Appropriate punishments


Off-Topic Discussions


I was going to post this in the Government Folly thread, becasue the current topic was already about sexual deviants, but it ate my post, so I thought I would start a new thread as to not further clam up BT's thread.

I was going through youtube today, and ran accross this story about John Gardener, a convicted rapist and murderer.
John was convicted of raping and beating to death two 13 year old girls.
He had a prior, of raping another 13 year old girl some years earlier.
I would assume that he served his time from the first conviction, 'paying his debt to society', and was released. Some time later, he succumbed to his urges again, and raped two young women. Now, I'm assuming that he didn't want to go to jail again, so he murdered them to keep them quiet.
Was this justice? Should there have been more appropriate punishment that could have prevented two more rapes, and then murders? Where do we draw the line for these kinds of crimes, where more is done to protect further possible victims? What do we as a society do without going overboard to prevent this?

Grand Lodge

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1. This is not the venue for seriously judging law.

2. Basing your law on extreme cases is generally not a good thing


1) Not your call, but thanks for the input.
I wanted to start a discussion to see what other OT posters thought, not start a pettition to amend the constitution.
2) So in just this one case there was a repeat sex offender? Good to know, thanks.

Grand Lodge

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You want to prevent repeat crimes... the answer is simple.

Make the penalty for every crime a capital one. As long you have a toxic society you're going to have toxic acts and repeat offenders.


I would love to prevent all repeat crimes. I would like to have a penal system in place that actually rehabilitates offenders so when they are released, they can say 'my bad' and become productive members of society.
I'm talking about sex offenders, however, not all crime. They seem to repeat no matter what. I'm not talking about 18 year old Jimmy with his 17 year old girlfriend type stuff, either.
While I think child sexual predation could possibly warrant a capital crime, that's just my opinion. But do we need to go there?


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Actually, some statistics suggest that sex offenders reoffend less than other criminals.
That may vary on type of crime though.

He wasn't convicted of rape on his earlier offense. He was on the public sex offenders list. There were apparently some parole violations, which should have been caught, but weren't, possibly because California's parole system is underfunded and overworked.


Wiki article
He was convicted of molesting his 13 year old neighbor.

Grand Lodge

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Kryzbyn wrote:

I would love to prevent all repeat crimes. I would like to have a penal system in place that actually rehabilitates offenders so when they are released, they can say 'my bad' and become productive members of society.

American society at large has pretty much rejected the concept of rehabilitation. About the only progress we can make is to stop stigmatizing the victims.


Kryzbyn wrote:

Wiki article

He was convicted of molesting his 13 year old neighbor.

Yes, that's what I meant. Not of rape, but of a lesser crime. I can see how what I wrote could be taken to mean "not convicted" instead of "not of rape".

So, are you arguing for mandatory life without parole or death sentences for all molestation cases?

Otherwise, he'd eventually have gotten out.


I don't know what I'm arguing for. I guess the first question to ask is 'Are there changes needed?'. I think so. What, though?


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Sexual crimes are often poorly understood. Like the fact that they are less about sex and more about power.

Education is a tool that has been shown to have good results, but that means spending money and not treating inmates like dogs.

The Exchange

We need more done to rehab those that can be and a permanent solution for those that cannot. We cannot tolerate protecting the monster at the cost of the innocent any longer. That goes for all crime, not just sexual predators.....


I agree that we need to do a LOT better on rehab -- sadly, our understanding of how it works is still in the dark ages, and worse, our fixation as a culture is on punishment rather than rehabilitation. In any case, I agree that prevention of recurrence is paramount. A dead rapist or murderer is 0% likely to be a repeat offender thereafter, and that is within our ability to accomplish.

I've said it before, but we'd need some better means of judging and review. Like, if we could say, "Prisoner X is Y% likely to re-offend, which would potentially include Z more victims, is Y * Z > 1?" Sadly, we're not there yet, either.

I'm on the fence, but given the conditions in max-security prisons, and the total and permanent social outcast status and loss of all rights for sex offenders, I submit that capital punishment is by no means any more cruel than the punishments we already have in place.

That said, we'd need to overhaul the laws quite a bit. An 18-year-old with a 16-year-old girlfriend, or a guy who urinates in his back yard, should not be a "sex offender" -- and most certainly shouldn't be subjected to incarceration, effective lifelong loss of citizenship, and/or capital punishment.


For drug users i recommend rehab

For drug dealers i recommend vocational training

For people that have a chemical balance i recommend medication.

But if you're raping 13 year old girls you have reached a level of crazy that we can't fix. High velocity lead injection therapy or a life behind bars.


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Dunno that I like life behind bars. For any crime.
But that's for another thread, prolly.


Irontruth wrote:
Sexual crimes are often poorly understood. Like the fact that they are less about sex and more about power.

Shash.


