reckless negligence, etc.) when there is evidence to prove that parents knew or should have known that their child was about to commit a crime and did not do enough to try and prevent it (namely, notify authorities).0 Comments
One way or another, criminals must be required or forced, if necessary, to pay off all costs associated with their crimes.
Suspect’s Assets Frozen Until Determination of Guilt or Innocence
When a suspect is arrested, a restriction should be placed on the transfer of ownership of all significant assets to any other person, unless approved by a judge. This is to preserve any assets that may be potentially needed in order to pay for this crime for which society has not yet determined his guilt.
Criminals Negotiate Payment Plan With Government
As soon as a criminal is convicted, the government would enter into negotiations with the criminal and try to develop a payment plan that would pay off all these bills in a timely manner, but without kicking the criminal into homelessness or unsustainable poverty and still retaining the criminals’ rehabilitative desire and prospects.
A criminal having sufficient assets could fulfill their obligations immediately. Or if a criminal has a decent job that the government feels will suffice to pay off these criminal expenses in a timely manner, and if the government ‘trusts’ the criminal to honor his debts, then the government should let the criminal go free on the condition that timely payments be submitted.
Trusted Criminals Are Set Free; Others Are Supervised to Various Degrees
If the government doesn’t ‘trust’ the criminal enough (i.e., thinks the criminal is a public safety risk or might somehow escape from his obligations), then the government could impose any of various levels of supervision on the criminal, ranging from remote supervision, like requiring them to call a monitoring office every day or wear a tracking device, to 24-hour imprisonment.
Though negotiations between the government and criminals would determine the actual repayment plan, the following could serve as general guidelines. Within a month of conviction, the government would have the right to immediately confiscate some or all ‘luxury’ items (luxury boats, jet skis, collectibles, cable TV subscriptions, etc.) as the first step to paying off these debts, unless the criminal can prove that he could pay off these debts within one year. If a significant portion of the debt still remains or is very likely to remain, after one year, the government would have the right to confiscate all non-critical assets (those which are not needed to preserve the criminal’s most basic living conditions) in order to pay off these debts.
If the criminal has been sentenced to prison for a long time (such as for over 5 years), the government would be entitled to liquidate all of the criminal’s assets to pay off their criminal debts. Even if full payment (including paying-forward) for all costs associated with a crime has been made by the criminal, the full prison sentence should still be served.
Every criminal in prison would be provided with job opportunities to help them pay off their debts. Because government is the social institution responsible for both creating and enforcing the laws that the criminals have broken, governments should have priority over the utilization and employment of prison labor and the labor of others under government detention or supervision programs while private and non-governmental interests should be second. The commission of every crime represents an offense to the government, thus entitling it to some form of compensation. Perhaps one of the main employment opportunities for prison labor should be the sorting and preparation of wastes for recycling. Such sorting could take place on or adjacent to prison grounds or at any adequately supervised location. These jobs could provide the prisoners with at least a minimum wage job and the government with low-wage labor. Criminals could also search through a government database listing jobs dealing with aesthetic pollution or other small non-critical jobs aimed at making civilian infrastructures more pleasant to look at and use. However, there are perhaps hundreds of other possible jobs that prisoners could perform.
Anybody (such as family, friends, even strangers) could feel free to come and perform work on a criminal’s behalf, in order to help that criminal pay off his debt faster. Such people could also either donate directly towards payment of the criminal’s debt, could join the prisoner (if the prisoner approves) and work along side him or could just do some other similar government-offered job in any other location but must contribute the earning towards the prisoner’s account.
Convicted criminals also have the option of using any of their possible criminal talents to augment the effectiveness of law enforcement, and be paid to do so. By using their talents and connections with other possible criminal friends, such convicted criminals could both inform the government of more effective methods of enforcement against particular criminal behaviors and provide law enforcement with information that could be used to apprehend other suspected criminal friends.
They could also possibly be compensated for helping prevent possible future crimes from occurring. As part of their work, convicted criminals who have been placed in prison could possibly be released back into their communities for purposes of gathering information on other criminal activities. These convicted criminals would be compensated just as would regular informants who would turn over similar information to law enforcement.
For criminals whose sentences included a certain amount of torture, a reduction in that amount of torture may also be used as an incentive to participate with police to help reduce or solve crimes.
All criminals, including those sentenced to death, should be allowed and encouraged to sell themselves (bodies and/or minds), at market prices, for medical experimentation (non-life threatening and non-debilitating), vaccine testing, experimental drug testing, long-term carcinogenic chemical testing, psychological testing, organ selling, nuclear radiation exposure (possible clean-up operations), etc. In some cases, to attain information that may not be attainable through other, more conventional means, individuals sentenced to death (and any other criminal volunteers) could be required to undergo a short period of torture for a maximum of half an hour, provided the individual is not in extreme pain for over 5 minutes. Death penalty convicts could also be trained as bomb disposal or defusing technicians or other life threatening tasks. They would be compensated generously and would be able to make large progress towards paying off their debts. If they die in the process, that would be the risk they have chosen to take. Each activity would pay the criminal a different amount for his services as a human test platform. In return, the criminal would earn more money which he must use to pay off his direct, indirect, and punitive debts.
Often times, a criminal or criminal entity (such as a business) will not be able to pay for the total direct, indirect, and punitive costs of their crimes, even if they are forced to work their entire lives, in which cases they still must be forced to work their entire lives. In these cases, the government, who has already paid these costs to the victim, will then need to absorb this loss. Since the government is ultimately responsible for creating a safe society, the commission of a crime represents the government’s failure to perform its purpose. Therefore, it should be the government, rather than the victim, who should bear a loss when it comes to paying for crime.
