Friday, July 1, 2022
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Great American Justice: Punish or Tolerate?

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Do the ends really justify the means?
In an ideal society they would.
However, we do not live in a society that always rewards those who take that extra effort to make a difference on a daily basis. Nor do we live in a culture that justly reprimands the guilty for their most heinous crimes.
I am speaking on the correctional system in the United States.
Only in a ‘civilized’ nation such as ours would you find lenience shown towards rapists, molesters and pedophiles.
For their misdeeds, they are sent to a penitentiary where others commit such vicious acts against humanity like murderers, robbers and other violent offenders, but are given preferential treatment.
I am referring to isolation!
They are locked away from the general population because of the ‘code’ inmates have that is as follows: You can commit a crime, but you cannot mentally violate your victim through means of torture, rape, molestation or pedophilia.
No perverted act is acceptable!
So these men are in maximum-security state prisons for years to come, safe from other prisoners; all the while, their victims are forever affected by their actions.
Is this what our country teaches?
It is okay to severely punish those who take the lives of others, but give a moderate sentence to whoever causes permanent mental anguish to their victim?
Why should we be so generous in our sentencing while the guilty party acted on their own free will?
The system needs to be changed.
We should remove the moral and ethical decisions when dealing with these criminals and treat them for what they are: coldhearted animals!
Take David Westerfield for example.
Westerfield was found guilty of kidnapping, assaulting and taking the life of Danielle Van Dam.
His punishment: death.
Is this the best we can do?
A swift insertion of the needle, or pull of the lever, or gassing, and feel we have done the LORD’s work?
The man should share a cell with another inmate and interact with his peers in the ‘big house.’
He should not have his meals delivered to him in his pod or be entitled to his own recreation time, secluded from the bloodthirsty inmates who want to do the same to him as he has done to a young child.
‘Throw him to the wolves!’
Throw the convicted perverts of society into the prison population and let the convicts carry out the sentencing.
This consequence is the only ‘acceptable’ way families and friends of victims can feel a sense of true justice being served.
Some might feel this is ‘cruel and unusual punishment,’ and we are protected from such acts under the Eighth Amendment.
This is, however, not the case.
The justice system is not inflicting any unethical pain on the individuals, but rather placing them in a surrounding where others have committed crimes of great magnitude. Human nature decides what is done.
It is like placing a known cop killer inside a maximum penitentiary prison. The inmates might not have them in their sights, but the correctional officers would.
Violence is unavoidable and to take every precaution to ensure the ‘safety’ of a felon by alienating them from others who are in the same place as they are makes a mockery of our judicial structure.
It sends the message that we can commit heinous acts of the worse possible crimes and either receives a life sentence in prison separated from others, or a quick and simple death verdict.
Who wins?

Chrispin Clarke is a fifth-year sociology major.