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Introduction Exceptionally violent crime (i.e. rape and torture) poses a unique problem for retributive punishment in the United States. Prison sentencing.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction Exceptionally violent crime (i.e. rape and torture) poses a unique problem for retributive punishment in the United States. Prison sentencing."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction Exceptionally violent crime (i.e. rape and torture) poses a unique problem for retributive punishment in the United States. Prison sentencing is not adequately satisfying the proportionality tenet of retributive justice. The U.S. judicial system must _______ in order to fulfill the lex tallionis requirement of retributive justice. Introduction Exceptionally violent crime (i.e. rape and torture) poses a unique problem for retributive punishment in the United States. Prison sentencing is not adequately satisfying the proportionality tenet of retributive justice. The U.S. judicial system must _______ in order to fulfill the lex tallionis requirement of retributive justice. Criticism & Response Many would object to this extreme form of retributivism as cruel and unusual punishment, Human rights advocates may insist that such brute retributivism is barbaric and unnecessary or a violation of human rights. But maybe that makes it all the more fitting for cruel and unusual crime. Equivalent punishment is the only way to deal with especially heinous crimes of rape and torture. It is important to remember this is punishment for convicted criminals alone and could never be justified in a Guantanamo Bay setting. The justification for punishment should not rely upon our feelings, the victims' wishes, possible outcome, or effects, but o based only on the offense committed. Retributivism is not concerned for such utilitarian goals or motives. Emotional responses against such institutionalized torture are natural and understandable but are a naturalistic fallacy. Such feelings are due to our moral conditioning and cultural values, which change across time and place. The “rightness” of such a system is independent of the “ew” factor critics may experience. The only fair way to punish in a retributive judicial system is to implement “eye for an eye” theory. The barbarity of the offender's actions call for seemingly barbaric punishment upon them. Criticism & Response Many would object to this extreme form of retributivism as cruel and unusual punishment, Human rights advocates may insist that such brute retributivism is barbaric and unnecessary or a violation of human rights. But maybe that makes it all the more fitting for cruel and unusual crime. Equivalent punishment is the only way to deal with especially heinous crimes of rape and torture. It is important to remember this is punishment for convicted criminals alone and could never be justified in a Guantanamo Bay setting. The justification for punishment should not rely upon our feelings, the victims' wishes, possible outcome, or effects, but o based only on the offense committed. Retributivism is not concerned for such utilitarian goals or motives. Emotional responses against such institutionalized torture are natural and understandable but are a naturalistic fallacy. Such feelings are due to our moral conditioning and cultural values, which change across time and place. The “rightness” of such a system is independent of the “ew” factor critics may experience. The only fair way to punish in a retributive judicial system is to implement “eye for an eye” theory. The barbarity of the offender's actions call for seemingly barbaric punishment upon them. Implications Implementing torture sentencing has far reaching implications for the power of the state. It could possibly necessitate a change in the Constitution, although it’s difficult to see how it would be different from capital punishment. Questions remain about the effectiveness of such a system: what if a sadistic offender enjoys the punishment? But the same can be said about the current practice of the death penalty and prison sentencing. Many prefer death to life in prison, and others prefer prison to managing on their own in the outside world. There are concerns about the psychological state of these especially violent offenders, but these are problems that we are also managing in the current judicial system. Logistical problems about how to carry out the punishments can easily be tackled by modern technology and creative thinking Perhaps the biggest impact is the possibility of a society that places higher value on justice than human life or suffering. But, it would not exist if the victim did not have to suffer first. Implications Implementing torture sentencing has far reaching implications for the power of the state. It could possibly necessitate a change in the Constitution, although it’s difficult to see how it would be different from capital punishment. Questions remain about the effectiveness of such a system: what if a sadistic offender enjoys the punishment? But the same can be said about the current practice of the death penalty and prison sentencing. Many prefer death to life in prison, and others prefer prison to managing on their own in the outside world. There are concerns about the psychological state of these especially violent offenders, but these are problems that we are also managing in the current judicial system. Logistical problems about how to carry out the punishments can easily be tackled by modern technology and creative thinking Perhaps the biggest impact is the possibility of a society that places higher value on justice than human life or suffering. But, it would not exist if the victim did not have to suffer first. Torture and Retributive Punishment Mia Fe Morey Tamler Sommers, Department of Philosophy, University of Houston, Houston, TX Analysis & Discussion What is lex talionis? Les talionis (latin for “law of retaliation”) is a tenet of retributivist theory which requiries punishment to be proportionate to the offense committed. Punishment must attend to the severity of the crime. Although punishment must be proportionate to the crime, it is generally understood that the punishment need not be equivalent to satisfy lex talionis. How does current sentencing fail to fulfill lex talionis? Violent criminal offenders are most often sentenced to prison in the U.S. judicial system. The severity of the offense committed determines the amount of time an offender must serve. Time served becomes the sole variable for a broad