Sunday, June 17, 2007

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Let's Eliminate Probation and Parole

I know a bunch of folks are going to write me some angry hate mail on this one but I am willing to take the risk. I think it is time we call a spade a spade and eliminate probation, parole, and phony rehabilitation. Let’s examine what these programs actually are:

Probation: you have committed a crime and you know what the supposed punishment is but we are not actually going to punish you; instead w will give you a warning not to do it again. If you do, maybe we will punish you the next time around. As a parent, I know full well that parents who use this method in child rearing create disrespectful brats. A legal system which uses this method of handling lawbreakers creates unrepentant criminals.

Parole: You have committed a crime and you know what the supposed punishment is but if you act all nicey-nicey in the pokey will give you a get-out-of jail-early card. Then, we will let you slither back into society and recommit crimes unless we get lucky enough to catch you this time around. Parents who let their kids out of their punishments early raise disrespectful brats. A legal system which uses this method of handling lawbreakers creates unrepentant criminals. Yes, I repeat myself.

Phony rehabilitation: Here we either allow the criminal not to be punished or be released from punishment early if he agrees to go into some psychological program. Noting the lesser of two evils, the criminal happily agrees to play a game he figures fools have put together. Parents who let their kids out of punishments by allowing them to wash the dishes or write a “sorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry” note raise disrespectful brats. A legal system which uses this method of handling lawbreakers creates unrepentant criminals.

How about treating a crime as a crime and improving one’s life as two separate issues? Anyone who commits a crime should be willing to do the time and anyone who wants to change he life should be willing to do so without the threat of doing time. We as a society should be clear that these are two different projects. Let me pose a scenario:

I tell my kid if he lies and sneaks out of the house to go to a party he will be grounded for one month. He lies and sneaks out. I find out. I can do one of four things:

1) Tell him I am disappointed and don’t do it again.
2) Punish him for thee days and then tell him I am disappointed and don’t do it again.
3) Punish him for a week and then tell him if he sets the table for the rest of the month he can go hang out with his friends again.
4) Punish him for the month and then tell him that he could use to rebuild our trust in him again, spend time teaching him the worth of trust, and then offer him a chance to do so.

Common sense should tell us that the first three are a mockery of authority and responsibility. The same holds true for criminals. There are only two kinds of criminals: those who will always be unrepentant and those who actually are repentant. The only way to keep the unrepentant from committing crimes is to lock them up or make them fear being locked up. For the repentant ones who recognize they are screw ups and are willing to do their time, let’s give them good programs which they can voluntarily sign up for after they get out. However, since we citizens and judges will never be absolutely sure which group is which until after the fact, all those convicted should do the maximum time we feel as a society they should serve and then offer real opportunities to those who want help upon release. We need to make life imprisonment a reality for those who commit heinous crimes (rape, murder, child molestation, etc.) as these creeps are psychopaths who don’t know the meaning of repentance and reasonable sentences for those criminals who might learn from their time in the pen. The criminal justice system needs to get out of the business of psychoanalyzing and rolling the dice on recidivism. Only then might we see a drop in crime and an increase in public safety.


Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

3 comments:

Ronni said...

Can I hear an "AMEN!"

Levi said...

AMEN!

I feel for the 100,000 people, who have been murdered by criminals out on parole a& probation & the 2 million that were harmed, robbed, & beaten by these parolees & former murderers.

Eric Arthur Blair said...

Some years ago, I was given two years' probation for a traffic offense. The charge was 'leaving the scene of an accident', and a pedestrian fatality was involved. After my arrest, but before my trial, I found out that I had been an undiagnosed epileptic, and had been having a type of seizure at the time of the accident which left me able to function physically, but with no memory of the event. Did I do it? The evidence said "yes" and I could not deny it.

However, you speak of "Anyone who commits a crime should be willing to do the time" as if all crimes are, in fact, deliberate, willful acts. Mine was not. I had, in fact, reason to suspect that an earlier episode may have been epileptic, but when I asked to be tested, my HMO turned me down - that simple procedure would have prevented my later seizures and saved a life. I was told, "It's probably nothing, don't worry about it." Diagnosis finally came three months after the accident, when I had what most people think of when they hear the word "seizure" - falling down, flopping around, banging my head on the floor and otherwise injuring myself.

With proper treatment for my condition, I became seizure-free. With my driving privilege permanently revoked, the possibility of a repeat offense is zero. I am told that the judge in the case personally felt inclined to dismiss the case, but felt an obligation to impose some kind of sentence and chose probation. Under the system you propose, the judge would not have had the discretion to choose probation. If you feel that I was due punishment for what happened, how would you have felt if, faced with a reluctance to send me to prison, had dismissed instead?