Rehabilitation, Part 6 to blupete's Essay
"On The Theory of Punishment"
A view, prevalent to the late 20th century, is that a person who commits a crime suffers from a disease, and, applying Freudian principles, so called humanitarians, who, caring less for victims or the general peaceful state of society, apologize and excuse the criminal. It seems the vast majority of criminals are inflicted with a neurosis, or whatever; and, they neither can help themselves in respect to its onset or its cure. What we need to do, is to help these people, not punish them. "The idea seems to be," as H.L. Mencken wrote, "to turn the dungeons and bullpens of the law into laboratories of the uplift, so that the man who goes in a burglar will come out a Y.M.C.A. secretary."13 The result of these "humanitarian views," is, that we send criminals off to institutions which are hardly prisons, at least as we have imagined them to be. One has to wonder. Oh! Sure. They are restricted; but prisoners, it seems to me, are sent to places which are more like retreats. These places have the accoutrements of a country club. There, the prisoner has immediately available to him services not generally available to a lot of law abiding citizens. This generous service is delivered through the agency of our government by the rest of us; we, who often cannot find the time to get a game of golf in or get off to the gym because we are too busy working for a living. In any event, is it, that we can change a criminal, a person who in his pursuit of life, is deliberate, habitual and incurable in his acts to advance himself at the expense of others. For most, I believe there is no cure. The rest of us who proceed in life serving others in exchange for a living, must but take steps to protect ourselves from such individuals. As Mencken points out, the vast majority of these people don't mind going to prison, especially the prisons of today; why, to "be bagged now and then, to make occasional sojourns in prison -- all that, to him, is mere professional risk. When, by some mischance, he is taken and jailed, he lays the business to the fortunes of war ..."14
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