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Crime & Punishment

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by Steve, Jan 10, 2003.

  1. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Details here

    A 15 year old boy deliberately dropped a large chunk of ice from an overpass, killing a mother of 3. His lawyer is doing a pretty good job of spinning the incident and casting doubt, but the facts are pretty well established. The kid even turned himself in to state police.

    My initial reaction was to hope they lock this little punk up and throw away the key until he dies and rots in Hell. I still feel that way, but now I've had time to think about it, I'm torn between opposing options.

    On one hand, I don't believe our penal system is very good at rehabilitation. Some few number of inmates are successful at it, no doubt. Most are, or become, "career criminals" with no intention of living on the right side of the law.

    Can a 15 year old kid be rehabilitated? Certainly not while incarcerated in our existing penal system, juvenile or otherwise. Perhaps there are other options, though, options that could teach him the difference between right and wrong, a difference his parents obviously forgot about. Perhaps there are options that could educate him, instill some moral values, teach him a trade, let him do his time and, upon release, become a productive member of society. Perhaps. Those options don't exist, right now.

    He must be punished, of that I have no doubt. But I'm not so sure the way to do that is sticking him in prisons for the rest of his life, forcing taxpayers like me to pay for 60-some years of incarceration. Is this a case warranting the death penalty? Maybe. I admit to being squeamish about sentencing children to death, even though I know he'll be an adult for many years before such a sentence is ever carried out.

    One life has been wasted. One life has been thrown away, at the whim of another. The question I've been asking myself, and for which I truly have no answer, is to wonder if there is a better way to punish him for his crime without society compounding it by throwing away another life?

    None of the existing options in this case satisfy me. Violent juvenile crime is a difficult issue to address. How can we fit the punishment to the crime?
  2. jamming

    jamming Banned

    Well going in his favor is that he did stand up and turn himself in to the State Police, by taking responsibility. 15 year old did stupid things when I was a kid, I could see him not realizing the ice would kill someone. I could see that manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter, could possibly be argued. I would like to see him serve Juvenile Time until he was 21, which would be appropriate number of years for those charges. I think that there should be a seperate juvenile system, from adult prison where the kids should serve until 21, if charged before their 18th birthday, they then be moved over to the adult system at 21 if their sentence last that long calls for that. Even if they were to be tried as an adult. After 18 if they violate the rules at the juvenile facility they should, if the violation is serious enough, be moved over as well to the adult facility.
  3. Frodo Lives

    Frodo Lives Luke, I am NOT your father!

    This teenager intentionally dropped a block of ice that killed someone. He should spend the rest of his life in prison or a work camp. Sure, kids do stupid things, but that doesn't mean they should get off any easier when that action leads to the death of an innocent person.
  4. RRedline

    RRedline Veteran MMember

    Assuming that the boy did not intend to injure anybody, I don't think he deserves death or a life sentence. If it can be proven that he did want to hurt or kill someone, then he deserves to rot in jail. However, this is probably just a case of extremely poor judgment by a teenager.

    He must be held accountable, and I think that he deserves, at the very least, to forfeit his freedem for several years. I think twenty years would be way too long, but I think a few years in juvenile detention would be a slap on the wrist. Allowing him to escape real punishment through community service or some other pathetic excuse for a punishment would be a huge mistake, in my opinion.

    I know Ken's not here to jump down my throat for saying this(or is he???), but the boy must be punished - not rehabilitated. How do you rehabilitate stupidity anyway?

    And how can a fifteen year old boy be so stupid(or evil?)?
  5. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    He did wait, after picking up the ice, until a car came along before dropping it.
  6. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Kids are just as capable of not looking at consequences for others as they are themselves. I have no doubt his kid had no intention of killing anybody. His actions were very stupid and he must be punished, something I would call for even if he had just done damage. In this case I would hope he could pay for his actions by the time he is 21. I am very afraid he will be already paying for this for life.
  7. jamming

    jamming Banned

    Yeah, I agree but what if he thought "oh its ice and a car is made of steel," not all 15 year olds are as smart as Techie.
  8. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    I think the punishment should be significant, but it should not be lifelong.

    And I don't think incarceration should be the answer for this boy, or else he would simply be more hardened and trained in crime. He needs supervision in the worst way, and a huge amount of community service, counseling, teaching, and I believe this young man might actually become a repentant adult.

    We all were young and terribly stupid at one point. There but for the grace of God go I.

    Now adults in the same circumstance - fuck 'em.

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