Yesterday, some sheriff said that “Sandra Bland” wasn’t a model person/prisoner. Instead of getting a trial, she got killed. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Sandra Bland or anyone else (unless, of course, you are her family). It shouldn’t matter if she was Black or anything else. It shouldn’t matter if she’s a model prisoner, citizen, or American. That’s what the system is set up to determine. Good, bad, or otherwise, she’s still supposed to get a fair trial.
When a person gets a trial, it’s supposed to be a fair one. We’re all supposed to be equal under the law. Rich or poor, you should have the best lawyer you can. Justice should not depend on your ability to pay.
When a trial is completed, justice should be done. This is, after all, the justice system. At the end of the system’s process, there should be justice. Punishment is not necessarily the same as justice. Restitution is always justice.
Among other things, people ought to be able to truthfully tell who the victim was and who the criminal was.
If, at the end of a trial, the actual criminal didn’t get tried, then they should be.
If there wasn’t a victim, maybe it shouldn’t be a crime.
White collar crimes should be punished as often as blue collar ones. If the top 1% are the people who are committing those crimes, there ought to be 99 blue collar crimes and 1 white collar crime, just as a measuring stick, maybe.
Punishments should fit the crime. Not all crime requires a punishment, though. What all crimes should require is restitution.
Judges ought to be able to use discretion about sentencing. They are called “judges” for a reason. They are to make “judgements” and “judgement calls”. What they are now is a referee in the Game of Law.
Being Black — or anything else — is not a crime. It should never be prosecuted as such. Doing something is a crime, being something is not.
Laws ought to be equivalent — Crack Cocaine and Powdered Cocaine are the same drug and should be penalized the same way.
Just because a person is a man or a woman doesn’t make them better people than the other gender — not more reliable, not more deserving, not more anything.
If a person is found to be innocent after they have served jail time, they should be immediately let out. There is no process which needs to be gone through to determine if a person gets out. Criminal = in jail, not criminal = not in jail.
Even if the above changes were put into place tomorrow, there would still be a problem — the human heart. Yes, there are systemic issues to be solved, but a police officer, a judge, a jury member cannot make a reasonable decision if they view they case through an unreasonable prejudice. All prejudice, by the way, is irrational and therefore unreasonable. So, then, our justice system requires change from outside its walls and inside our homes.
One thought on “Reforming our Justice System: What It Should Look Like”
Mostly agreed. But not all (would you expect any less 🙂 )…
What is the purpose of the justice system? If you answered “to punish crime” or “to issue justice”, you are incorrect. Those are the methods used to accomplish its *real* purpose – to PREVENT crime (by giving consequences).
Therefore restitution, in my opinion, is never enough. If I steal $10 (or the equivalent in merchandise) and I’m caught, returning it will only make me steal again and hope I don’t get caught next time! If you want to make the case that only 10% of thefts are caught, and your restitution should be increased to make up for the other 90% of thefts (i.e. stealing $10 means you repay $100), I could listen to that.
Another BIG problem is the delays inherent in our system. As Pavlov can tell us all, the consequence has to be immediate or the person will never learn that the crime is a bad behavior.
And I would also say that doing cocaine is a crime with no victim (only yourself) so based on your logic I think we could agree it should not be punished. Feel free to clarify if I’ve misconstrued your position.
And in order to make the justice system more fair, I might also be able to be persuaded that defense attorneys should be appointed to cases by the state exactly the same way that judges are, so everyone has an equal chance of getting a good or bad attorney.
One more thing. I abhor “mind police”. I don’t care WHY you committed a crime – whether it is hate or not – a crime should be a crime, but you should be able to think whatever you think.