Crime and Punishment
Lloyd Jeffrey Mallan
Before we begin our discussion concerning crime in our neighborhoods and streets, let us suggest the possibility that government itself may be the prime
perpetuator of crime. Perhaps, after our exploration, we may even be able to see government as organized crime itself.
When the United States government policy allows its agencies like the Internal Revenue Services to seize properties and ruin the lives of American citizens,
we might ask ourselves is our government itself perpetuating crime. When money
is given to countries like Columbia to subsidize military and para military activities, which may in itself have the effect of destabilizing the political equilibrium of a region in our hemisphere, is crime perpetuating?
Are the laws that have put over two million American citizens in prison a perpetuation of crime? Can we consider the continual governmental violation of our
inalienable rights in our homes and highways, causing disruption and injury to the lives of many, a crime?
Can the emanation of crime from a source and institution meant to protect us,
like our government, be merely instead an originator of crime? Is it possible that the crimes committed in the name of legitimate authority can far outreach the smaller criminal activity of an ordinary criminal? Can we really entrust the healing of a society
to what is now called the criminal-justice system, if in it is in itself, criminal in nature?
Can it be possible that if politics is removed from the problem of criminality that we may begin to see the dissipation of criminal behavior? The legal system may
still continue to represent its interests on protecting life and property and still protect the rights of the accused. This is what our constitutional government was meant to achieve, a government for the people, not a government against the people.
What is now called capital punishment is not only repulsive, this act of murder committed by the State, dehumanizes us all. No man is an island, wrote the
poet John Donne. Every mans death diminishes me. Some of us may or may not support government sponsored murder to punish criminals, but to those of us that do not like this murderous penalty against humanity, referred to as the death
penalty, committed at the hands of governments, capital punishment manifests itself as offensive and deeply disturbing to those of us unable to prevent
occurrences of State sanctioned murder.
The waves of butchery, brought about as capital punishment, transmit themselves into the community where the savagery of this punishment is often not
only condoned, it is glorified. The murder rate is higher in all the states that zealously execute criminals. Are criminals only following the example of the state that murders people in the name of justice and righteousness.
Capital punishment increases the power of the State. Along with higher taxes and governmental expense, capital punishment does not accomplish any real
objective except for the act of murder of itself.
Prisons have become a government growth industry. An example of laws that accommodate this increasing growth of government dehumanization are
mandatory minimums, stiff laws against drug offenders and many other
non-violent crimes. Those that support these laws say that the so-called victimless crimes hurt society at large with injured lives and loss of productiveness.
But, the laws created by politicians that play to the primordial fears of the electorate to win votes now have had a far more dangerous effect to the healthy functioning of a society. Lives have been ruined and lost, properties have been seized and respect
for law and legal authority have diminished.
Many of those running for office have offered more punishing laws as a solution. But, the solution is not to ignore the deeds of criminality, but to remedy the
problem and resolve the conflicts, instead of spreading the fires of fear.
Let us get the State out of punishing or rehabilitating criminals. Put an end to all prohibition laws and allow the marketplace to resolve our needs, as it does in all
other areas. Reduce the criminal statutes in favor of more common law or civil remedies.
If criminals were obligated to pay restitution to the victims of their crimes, criminality would begin its necessary disappearance. It is possible that criminals,
themselves, are begging to be stopped and dealt with, as an infant might in seeking a healthy bonding with an adult.
What about cases where the victim has been murdered? How could restitution be made? Instead of repeating the brutality of the homicide, a judge could
assess what damages has been caused to his heirs. A monetary figure could then be determined, along with any necessary condition or service that could accompany the restitution. Meanwhile, the criminal could be housed in a privately run rehabilitation center where the criminal would pay for his rehabilitation through work or service.
Paying restitution to the victims or the victims heirs would have an effect far outreaching the tyranny of state run prisons. Costs of crime would decrease, while
a healing of society would occur, led in a direction towards more personal responsibility. The State should also offer restitution to the victims of the laws they
have passed and administered. The State must also be held accountable to the loss of life and property engendered by military engagements and expeditions.
Let us take a look at these libertarian solutions and reach a more civil society.