Forums > Social Discussion > What do you think of the Justice System?

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Stainless Munchkin
Stainless Munchkin

Master of the Munchkins

Member Since: 20th Mar 2005
Total posts: 246
Posted:Many people I know think that the jstice system both here and in the US isnt up to scratch, so I was wondering what the HOPpers thought confused

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Fine_Rabid_Dog
Internet Hate Machine
Location: They seek him here, they seek ...
Member Since: 26th May 2004
Total posts: 10530
Posted:hmmmmmm.. I know from what ive learnt at welli, that our system doesn't work at all. They are too crowded, and the hygine is appaling. Slopping out days *shudders* (thats when the cons empty their camber pots or whatever into a drain type thing all in one room).



Also, prison does not deter crime. It's like a college of crime. There are more experianced criminals, so their is always something illegal to learn. How to bust into a car faster etc etc. Tis a very worrying subject. Its something that needs to be sorted if we want any hope of reducing crimes frown

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linden rathen
linden rathen

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: London, UK
Member Since: 2nd Mar 2005
Total posts: 6942
Posted:Stainless Munchkin - i suppose it depends what you mean by the justice system - i think on the whole i works as well as can be expected (certainly in the UK)

The courts put away more criminals than innocent people, BUT there are lots of things that could be changed - i think your right about prisons as they tend to vary massively in how they function - some are more like hotels than prisons (in the UK more moneys is spent on prisoner's food than school meals)

The main problem is how to make prisons more rehabilitating and less of a breeding ground for crime. Things should be changed in what is taught at them and how prisoner's are allowed to interact - maybe minimal prisoner - prisoner contact with out the supervision of a warden or something? (ie don't let them mix unless someone is there to ensure that conversations remain legal?

Another thing i think needs changing is the vagueness of laws surrounding right of criminals - eg should they be allowed to sue for "loss of earnings" when they injure themselves burgling (i don't think they should.) how much you can do to protect your own property and ensuring there is no way that criminals can benefit from their crimes.

that said i still think our criminal justice system is pretty good


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Fine_Rabid_Dog
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Location: They seek him here, they seek ...
Member Since: 26th May 2004
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Posted:Written by: linden_rathen

in the UK more moneys is spent on prisoner's food than school meals




Tell me about it.. broadmoor (a prison for the criminally insane, home of the yorkshire ripper), which is just down the road from us, has much better food than we do. Our food budget is like 40p per pupil per day. Broadmoor has a budget of 60p per con per day... im fairly certain prisoners get bigger cells than ours frown what a gip...

Written by: linden_rathen

Another thing i think needs changing is the vagueness of laws surrounding right of criminals - eg should they be allowed to sue for "loss of earnings" when they injure themselves burgling (i don't think they should.) how much you can do to protect your own property and ensuring there is no way that criminals can benefit from their crimes.



I hate the idea that sum1 has to pay a burglar money cos they hurt themselves, while tresspassing (an illegal activity, i presume) on theuir property, with the intention of ripping them off. Makes me very angry
if i was a judge in front of a guy sueing for damage recieved whill attempting to rob sum1id slap him in jail.


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Stainless Munchkin
Stainless Munchkin

Master of the Munchkins

Member Since: 20th Mar 2005
Total posts: 246
Posted:if a guy was sueing a person they were robbing i would throw them out of court, thats one thing i like about the justice system, if the judge thinks it is a stupid or pointless case he can just tell them to bog off and not try to sue for the same reason again

Are you that clever that you smile forever? biggrin

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linden rathen
linden rathen

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: London, UK
Member Since: 2nd Mar 2005
Total posts: 6942
Posted:yea - unfortunately because of the human rights act they can sue - shame really the human rights act is a good idea but too much of it is misused.

*grins* i think i should stop reading newspapers - makes me much too pessimistic ah well

despite stupid laws our justice system is still one of the best and the model for a lot of other justice systems around the world smile


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_pOp_
Playing OldSchool Poi
Location: amsterdam
Member Since: 22nd Aug 2003
Total posts: 593
Posted:Written by: Stainless Munchkin

if a guy was sueing a person they were robbing i would throw them out of court, thats one thing i like about the justice system, if the judge thinks it is a stupid or pointless case he can just tell them to bog off and not try to sue for the same reason again



but then again, in the USA I know of this skater who broke into a guy's garden, climbed over the fence with big, clears signs stating it was private property and trespassing was illegal, got to his pool, and started skating in it while that owner was on a holiday. he broke his leg while skating (an illegal activity in an illegal place), sued the house owner for damages, and won!!!!! eek
same country, different state: hawaii.
none of the palm trees seem to have coconuts in them anymore. not because people steal them, but because they would sue if a coconut would fall down (even on private property).


meditate eRic.

