Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Restitution


At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements. 😉

What if criminals were required to fix what they "broke" as their punishment rather than being jailed? (This wouldn't work for all crimes, of course, so consider this as the default idea and mostly for the crimes this would work for.)

23 comments:

  1. I think it would be a better idea. Or a combination of both - jail at night, work all day for free.

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  2. I agree with what Alex said. I do agree that there are crimes that need to be punished by jail time but trying to rehabilitate them would be the better way to go I think.

    betty

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  3. I agree with Alex also.

    With wildfires largely the result of arson, arsonists should be required to fight and shovel along with the firefighters. Then they should be locked up in some sort of containment, like, say a porta potty. No, that was mean and I should not have said that.

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    1. Yes, that would work great for arsonists. Although, locking people up and making them work for free sounds an awful lot like slavery.

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  4. It's a great idea. Unfortunately, it wouldn't make people money, so it would never be enacted in this country.

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  5. Interesting concept. Sadly, there are so many crimes that can't be fixed!

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    1. Yes, this is true. It wouldn't be a fix-all, that's for sure.

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  6. This might work for a crime like arson (and the way fire kills and maims, maybe the porta potty isn't such a terrible idea) but how about scammers who bilk seniors out of their savings, just as one example - prison doesn't get those people their money back but neither would making them work in a pseudo-slavery. I don't have a good suggestion for that one.

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    1. That's why I specified it for the crimes that it would work for. There are no great solutions here.

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  7. Sounds good but how would it be enforced? I am sure a lot of the criminals don't care.

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  8. I am with Alex, make them work, yes, for free, and be jailed the other time because, if they are truly guilty( and we know there are plenty that have been innocent), they must pay for these crimes whether it be helping people or animals or helping the firefighters if they set fires. Considering the amount of land, people and animals that have been killed because of an arsonist or a dumb ass who flicks a cigarette into brush, they are guilty and deserve the treatment of working off what they created.

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  9. Interesting question. Folks who rob, breaking windows and what knot might be doable but if they shot someone or raped someone, that would not work. I personally think that they should have to pay in someway other than just jail where they have meals, health care and tv. I think bringing back the chain gang is not in human!

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    1. The system is broken, that's for sure. But how to fix it?

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    2. I wished I knew the answer to that question. I know it would take more then one person but I would not even know where to begin. I guess a lot has to do with there being way too many folks that need to be locked up or locked under the jail, no rooms in the in to house them all. Something needs to give for sure.

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  10. I am going to try to stick with the specifics of your questions. Fixing the thing the situation they created.

    In the case of vandalism, making them fix or clean what they destroyed sounds noble and I can see where the benefits could be helpful to the criminal. But the logistics of implementing this on a wide-scale would be immense. Plus, it comes down to the skill-set of the offender and the ability to pay for their damage. Let's say a group of teens are rampaging through a neighborhood and cause damage to some houses. Police oversight would be required while they are at the home doing the court-ordered repair work. Building code and municipal regulations would have to be followed as well as inspection by city inspectors. Not to mention that there are many many types of work that cannot be legally done by a person who is not specifically licensed to do that type of work. Even putting up a mailbox sometimes requires special permits. And I am sure there are many more complications I am not even thinking of.

    And personally, I wouldn't want unqualified people doing ANY work on my property. I would want it done correctly. Even something as simple as painting could be ugly if not done right.

    So then, if the person just has to go do SOME type of work SOMEWHERE to make up for what they have done, then it is not different than community service.

    This is just one scenario. There are many different situations that could occur. Personally, I think it sounds great on paper, but implementation would be incredibly costly and a nightmare to practice.

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  11. I think there would be a decrease in the number of crimes.
    Of course, it's easier said than done. But the spirit behind this idea is good. And from the practical point of view, I am sure in some cases it should work.

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  12. I think this is one of those ideas that are much better in theory than in practice. Even when restitution is part of a plea arrangement it seems like it's very rare for victims to get what they're supposed to, even when it is strictly a property crime.

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  13. You used to hear this being done with juvenile crimes. Trying to make the punishment fit the crime in non-violent offences is a good thing, I believe.

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I appreciate your comments.

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