Don't matter what it's about, really. I suppsoe you need ot understand the motives and drives for rehabilitation's sake. If that's possible.
For people that are sexually attracted to children, I dunno that there is a cure for that.

The Exchange

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Kryzbyn wrote:

Don't matter what it's about, really. I suppsoe you need ot understand the motives and drives for rehabilitation's sake. If that's possible.

For people that are sexually attracted to children, I dunno that there is a cure for that.

They might not be curable but they can certainly CHOOSE not to act on it. if they prefer to be like an animal, treat them as such. I don't care how much they find whatever attractive, if a straight man can manage not to rape pretty girls the pedo can choose not to touch the kids.


So you think it's a choice?


Kryzbyn wrote:

Don't matter what it's about, really. I suppsoe you need ot understand the motives and drives for rehabilitation's sake. If that's possible.

For people that are sexually attracted to children, I dunno that there is a cure for that.

I know I'm going to come out sounding like a monster if I say anything otherwise, so I'll instead give this anecdote:

In 2005 I was working for a local game store. I was working on a Sunday, which was Yu-Gi-Oh day. This gorgeous young woman walks by, tailed by what I assumed were her younger brothers and sisters. Just...total knockout. 5'6", curves in all the right places, etc. I couldn't help but stare. A friend of mine, and frequent customer to the store, followed my gaze. "You know she's 13 right?" I look at him incredulously. "I know!" he says.

My point: there's a grey area. There may be no objectively, morally "right" age at which you can be attracted to someone else, though the best we can do is identify the grey area. Puberty to age of consent.

I mean this not in any way to excuse but to explain, as we were discussing understanding motives.


Kryzbyn wrote:
So you think it's a choice?

On some level it always is. Even if their brain doesn't tell them it's unethical, I think living in our society it has become plain what the consequences are. I don't imagine it's easy, any more than I imagine it requires a trivial amount of willpower to quit smoking (nicotine OR crack OR meth).


Yeah, but once you knew, did you pursue her? Wait for her to go jogging and assault her?

There's a big difference. I think the normal response should be "You're kidding!?" and forgetting about it. For some reason, these other people can't.


meatrace wrote:
Kryzbyn wrote:
So you think it's a choice?
On some level it always is. Even if their brain doesn't tell them it's unethical, I think living in our society it has become plain what the consequences are. I don't imagine it's easy, any more than I imagine it requires a trivial amount of willpower to quit smoking (nicotine OR crack OR meth).

Ok, yeah, I can see that. I agree that the individual makes the final decision to do something abhorrent, or not to.

I guess it's when they've convinced themselves there's nothing wrong with how they feel that it becomes an issue.


Kryzbyn wrote:

Don't matter what it's about, really. I suppsoe you need ot understand the motives and drives for rehabilitation's sake. If that's possible.

For people that are sexually attracted to children, I dunno that there is a cure for that.

Well, there's two types of child molesters. Situational and preferential. A situational one doesn't seek out children, but rather has opportunity and responds extremely badly to stress in their life. They're also equally likely to abuse the elderly or mentally handicapped.

Preferential will actively seek out children to abuse. They won't abuse the elderly and mentally handicapped.

How you treat the two will be completely different. Right now I don't think we have a "cure". I believe there are therapies that might be more successful with the situational abusers.

There is also learning about what causes this to happen in the first place. Our understanding of brain science has really only just started to advance. We've learned a lot about the brain, but we don't really understand it. If you think about it in terms of physics research, physics has a lot of people working in theory and another large group working on application. The people working on theories keep pushing the boundaries of what might be knowable. The people working on application develop methods to test the theories, which creates more data for the theorists.

In brain science as recently as 5 years ago, there were essentially zero theorists. So just a bunch of guys collecting data, with no one trying to come up with overall explanations that might predict future discoveries. There are now some programs that are actually trying to train mathematicians and physicists to become brain scientists, help develop theories about the brain, that can push research into a more unified direction.

It might be that the truly dangerous individuals have to be locked up until we figure out something better. I personally am opposed to the death penalty. I think anyone who thinks they can devise a perfect system should suffer the same consequences as an individual who is posthumously proven innocent with that system.


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Kryzbyn wrote:
Yeah, but once you knew, did you pursue her? Wait for her to go jogging and assault her?

No, I was dating someone at the time (whom I'm still dating). But if I were single, and she came on to me, I'd have a damned hard time saying no. Heck maybe even if I weren't single, TBH.

I was just trying to put out the perspective that a LOT of these types of crimes are consensual...with someone not legally allowed to consent. I've been there myself (my first GF was 16 when I was 18). I just want any discussion of draconian punishment to have an admission of a grey area. That this sort of thing isn't boolean, that there are degrees between "serial child rapist and murderer" to "fooled around with someone 1 year younger than you". Unfortunately, much of that grey area is treated as if it were the latter.


Solid points all around, I think.

