Sunday, February 28, 2010

If Judges had to directly live with their decisions

Then this wouldn't have had to have been legislated:

2 For 1 Credit Gone | News Talk 650 CKOM

What this comes down to is a matter of common sense and respect. Namely, that many justices that blindly followed this common practice in sentencing had neither.

I can understand when the practice was first utilized that prisons were pretty ugly places to be. I can also understand that it might make sense to compensate those people who wrongly had to spend time in pre-trial custody to make up for the fact that their life was taken away and that they were thrown in ugly conditions for a certain length of time.

What I CAN'T understand is why this practice was ever extended to convicted criminals. What could this practice possibly have done to help punish or rehabilitate the convict if they don't actually have to spend substantial time in custody to have the desire effect? When a person convicted of murder or manslaughter gets 7 years for a sentence and is credited 6 years for pre-trial custody, then it's pretty certain that nothing the system can do will rehab the con before they are released.

At some point in the past 20 years though, prisons became somewhat less than hostile to those in capitivity. They have computers and tvs and video games. They can do whatever they want with no problems. Because of this, pretrial has become somewhat less hostile than it used to be.

So here's my thought. Why don't we actually grant bail to those who may not be a danger to society? That way, pretrial confinement wouldn't be an issued because we're only keeping the ones that it's reasonably prudent to do so. With less pretrial confinement, why not institute a policy whereby only the first 6 months are doubled up. This should push more trials through the system faster as there is no longer an incentive to stretch the trial longer. Finally, if you're going to try to rehabilitate the convict, lengthen the sentence to a point where they may actually have to pay more attention to the therapist. All of these things should have a positive effect on the crime rates.

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