range of criminal acts. This is a major limitation in the U.S. judicial system because we give the maximum punishment (life in prison) for crimes relatively less malicious than those of torture and rape. Thus, two separate crimes ranging in severity are given the same exact punishment: life in prison. Take for example, the murderers of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. Christian and Newsome suffered one of the most horrific rape and torture cases imaginable. Their captors raped and tortured them for four days before killing them. The couple was raped, mutilated, and tortured with bleach, knives, and broken chair legs, among other things. One of the 4 offenders, Letalvis Cobbins, was sentenced to life in prison for his crimes. Analysis & Discussion What is lex talionis? Les talionis (latin for “law of retaliation”) is a tenet of retributivist theory which requiries punishment to be proportionate to the offense committed. Punishment must attend to the severity of the crime. Although punishment must be proportionate to the crime, it is generally understood that the punishment need not be equivalent to satisfy lex talionis. How does current sentencing fail to fulfill lex talionis? Violent criminal offenders are most often sentenced to prison in the U.S. judicial system. The severity of the offense committed determines the amount of time an offender must serve. Time served becomes the sole variable for a broad range of criminal acts. This is a major limitation in the U.S. judicial system because we give the maximum punishment (life in prison) for crimes relatively less malicious than those of torture and rape. Thus, two separate crimes ranging in severity are given the same exact punishment: life in prison. Take for example, the murderers of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. Christian and Newsome suffered one of the most horrific rape and torture cases imaginable. Their captors raped and tortured them for four days before killing them. The couple was raped, mutilated, and tortured with bleach, knives, and broken chair legs, among other things. One of the 4 offenders, Letalvis Cobbins, was sentenced to life in prison for his crimes. Texas Learning and Computation Center Their captors raped and tortured them for four days before killing them. The couple was raped, mutilated, and tortured with bleach, knives, and broken chair legs, among other things. One of the 4 offenders, Letalvis Cobbins, was sentenced to life in prison for his crimes. Now compare this to the case of 17-yr old Lonny Bassett who shot and killed two people with a shotgun during a robbery and received life in prison. Two people were needlessly murdered in both cases, but no doubt Christian and Newsome suffered significantly more and Cobbins’ acts were more malicious, calculated, and severe. Yet both Cobbins and Bassett received identical punishments. Offenders who commit more severe crimes deserve more severe punishments. So, what can we do to better meet the requirements of lex talionis? We must endorse an equivalency-based system of punishment that embraces “eye –for-an-eye” consequences rather than settling for proportional punishment. Only “eye-for-an-eye” punishment will justice in a retributive system. Proportional punishment is subjective and vulnerable to change according to decision makers choices of which consequences best fit the crime. Life-sentences in prison are now considered proportional for a ranging severity of murder cases. Equivalent punishment is the only way to ensure fair, unbiased consequences.We must acknowledge the differences between the actions of Letalvis Cobbins and Lonny Bassett before the law. Institutionalizing Eye for an Eye Prison sentencing has reached a limitation and a new system must be developed to punish offenders such as Letalvis Cobbins. One possibility might be to employ “torturers” to carry out due punishment using the original tools and weapons, or perhaps give surviving victims the opportunity. But this would be unworkable: cruel, Their captors raped and tortured them for four days before killing them. The couple was raped, mutilated, and tortured with bleach, knives, and broken chair legs, among other things. One of the 4 offenders, Letalvis Cobbins, was sentenced to life in prison for his crimes. Now compare this to the case of 17-yr old Lonny Bassett who shot and killed two people with a shotgun during a robbery and received life in prison. Two people were needlessly murdered in both cases, but no doubt Christian and Newsome suffered significantly more and Cobbins’ acts were more malicious, calculated, and severe. Yet both Cobbins and Bassett received identical punishments. Offenders who commit more severe crimes deserve more severe punishments. So, what can we do to better meet the requirements of lex talionis? We must endorse an equivalency-based system of punishment that embraces “eye –for-an-eye” consequences rather than settling for proportional punishment. Only “eye-for-an-eye” punishment will justice in a retributive system. Proportional punishment is subjective and vulnerable to change according to decision makers choices of which consequences best fit the crime. Life-sentences in prison are now considered proportional for a ranging severity of murder cases. Equivalent punishment is the only way to ensure fair, unbiased consequences.We must acknowledge the differences between the actions of Letalvis Cobbins and Lonny Bassett before the law. Institutionalizing Eye for an Eye Prison sentencing has reached a limitation and a new system must be developed to punish offenders such as Letalvis Cobbins. One possibility might be to employ “torturers” to carry out due punishment using the original tools and weapons, or perhaps give surviving victims the opportunity. But this would be unworkable: cruel, dysfunctional and unjustifiably affect the “torturer.” The best option might be to develop machines to carry out the punishment. This may psychologically affect the inventors or factory workers who contribute to its creation, but no more than those who assist in the creation of electric chairs, nuclear weapons, and guns. dysfunctional and unjustifiably affect the “torturer.” The best option might be to develop machines to carry out the punishment. This may psychologically affect the inventors or factory workers who contribute to its creation, but no more than those who assist in the creation of electric chairs, nuclear weapons, and guns. Sentencing for Violent Crime: Murder v Rape & Torture Murder


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