I'm very much against "thought crimes." I don't think we should mete out punishment based on what a person fantasizes about, or else all of us would be on death row for playing D&D (which is all about fantasies of killing monsters & taking their stuff). I don't think we should punish based on possession of inanimate objects -- a guy who collects Nazi memerobilia might be creepy, but unless he's gasing Jews, his collection is his business (likewise, a guy possessing dope should't be a problem -- it's the guy who robs his neighbor to buy more meth who has crossed the line into criminal action). I don't think we can punish based on what a person is attracted to, or else we'd have to round up all the furries and lock them up as a potential risk to housecats. Irontruth's post does bring to mind this guy, though, so maybe prevention is possible.

What we can do is assess a risk of repeat offenses, once a person does actually act on impulses. And we can restructure criminal offenses so that there's a clear gulf separating rape from public urination, for example; lumping them together as "sex offenses" isn't helping anything except to spur public terror (my cousin on facebook: "Oh my GOD! I'm never letting my children go to school ever again! Do you know how many SEX OFFENDERS are in our county! I looked at the registry! I want all of them killed RIGHT NOW!").


To use a Freudian concept, it's about the struggle between the id and the ego and one's super-ego trying to traverse the delicate balance between the two. You know the saying where it's better to go grocery shopping after you have eaten a meal so you don't pick up certain foods for purchasing because you're thinking with your stomach (id) versus your brain (ego). I imagine most of us have encountered this to a degree.

The trick is to try to understand the compulsion with regard to how we address it on a sexual level as to why we are attracted to and/or show various levels of (lacking) restraints when certain situational and/or preferential opportunities are available. With regard to societal norms and/or norm violations, in a utopian society, one would presume that each individual would rather pursue fulfilling their sexual needs based on a path that would find to be the least distasteful according to the cultural climate they live within as it would bring about the least amount of grief. But that is hardly ever the case.

One of the deeper questions is whether it is biologically and/or genetically erroneous? A defect? You look toward the animal kingdom to see how certain species behave accordingly and some may act similar to us and others may not. I don't presume to have the answer to it aside from what I find to be distasteful (for myself, usually those actions that are non-consensual), but you also look again toward certain animals and note that certain mating habits, although abhorrent, are perhaps necessary in order to perpetuate the survival of that particular species.

Anyone have any good recommendations on books on the progress of such topics regarding brain science that is more layman accessible?


Kirth Gersen wrote:
What we can do is assess a risk of repeat offenses, once a person does actually act on impulses.

Ok, lets say that the recidivism rate for pedophiles is around 25%

Lets say that we're lucky and they only get 1 kid each.

That means if you line up 4 pedophiles to let out of prison that means that, at best, 1 kid is going to be abused.

Not worth it. Let the potheads out and extend these guys' stay


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Ok, lets say that the recidivism rate for pedophiles is around 25%. Lets say that we're lucky and they only get 1 kid each. That means if you line up 4 pedophiles to let out of prison that means that, at best, 1 kid is going to be abused. Not worth it. Let the potheads out and extend these guys' stay.

I agree with the larger point you're making, but quibble with the terminology. When you use the term "pedophile," that includes anyone from Jerry Sandusky on one end, to the guy facing 10 years for looking at dirty Simpsons cartoons, on the other -- and those two are in no way comparable, as far as I can see. The term really applies to attraction, not actions. And I don't really care if a person is attracted to kids but doesn't act on it -- that's creepy as hell, but not automatically harmful. It's when that person actually harms children that I want him given a lethal injection ASAP. So maybe the term "child molester" would be clearer. And even then we'd need to restructure the laws so that taking pictures of your kids in the bath doesn't legally count as "molesting" them. Again, once we're talking seriously about taking people off the count, it behooves us to make sure the damage they can cause is commesurate with the damage we're causing them -- otherwise we quickly end up closer than I like to an "I, Robot" scenario where we figure to end all crime by simply eliminating the human race.


The problem with appropriate punishments is that the effectiveness of a punishment is largely dependent on the personality of the person being punished. Different people respond differently to different punishments, and a punishment that works to deter one person from reoffending may not deter another. Some people learn from getting locked up and treated like s$$$, and try to never let that happen again. With others, all it does is reinforce that they are s!+$, and they go reoffend, because they have no motivation to better themselves. With some people, having prison staff actually work with and listen to them will get them to become more self-confident and reform themselves. With others, it's lovey-dovey b+#~%&@$ and they don't care. People are different, so why would the same punishment work for all of them?

The problem is brings this that it is not practical for the prison system to try to figure out what will work with who, because they will get it wrong a lot of the time, and people would resent different people being punished differently, especially if one punishment was seen as being less severe than others. It could be billed by many as unfair.

What this means is that there is a fundamental but almost impossible to solve problem in our criminal justice system that keeps it from being very effective at preventing recidivism.


Double murder? String 'im up in town square.

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