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The Wrong Way To Solve Crime

Mar 2, 2008
The history of criminology will show that punishment of individuals is not a successful method of preventing crime. If it were there ought to be fewer people in jail every year.

On the contrary crime is on the increase. Each year adds to the inmates of nearly every reformatory in this country. There is no justification for the punishment of a human being unless it is necessary to help him, or (what is more important than to the individual) unless it is necessary to protect society, that is, to best secure to all individuals security of life, property, and the pursuit of happiness.

Any other view would be to admit the doctrine of vengeance as just, wise and humane. What we seek is justice, administered with wisdom, humanity and charity. It is a sad and at the same time important thing that the increase of crime is largely among the youth of this nation. Facts and figures in this respect come almost like blows to remind us of our responsibility, and to suggest our short-sightedness.

It is said that over half the inmates of reformatories, jails and prisons in this country are under twenty-five years of age. Some authorities say under twenty-three. We now know that the seeds of crinrinality in the great majority of cases are planted in youth. The English prison commission recently reported to Parliament that the age of sixteen to twenty was essentially the criminal age, and between ten and sixteen the most important age for the care and formation of character.

The commission reveals that not two in one hundred criminals in London had formed the habits which led to criminality after the twentieth year. There are from three to five times as many children, in proportion to population by ages, arrested every year in the cities of this country as adults. Seventeen thousand under sixteen, it is said, were arrested in Chicago the year before the juvenile court law went into effect. A similar condition may be found in nearly every large city.

Life is the great teacher. All of us have certain experiences that drive home lessons we never should have learned from books, and we shall give pages from the reminiscences of Judge Lindsey and others, as illustrating, better than could any abstract argument, the principles involved. This has been the method pursued by many, the argument against the regime of hate, brutality and violence being enforced at every turn by holding beneath the reader's nose, so persistently that he cannot escape the nauseating odor, the filth served up to society in the name of justice.
About the Author
Malcolm Blake is strongly opposed to cruel treatment of prisoners. He is also concerned with the civil rights of the innocent, and believes that only in an age of openness can we guarantee our survival. His article about the reverse number look up shows how to run a background check.
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