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linden rathen
linden rathen

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: London, UK
Member Since: 2nd Mar 2005
Total posts: 6942
Posted:that sounds about right PoP - dosnt really make sense. the law is that the home owner has a responsibility to protect you while you are on their property. unfortunately the UK and USA seem to have forgotten that you have a right to privacy on that property. ah well maybe one day it'll be sorted out.
im still glad that the case against McD's for making kids obese was thrown out. i may not like the big M but that was just stupid


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Tao Star
Tao Star

Pooh-Bah
Location: Bristol
Member Since: 30th May 2003
Total posts: 1662
Posted:my only first hand experience is when i did jury service last year.

i arrived at the old bailey and all the jurors were put in a room together, like 50 or something. cause i live in the city where all the business people live (apart from us students..) it was full of suits.

i heard them all on their phones to work & stuff, they just wanted to be out of there. they weren't making any money or anything. some of them probably took it seriously, but it made me sad that one of the most important courts in england had to appoint jurors who just couldn't be bothered. frown


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Spanner
Spanner

remembers when it was all fields round here
Location: in the works... somewhere...
Member Since: 27th Feb 2003
Total posts: 2790
Posted:Written by: Fine_Rabid_Dog

Tell me about it.. broadmoor (a prison for the criminally insane, home of the yorkshire ripper), which is just down the road from us, has much better food than we do. Our food budget is like 40p per pupil per day. Broadmoor has a budget of 60p per con per day... im fairly certain prisoners get bigger cells than ours frown what a gip...




I'd just like to point out that Broadmoor is not a prison, but a secure mental hospital. It's commonly mistaken for a prison, as many of the patients have been convicted of major crimes, but that isn't a prerequisite of admission. It's part of the West London Mental Health Trust and as far as I know, the Prison Service has no equivalent hand in it's operation or regulation.

To hear that your school food budget is less than that of an NHS hospital is nonetheless concerning though, as I'm not convinced hospital food is noticeably better frown


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Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:Let's see, suing for injury during a criminal activity. A mandate was recently sent from US Supreme Court that this is not legal to do so (duh!). It is also currently no longer viable in the US to sue someplace like McDonalds for making you fat (stupid, irresponsible, lazy people that do that).

Prisons: I grew up 20 minutes away from 2 of the most hardcore prisons in NY State. Attica (yes of the movie and riot fame) and Albion Womens Correctional. For my high school poli-sci class I had to go through scared straight in both of them...womens is far worse than the mens. The women do not get alot of the same "liberties" as men do, but that is changing as liberties are being removed from prisons. Only recently in the US have things been removed from prisoners. For example, in many states they are allowed to get their GED, but they are no longer allowed to get a college education (for free). In many cable television, weight rooms, and even personal "luxury" items (porno mags) are being prohibited. Several states are reinstating the use of chain gangs and intensive labor programs. In some southern states they have gone so far as to remove solid walls. Military like tents are set-up within the fences. They do everything outside regardless of weather, and it is next to a major highway so everyone can see them while they are on work detail. There is a light system under the sharp shooter tower which reads "Vacancy". Cracked me up. And I agree with this all. They should not have liberties for free that we have to pay for on the outside. It is ridiculous.
They have better medical, dental and vision than my family does! Yup...that toasts my buns.

I've know prison guards and sharp-shooters for both of these facitilites. I know they chose their job but it really makes people crack, working in these places. It is amazing. In NYS they have a rotation set-up where you can only work within one area of the system for a certain amount of time before you trade to a new facility. And they are constantly being retested to prove themselves worthy of their jobs (especially the sharp shooters). It is soooooo stressful and little can be done to alleviate that. But then the inmates have better care plans than the ones stressing themselves over the inmates. It is nuts.

As for the legal process...I studied law. I started in a law program and became so completely and absolutely disgusted with "due process" (my butt!) and "innocent before proven guilty", the "search for truth" and all of the buzz words that are thrown around but rarely adhered to. It is mind games and manipulation and it sickened me. I learned alot of useful stuff in the program but could never have become an attorney.

