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Casey Christofaris

Owner, CS3 Inc

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Tough on crime? Or is it tough on Criminal?

So most politicians at least here in America always campaign on the idea of being tough on crime. However I believe they mean the opposite and really are talking about tough on criminals. Psychologically, I don't think there is anyone in the science world that would argue that positive reinforcement works better than negative reinforcement. ┬┐Yet our current criminal system uses negative reinforcement? This seems very counter intuitive to our current "proven" way to limit or mitigate our overgrowing criminal population. Now there are plenty examples of other country's and how they use positive reinforcement in criminal intervention.

But thats not what I am here to talk about.

Lets talk about what it would really mean to be tough on crime. First it is the politicians of the world that actually truly create crime! Yes you heard me right that is technically their job right? When they create laws they are actually creating criminals. Lets take an old Ohio law that I am not even sure is on the books but I know for a fact as a kid is was, it was once illegal to fish for whales while driving across a bridge. http://www.dumblaws.com/laws/united-states/ohio I am sure some where at some point in time someone actually had to do this, it would seem silly if this was a preemptive law. In a nutshell I am saying that you can't be a criminal if no law is broken. And that a politician's job is to create criminals. Let's take it to an utopian/peaceful society. Lets get rid of all crime!! Yeaaa!! However realistically could the invisible hand of the market replace all the lost Jobs?

Lawyers 1,143,358 in 2007
Politicians http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_politicians_are_there_in_the_US ( all gone for the most part)
Judges 1774
Cops, prison workers, probation officers, case workers, weapon makers and dealers and I am sure many many more.
So how if we created a crime free utopia would we ever be able to replace these job? We don't need that many McDonalds workers do we?

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  • Jun 7 2013: Justice shouldn't be based on punishment or "negative reinforcement" as you call it. That is not true justice, true justice must serve two goals: 1) to rehabilitate (or reeducate if you will) the criminal and then restore it to society as a "decent citizen", and 2) compensate the victim, when ever possible and as much as possible. Punishment should only be applied for people who shows no signs of regret or doesn't do any progress in the rehabilitation process, how tough? it should depend on the degree of "evilness" of the criminal. It is not easy to implement true justice, however societies we call "primitive" have done it successfully for centuries.

    Politicians are reasonable people in most cases, so the problem is not having them creating new laws, the real problem is that such laws have no expiration date and that they seem to think making new laws is their only job and don't realize abolish obsolete laws is also a fundamental part of their job, that's why "dumb laws" happen, and why you can become a criminal in the most ridiculous and unexpected ways.

    Now, to answer your question, the right approach is: Tough on crime, because that translates in fighting the causes of crime not the consequences. Tough on criminal is dumb because it translates in fighting the consequences without caring for the causes.

    Finally I don't think we will ever see a crime free society, but if such an Utopian society existed may be those currently working for the law enforcement system wouldn't need to even work, who knows.
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      Jun 10 2013: I agree. The problem with this great idea of a Utopian society is who's idea would you use? For me it would more about balance. I like guns. I like blowing stuff up. It actually is a great stress reliever. For me Utopia would be not doing harm to others on purpose. And not harming others unless they want to be harmed. Seems simple right?
      • Jun 11 2013: Well, sometimes the simplest things on the surface are the most complex on the inside, but that only means more work.

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