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Is your country's punishments reasonable compared to the offences?

Some countries execute their citizens for cheating or speaking their mind. Some for rape and murder. In some places you get stoned to death or *insert something*.
In Sweden the last person was executed in 1910 and you get perhaps 2-6 years for both rape and murder.

Do you feel that the punishments your country deliver are too weak, sufficient or too harsh?

  • Sep 23 2012: Netherlands

    Too soft on: murder, financial crimes (inside trading, not paying taxes, robbing pension funds, using funds of semi-public organizations for own benefit, corruption)

    Too hard on: drugs (ironically), unnecessarily burdensome regulations that make the government appear to be tough on recipients of welfare and other subsidies, while they are not actually effective, sometimes don't even have an effect in theory
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    Gail .

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    Sep 24 2012: The USA is far too harsh on drug dealers. (80% of prison population are drug users) Money would be better spent (and cost a LOT less) on treatment programs for addicts. The USA has the highest percentage of prisoners in the entire world.

    But, in a time when prisons are private corporations who spent lots of money lobbying for ways to fill their prisons, and in a time when banksters can rape and pillage the people without thought of recrimination, our prison system is all messed up.

    I do not support the death penalty, but I do support the idea of offering a violent offender the chance to painlessly and comfortably end his/her own life the night before entering a prison. Give the prisoner a comfortable room with the right equipment, and let the person decide the outcome of that night.

    In the USA, the cost of executing someone is 300 times greater than the cost of having him spend the rest of his life in jail, and the incidence of error is too great. It's a really BAD system.
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    Sep 23 2012: My country punishes most people harshly, but somewhat reasonably. They don't punish corporate crime strictly enough, and narcotics should be a legal, not for profit industry connected to rehab and support networks funded by tax dollars... So I'd let about 50% of our "criminals" out of jail straight away, and start calling them what they are "depressed poor people, who got high", and start thinking what we could do to help them.

    I'm okay with execution of convicted multiple murderers, and outside of Texas, that's usually the only type of person America kills nowadays. 2-6 years for murder, seems a bit light, but for rape that sound similar to ours and seems harsh enough. I'm a bit crazy when it comes to what I call "real law and order" though, I think murderers, should be doing hard labor, by force, same with rapists, thieves, pedophiles. I just think, those are pretty much the only people law should concern themselves with, save contract law, but that doesn't usually require any police, or punishment, just payment of previously agree upon amounts.
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    Sep 23 2012: The severity of punishments should not just be limited to the crime committed, but also the circumstances surrounding the crime and the perpetrator of the crime itself. NO...I am not advocating "favoritism", so please don't address my reply here along the lines of "the rich always get treated better than the poor". That debate has been beat to death enough already.

    What I am saying is that you can not, and should not, have a "one size fits all" punishment system.

    In my country (U.S.) that is enabled by having different classifications of the same crime. For instance, we have First Degree Murder, Second Degree Murder, Justifiable Homicide, etc...each of which carry their own RANGE of punishments. The Judge, jury, or whomever is the final authority on administering the level of punishment has a "range" of available punishments to choose from. Is that type of system subject to abuse or favoritism? Of course it is. But it also prevents the abuse of not taking into consideration not just the crime itself, but any circumstances surrounding the crime and the perpetrator themself.

    There are several crimes and punishments that don't make sense to me in my own country the way they are implemented. I can drive my car while totally sober and still be accused and convicted of being a "reckless driver". Yet I can legally consume a "certain level" of alcohol (which at ANY level reduces my ability to perform "safely") and not face punishment. Why does one action make me any less of a risk to my fellow drivers than the other?

    Lawmakers are faced with a balancing act in any society. The need to enforce laws and punishments is directly related to the population's willingness to accept those laws and punishments. Try to enact a law in my country where it is illegal and punishable to drive a car after consuming ANY amount of alcohol, and the public would go ballistic on the lawmakers and enforcers of that law.

    So...what is "reasonable"?