For most things I think the sentencing is messed up (most need harsher punishments) and I think that it is more money driven than at all about justice.

But this reminds me, did anyone read about the 90-something year old guy who robbed a bank...3 times? The first time he held it up was at 82 (or so). He walked out, got caught and went to court and got a slap on the hand. The second time he went to jail for a few months. The third time he held it up at gun point, drove back to his home and waited for them to come. When he was in court and they asked him why his answer was that he wasn't going to live much longer, had no friends or relatives, had a hard time living on social security. He knew he would get great health care, have company, 3 squares and that because of his age no one would "befriend" him in prison. It was his retirement plan! lol Sounds good to me! wink


Pele
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i8beefy2
i8beefy2

addict
Location: Ohio, USA
Member Since: 24th Mar 2003
Total posts: 674
Posted:I couldn't help but respond because I feel the justice system is complete crap, but dont deny that its the best thing we have so far.. though if thats from lack of trying something else, who knows.

First of all the judgmental system... I am appaled at the way some of these judges rule. There is somewhat of a difference between small town and larger city rulings, since most everything goes to court in a small town, but few minor crimes go to court in a large town... I think that most of our criminal law is absurd. We want to judge everyone by the same standards as if every infraction is the same... but that just isn't so. I think most judges become so jaded by seeing the same thing every day that they have blinders on to extenuating circumstances. As such, we're not solving problems anymore in law, we are just putting bandaids on things.

In civil law, well... I think that stuff is absolutly rediculous. Medical lawsuits are bull except in major screwups... and most of them are frivilous. In fact I'd estimate 99% of civil law is frivilous.

We also have the police issue, where many become so fed up that everyone becomes a criminal. I watch Cops and it seems like half of the cops on there are just so Gung Ho and sure that they are right in the way they do things... and I just see them as complete @#$%s in many cases. Like citing both people (usually poor) in ambiguous cases to avoid the hassle of ACTUALLY investigating, which of course means money and time spent by both parties to fight things in court which they probably cant afford in the first place.

Not that all cops suck... I know some who I actually like. They aren't #$%^s usually.

In punishment we have an even more silly situation. For the reasons Pele pointed out to a point, but even more so because of my biggest problem with the system all together: we aren't solving anything. We send minor criminals to jail on drug charges (I have a big problem with this since far worse crimes are being let off lighter to lessen overcrowding so we can add on sentence time to drug dealers to try and address the "not harsh enough punishment" thing Pele was saying), those that are there for any length of time aren't really having too bad a time... our punishment system just doesn't make sense. We're not changing anyone that goes in, there is no rehabilitation involved in the VAST majority of cases.

We could be like China and make things SO horible that no one wants to go back, but that is cruel and unusual. We could take the singapore (right) route and just cane people for minor crimes, doing away with minor jail sentences, but we have this thing about physical punishment for some reason. This "time out" crap just isn't working though.

Of course, I have no answer to the problems, but I see them. So despite my gripes, I'd say the system works... some of the time... and as such is better than nothing. Ill just keep my head down and try to avoid police. Hell, if they legalized drugs I wouldn't have any reason to hate them at all personally... except speeding tickets...

The system isn't perfect. But until something better comes along, it works for me.


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i8beefy2
i8beefy2

addict
Location: Ohio, USA
Member Since: 24th Mar 2003
Total posts: 674
Posted:Oh and my buddy has a Criminal Justice degree and is in law school now... Some of the statistics he brings home are kinda funny.

Like its estimated that only about 50% of crimes are reported (How you estimate that I'm not quite sure...), of those about half never go to court, and a certain percentage are thrown out, and many more are taken care of in closed door deals between the prosecution and defendent, etc. etc.... anyway it broke down to an estimate of about 2% of criminals are actually convicted... And most fall into the "stupid criminal" category who just didn't do things right. Most murders are never solved, most white colar crime is never even heard about yet does far more damage than ANY other crime.

And the back door dealings between lawers and prosecuters get scary. Like letting some cases go for a conviction on another, etc. Law is far more politics than actual "law" anymore...

Spooky.


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Prometheus
Prometheus

Diamond In The Rough
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Member Since: 30th Jun 2002
Total posts: 459
Posted:Written by: Pele
I studied law. I started in a law program and became so completely and absolutely disgusted with "due process" (my butt!) and "innocent before proven guilty", the "search for truth" and all of the buzz words that are thrown around but rarely adhered to.



