Thursday, February 21, 2008

a new scarlet letter?

I am listening to history of the colonial criminal justice system...thinking about how they used shame as punishment, making someone wear a mark in the community?

how about next time, instead of locking someone up for selling crack, you make them wear a sign or uniform that everyone else recognizes?

what happens if the mugger or common thief must always know can't get away with it? thieves know they get caught sometimes, but when they get out, no one knows who they are? what if they are always recognizeable?

so far, the deterrent we've used isn't working... locking people up often accomplishes little. we've sadly created an entire criminal, prison-based class of people. men will stand up and fight if you push them. so many americans are born into a system that forces them into conflict with the police and establishment. it's really no wonder many figure it's just as right to become a criminal instead of bending to a corrupt system. that's how young men react...

it's just a quick idea and I have to go to bed, but is that not an idea: a return to the scarlet letter and community-based moral-sanctioning. let people police their own.. let the police help to do it.

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