Justice for Society’s Sake

Could somebody please explain to me how the justice system works? I just don’t get it.

It seems that we have become too tolerant of crime and too accepting of it. Crimes go unsolved and unpunished. Unsocial behaviour is frowned upon but largely brushed aside. It seems that we have become too fixated with trying to reason and empathise with those that commit offences.

Society should be much more emphatic in its upholding of the justice system.

If a person knowingly breaks the rules of society then that person should expect and needs to be punished. Punishment is about redress for the harm that has been committed and a disincentive for committing similar offences again. In order to ensure that wrong-doers don’t reoffend, that punishment should be a lesson for them. It should be harsh, uncompromising and definitive.

The punishment should also be commensurate with the crime committed. The worse the crime; then the worse the punishment.

The underlying message is that if somebody harms or damages society then, if caught, they should expect to be harmed or damaged in some way themselves.

As the old expression goes, “If you can’t do the time; don’t do the crime.”

In decreeing and administering such punishments, we do need to uphold a person’s human rights. Even criminals should be treated humanely. But an offender must also accept that by committing a crime they are relinquishing some of their societal rights, protections and privileges. Frankly, we don’t have to be nice to them.

Prison – our primary sentencing sanction – should be a humane but tough and unpleasant place to be. The problem with this is that many of our societal rights are now considered as human rights.

  • Is it a human right or a societal right that people cannot be obliged to work a 16 hour day, seven days a week?
  • Is it a human right or a societal right that people are offered three meals a day?
  • Is it a human right or a societal right that people can have a hot shower every day?

Should our development and advancement as a society also mean that we progress what we consider to be a person’s human rights? Or, when defining human rights, should we go back to basics?

Any notion that punishment is not about retribution; that society is above such pettiness is nonsense. If a cost has been incurred then it needs to be paid for.

Why should society as a whole pick up the pieces for the misdemeanours of a few of its members? Why should the innocent suffer due to the offences of others?

I do not understand the idea of being kind and understanding to offenders. These people have done wrong; they knew they were doing wrong; that wrong had a negative effect on others. For me, that represents unacceptable behaviour and should not be tolerated.

Too often, as a modern society, we seem to be trying to rehabilitate offenders before we have punished them. Rehabilitation is certainly worth pursuing as – if successful – it means less damage is done to society in the future. However, rehabilitation should always be a secondary action, once the punishment has been served.

The reason for my uncompromising, hard-line attitude is that I recognise the importance of society. Without society and our enduring ability to live together we would not be able to survive. We would be subject to the forces of Nature and we would quickly succumb to Nature’s forceful and pernicious rule.

Humanity needs society to survive. It is therefore vital that we recognise our obligation to uphold and protect society as being greater than any consideration we would have for an individual within that society. There is a greater good. That good is the preservation and upkeep of society.

Most individuals are law-abiding and comply with society’s rules. They recognise that society can only exist if everybody plays their part. However, there is a rule-breaking minority that do pose a threat to the stability of society. These people have to be dealt with.

Every time somebody is disruptive it chips away at society and represents a potential threat. If somebody rocks the boat then it endangers everyone on board. It cannot be allowed to happen.

I would even be reluctant to reduce sentencing for good behaviour, turning state’s evidence or becoming a reformed character. There’s no get out, no way of easing the punishment. If you commit the crime then you will have to face the full consequences, the full term.

Of course, to back this up, alongside a forceful justice system there needs to be an effective policing operation. There should never be any thought that if someone commits a crime then the chances are that they will get away with it. Potential offenders must think that they are liable to get caught; that it is just not worth the risk.

A likelihood that they will be apprehended; a likelihood that they will be punished. That’s the surest deterrent to the committing of crime, that’s the best way of protecting society.