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Criminal Justice and Deterrence

It’s Official: Child Molesters in Alabama Will Now Be Chemically Castrated

In our current system I have a philosophical issue with any irreversible punishment. Our criminal-justice meat grinder has a terrible track record of errors, and little interest in correcting them. It is shot through with bias, both against minorities in general and against the poor (who at this point are getting up to half the population in some areas). That last thing I would wish is for that system to become even more cruel. As for the, “Yes, but think of the children” response, it is a logical fallacy used to push through all sorts of violations of fundamental rights. Among other things, there is no evidence that even harsher punishments will be any sort of deterrent. Beyond that, its already the case that “everyone knows” people who enter the prison system with convictions for sexual abuse of minors are in for treatment far more brutal than anything society would dare sentence them to. If that isn’t enough deterrent, nothing is.

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