My favorite is being tried by a "jury of your peers." If you were accused of a crime and were in court, how likely is it that any of the jurors would be similar in age, race, education, economic standing, interests & hobbies, haircut, etc.
I'd be staring at 12 people who probably never waited tables, been an Eagle Scout or lost their hearing going to heavy metal concerts. biggrin


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munkypunks
munkypunks

enthusiast, but not enthusiastic
Location: Los Angeles, California
Member Since: 21st Jan 2005
Total posts: 367
Posted:"My favorite is being tried by a "jury of your peers." If you were accused of a crime and were in court, how likely is it that any of the jurors would be similar in age, race, education, economic standing, interests & hobbies, haircut, etc."

To get called for jury service, you have to register to vote. Younger people tend not to vote, so you're less likely to find them in the jury pool. Plus, everyone and their brother's uncle tend to try to get out of jury service. So it's older, retired people (who can't claim they have to go to work) and people who work for the government or big corporations that will pay you while you're on jury service - most notably UPS and fedex (I'm a lawyer, and we joke that soon all the jurors will be postal-type workers who won't just hand down a sentence; they'll also be the firing squad) - who usually end up on juries. So, if you want a true jury of your peers (I'll leave out the discussion of what "peers" was originally intended to mean), tell your friends to register to vote and not to shirk jury service. (And then voting wouldn't hurt either.)


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monkeynamedspank
monkeynamedspank

Padawan
Location: Bolton
Member Since: 3rd Apr 2005
Total posts: 197
Posted:Dunno much about the justice system in america except that everyone sues each other for pretty much everything going and unfortuantely the UK is following somewhat. They should all be shot.

I reckon the courts should focus more on the crimes that actually matter and probably introduce harsher punishments.


Damn the addictiveness of forums! (Or should it be addictivity?)

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Cloudscape
Cloudscape

Member
Location: Dublin
Member Since: 20th Aug 2004
Total posts: 62
Posted:think the fundamental problem with the American justice system is plea bargaining. The principle of rewarding someone (by giving them a more lenient sentence) for saying something about someone else (who gets a longer sentence) is flawed and has no place in natural justice.

I'm Irish and overall I think our Justice system is Ok - the only real bone of contention I have is the "special criminal court" which is mainly used for terrorists and major drug dealers. This is a court of 3 senior judges so people are effectively tried without a jury.

In the UK the government are considering internment (i.e. imprisonment without trial) as part of new anti-terrorism laws - now that frightens me. The last time internment was used was against Irish people at the height of the northern troubles - I'd hate to see innocent Muslims imprisoned for nothing or framed like the Birmingham 6 or Guilford 4 - I thought the world had moved on in the last 2 decades.

Incidentally can any of you Americans out there tell us what the American public's view is on Guantanamo bay? I think most Europeans are horrified by the concept of people being imprisoned and possibly (or is that probably) tortured without trial or the protection of the Geneva convention - is this reported in the states? Do people have a view on it or do the American public generally swallow the "it's for the greater good" rubbish?


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quiet
quiet

analytic
Location: bristol
Member Since: 15th Sep 2004
Total posts: 503
Posted:one general point from the above posts:

some ppl seem to be arguing that, as pele puts it,

'They should not have liberties for free that we have to pay for on the outside. It is ridiculous..'

No, it isn't ridiculous, it's a natural consequence of depriving someone of the option of earning money that you're got to provide certain things - like food and shelter - for free.

I have two friends who've served prison sentences for relatively minor crimes. I wouldn't have wanted them to have been denied basic healthcare, access to books, etc.

Second point: one role of prisons (it is often argued) is to rehabilitate people. Some things which we on the outside have to pay for - like books - can help with this.


e


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i8beefy2
i8beefy2

addict
Location: Ohio, USA
Member Since: 24th Mar 2003
Total posts: 674
Posted:Rehab is for quitters. smile

Completely off topic... but I thought it might make someone out there smile...

Gauntanamo Bay is just another example of our thinking that we can do whatever the hell we want... Did you hear that NOW we're taking people and just shipping them to other countries to be interogated? I think we did that to a Canadian guy accidently who just got back and spilled the beans... All that power, and we have to fly a guy halfway around the world to torture him... how inefficient.

Not that I condone such things of course...


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