In cases where a criminal dies before his financial obligations are fulfilled, such criminals would have all of their assets pass to the control of the government and liquidated in order to fulfill their financial obligations. Any remaining assets (or special items which the government deems more proper to pass on to the criminal’s spouse or other willed party) would be distributed according to a will or other legal document or convention, as usual.
The government should have the right to prevent any dead criminal’s assets from being distributed to any willed party for a maximum of 5 years if an investigation is still ongoing or if there is enough suspicion of possible other crimes committed by the criminal which have yet to be solved.
A criminal who has unjustly or deceitfully transferred assets to any other party whether before or after his conviction or death, would subject those parties to potential government confiscation of those assets to pay off criminal liabilities. Liabilities could be potentially partially reduced if the parties into which the assets have been transferred would be critically or catastrophically impacted by the seizure of their total liability amount. The courts would determine what a critical or catastrophic impact would be and such thresholds should be progressively more conservative as the years go by, until, after 10 years, the assets would be virtually untouchable by the government.
If a victim dies before being completely compensated for a crime committed against him/her, the criminal would still be required to fully pay his obligations (direct costs of the crime and punitive penalties) to either the next of kin to the victim, close friends (either at the time of the crime or at the time of death), or to whomever parties the victim has willed his/her property. Blood relationships may be superseded by relationships held between the deceased victim and his friends, caretakers, etc., if it could be shown that these people were more close friends than family members. (Perhaps a standard question in will documents could address this eventuality.)
If nobody can be found that is sufficiently ‘close’ to the deceased victim to receive part or all of the awarded amount, then the award or remaining portion thereof would be evenly divided and placed into the general funds of each level of government (city, county, state, federal) in which the crime took place (unless members within that level of government were involved in committing, aiding, covering up or protecting the perpetrators of the crime).
If both the victim and criminal have died more than 5 years before a link is established between the two, the criminal’s estate would owe nothing and the victim would not be entitled to a punitive award. However, the victim’s spouse, relatives, or close friends perhaps may be entitled to some compensation of the direct costs of the crime depending upon the particulars of such a crime, specifically how much such people may have suffered as a result of the victim’s suffering.
The following example may help illustrate how this kind of criminal justice system would work. If a criminal steals a $200 bicycle parked on the sidewalk, the government should be required to compensate the victim within a reasonable period of time (like within 3 months of the occurrence of the crime) with $200 times a multiple of perhaps 2, making the total compensation amount $400. If the criminal is caught, tried and found guilty, the criminal would be required to repay the government the $400 it gave the victim. In addition, the criminal would have to pay all court, investigative, detention, and possibly other costs associated with processing the crime and the criminal through the criminal justice system. (Let’s assume such charges add up to $2,000.) If the criminal confronted and threatened the bicycle owner with harm during the theft, a multiple of 5 could be applied bringing the net crime bill to $1,000 ($200 x 5 = $1,000 net crime bill, plus $2,000 court costs = $3,000 total crime bill).
If it is revealed that a person lied about his $200 bicycle being stolen after he parked it outside a store, and after the courts awarded him compensation for the bike plus a multiple of 2, then that person would be charged with the theft of $400 ($200 x multiple of 2 = $400). His penalty would then be $400 plus a multiple of this amount, which would depend on the particulars of the case, and any additional administrative, court or other costs. Assuming the courts settle on a multiple of 3, this fraudulent ‘victim’s’ bill would come out to $1,200 plus any additional administrative costs. If these additional costs add up to $2,000, then the ‘victim’ would have a bill for $3,200.0 Comments
No criminal should be allowed to personally profit from any book, movie or anything else based in any way on the crime. That is, all profits from such revenue generating activities should first go towards paying off the victims and all other costs associated with the crime. After all these expenses are fully paid, all additional profits should be evenly divided among all the levels of government in whose jurisdiction the crime was committed (federal, state, county and city).0 Comments
Criminals should be encouraged to apologize (either in writing, verbally, or perhaps both) to the victims without expecting anything in return, much less good will from the victim or their families.
Apologies should only be given by people who actually did the wrong thing for which they are apologizing. Apologies should be allowed into courts without any restrictions, assumptions, implied meanings, etc., being connected with the apology or derived from it. The jury should interpret an apology and everything else that is presented, in any way it sees fit.
If a criminal does not wish to apologize, his/her fine should be increase slightly and they should be forced to write something meaningful to the victim or victim’s family so that the criminal will get a sense that the person or family he harmed is real. (May 13, 1999 LA Times)0 Comments
People should be required to take medications, especially for psychiatric disorders, if by not taking those medications they pose a significant danger to themselves or anyone else. For people who cannot be trusted to consistently enough take their medications, perhaps automatic dispensing devices should be permanently attached or installed on or inside such people to ensure that they always receive their proper doses. Tampering with such devices or, for any other reason, habitually not taking the proper doses at the required times should result in a fine as well as in placement under more severe supervision. Such supervision could merely mean more intensive monitoring by medical personnel or anything all the way up to 24 hour incarceration.0 Comments
Once a criminal finishes his punishment and pays off all the associated debts, all restrictions that were imposed as a result of the criminal offense should be lifted and the criminal should have all of his original rights completely restored, unless restorations of those rights are very likely to lead to further crimes.
Generally, there should be no lingering punishments, such as a ban from voting, restrictions on travel, public notification of criminals’ residences in neighborhoods, etc., unless such restrictions are absolutely necessary and their intended purposes cannot be met in another, less permanent way. Some punishments with permanent effects, like castration, for example, would be exempted from this requirement that the criminal be restored whole.0 Comments