Ever since the beginning of time, when someone does something out of the social norm it is responded to with some kind of action, in hopes of deterring the unwanted behavior.
In the 18th century people who were believed to be “witches” or satanic beings, mostly because they went against the social norms, were hung or burnt at the stake. Today we still deal with the issues of how we should respond when someone breaks the law.
The fact that many offenders have gone on to become repeat offenders shows that our current response to criminal behavior is not stiff enough. Many of today’s responses to criminal behavior reflect the interests of public order, leaving individual rights advocates angered and looking for a change. But should our individual rights supersede that of an enacted law?
Laws are put into effect generally as a response from the public that a behavior is unacceptable. When a majority of people rule that it is unacceptable it is taken to the higher powers where it becomes a law. Therefore shouldn’t the individual rights advocates feel like we used our individual rights to speak out about something undesirable, and feel that their rights are safe? I personally am a public order advocate as I believe there need to be laws, and if they take away some of our freedoms then it is done for the safety of us as Americans. I am also a firm believer in the “eye for an eye” theory, and feel that the punishment should fit the crime, however many times these days I don’t feel it does.
Due to many people also having belief in the above statement, and the numerous amount of people entering jails and prisons, only to be released and repeat offend, the Criminal Justice System has been implementing numerous new strategies to respond to criminal behavior, and try to deter repeat offenses. Some of these strategies include; life prison sentences for drug lords, drunk driving checkpoints, habitual offender statutes, police camera surveillance, and increased policing in high crime areas, as well as increasing the number of offenses that are punishable by a death sentence.
These strategies are all in hopes to lower crime rates, and I believe it is very much needed in today’s society. I would prefer that those committing harmful, violent crimes are given harsher punishment and kept off our streets. Another positive thing I could see happening would be that those enticed to commit criminal acts would be scared straight, and would not commit hardcore crimes, in fear of the harsher punishments.
The only problem I see with these strategies is that some criminals are hard-wired to commit crimes. Many people who commit crimes get immense pleasure from the act. In these people I don’t know if there will ever be a stiff enough punishment, as the pain of punishment is going to have to greatly outweigh the pleasure they get from committing the wrongful act. In these people I feel they need rehabilitation, and treatment facilities more than they need punishment, as they may not be able to control their actions ever and it would be better to keep them out of normal society.