2What we’re going to cover Criminal Justice-Retribution-Deterrence-Rehabilitation-ProtectionEntrapmentCriminal rights and votingThe death penalty
3How to deal with a criminal justice debate When you get a debate about criminal justice you need to do two things:Ask yourself what the point of the policy is?Ask yourself if the policy will get the result it intends and how?Usually it’s about the purpose of the criminal justice system do we use it to deter criminals? Take retribution on them? Remove them from society? Or perhaps we want to rehabilitate them?
4Criminal justice system The criminal justice system has three broad purposes:Protection of the publicRetributionDeterrenceRehabilitationYou will see as we go on that these principles can be applied to wider debates that have very little to do with the justice system itself.
5Protection of the public This should be fairly obvious, but in certain circumstances it is desirable to remove a minority of individuals from society for the sole purpose of protecting the majority.Examples:Some PsychopathsSome terroristsI say some because there are always exceptions to the rule, but suffice to say that there are certain citizens who are dangerous to have around with little to no chance of rehabilitation.
6RetributionA part of the system that is considered a bit archaic in recent times, but one justification for a policy might be public revenge.If the crime causes a harm to a person or society there might be some circumstances where it is useful to take retribution against them.The death penalty is sometimes advocated using this rationale, but we’ll look at that issue later.
7DeterrenceWhen people decide on an action to take they look at the risks and the rewards of doing it, this is called a risk-reward or cost benefit analysis. Would be criminals are no different, the bigger the risk the more likely they are to be deterred from doing something.On that principle you can argue that certain motions will have a deterrent effect, or possibly you might want to argue that the deterrent effect will be tiny or non-existent.Again this comes up a lot in death penalty debates.
8RehabilitationThis is probably the meat and potatoes of most criminal justice debates, if you can rehabilitate a criminal then they give back to society so it is always a desirable outcome.When you see a motion you should ask yourself how best to serve all of the people affected including the criminal.Sometimes a harsher sentence allows for better rehabilitation because you can provide counselling in prison. Conversely it can be argued that prison is a breeding ground for criminals.
9An exampleTHW use chemical castration as a punishment for sex offenders.Protection of the public –Lower sex drive and physical inability.Retribution – A harsh punishment that fits the theme of the crime, likely to be a good method of public revenge.Deterrence – Physical harm is a huge deterrent, specifically because it has permanent damage and is embarrassing.Rehabilitation – Castration can be used to control the sex drive of offenders, it is a good method of keeping their situation under control and will therefore benefit them.
10An example with a twist THW legalise prostitution. Deterrence – A lower deterrent will cause a degradation in societal values, if society deems an action to be morally reprehensible it should be able to deter people from it.Rehabilitation – The ability to hold offenders allows them to receive the correct counselling whilst simultaneously taking them out of harms way.
11Entrapment A useful definition to have is that of entrapment: Entrapment is when a person is encouraged to carry out a criminal act by the law enforcement and is then prosecuted for it.Entrapment is not the same as providing the opportunity for crime such as a sting operation, there has to be active encouragement from the police.It is currently illegal to use entrapment, however there are reasons you might give for its legalisation.
12PropositionYou were predisposed to doing the crime anyway, the fact that you did it just shows you had the intent and will to do it in the correct situation.Encouragement is the same thing a criminal would give, for example a drug dealer encouraging you to buy their product.If you do carry out the crime then the legal system will have caught you before you could do a similar crime in an uncontrolled situation.
13OppositionWhen you carry out a crime you should be punished for what you autonomously did, if you are coerced through entrapment it isn’t your choice.By doing this you create criminals, once you put a person in prison with only slight criminal tendencies they will pick up skills and criminal behaviour.
14Criminal rights and voting When you commit a crime you have a number of your rights taken away from you, such as your right to freedom. This section will focus on the removal of the right to vote.Prisoners can’t currently vote in the UK no matter how long their sentence is.This removal of their right is up for debate.
15Why should they get the vote Prisoners who are unable to vote get no control over their destiny, if the ‘free’ electorate decide to reduce living conditions prisoners can’t stop them.Prisoners are unable to consent to the government that they are ruled by when they leave, by being unable to vote they can’t consent to the social contract.The right to vote is as fundamental as your right to stay alive, surely the removal of this right degrades your value and makes you into a lesser human being because you can’t autonomously determine your future. (Rehabilitation?)
16Why shouldn’t they get the vote If a large number of prisoners got the vote they could influence elections as a group, for example it would be highly likely that prisoners would vote against the government that put them there.The large number of prisoners would see MPs who want to get elected pandering to this new demographic.The loss of your right to vote acts as a deterrent, removal of this deterrent lowers the punishment.They have broken the social contract they shouldn’t get to change it or edit it in any way through the use of their vote.
17Death penaltyTHW allow criminals to choose the death penalty instead of life imprisonment.The arguments for and against the death penalty are well known, but to fit with the theme of this training session we will group them and go over them again.
18Protection of the public If a criminal is dead there is no ability for release, this prevents the public from undergoing any further tangible or emotive harms.Life imprisonment also achieves this end but doesn’t have the downsides that the death penalty does.
19RetributionGiving criminals the ability to choose the death penalty allows them the ability to physically provide retribution to the public.The death penalty could be considered an easy way out, why should a criminal not be forced to serve out their life without freedom, surely that is a more powerful form of retribution.
20DeterrenceUnder this motion it is obviously a choice but this slide looks at the more general case, THW bring back the death penalty:The death penalty is a huge deterrent that will scare off a number of criminals.The death penalty is no more of a deterrent than life imprisonment, a criminal doesn’t expect to get caught so doesn’t consider the possibility of death.
21RehabilitationIf a criminal chooses the death penalty then there is no way to rehabilitate them, the penalty is absolute.Criminals may be mentally unstable and might have acted out of reverence to some underlying issue, the death penalty prevents us from finding out and helping them.Given the small number of life imprisonment cases in comparison to most other cases it isn’t a huge loss to society.
22Other arguments An innocent life might be taken. The trial might put them in an irrational state when they make this choice.This will free up prisons.It allows the criminal to show that they are sorry for what they have done, sometimes this is more valuable to them than life.