Rethinking punishment | AspenTimes.com

Rethinking punishment

Dear Editor:

Criminals have no fear of a punishment for what crimes they commit. Every day people are going to jail, and get out a few years later to continue being a criminal. We have no actual justice to follow the crime in this country, our punishment is “pay this, sit in this jail cell, and don’t do that again.” How does that convince people not to kill, steal, or do anything illegal?

The system on average has sent one of every 30 adults to prison. Two-thirds of those criminals are repeat offenders. How does that make you feel? It makes me feel like I’m letting these criminals get a free life, letting them rob me today and paying them tomorrow. The annual cost of an inmate is $30,000, and we are paying for this! The prison population is growing, and punishments for there crimes are long gone. All we have is a slap on the wrist and a false hope of rehabilitation of them coming out a “better human being.”

Rehabilitation is something you do after an injury, punishment is the consequence for an illegal action. I want a person who killed another to receive a punishment that will make people think twice about murder. The eighth amendment of the constitution states “nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” Today for murder the punishment is “don’t do that again, you’re going to jail for 20 years, parole in 10.”

That method isn’t working, bring back cruel and unusual punishment. Make it an “eye for an eye” system. Why can’t we serve a lesson to people that crime is a bad part of life. Why can’t we make the punishment worse than the risk of committing the crime? Offenders feel they are being mistreated when they commit a crime and are wanted to pay the price of the punishment, that it is unfair to be put to death when they raped and killed someone. How is it fair to let that person continue in life let alone getting clothes, food and a prison cell for free? It isn’t fair to the people who are innocent.

Not every criminal is caught, but the ones that are being put into prison sit and “rot.” More like sit and enjoy the taxpayer’s money. Why can’t criminals pay back society? Why can’t they make life around the innocent better? They are not helping in any way sitting in prison.

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Crime rates are getting higher, police officers are running thin, and the prison population is rising. We need a change and fast. If we are to succeed as a society, proper punishments should be in effect. This sit, wait and hope process for criminals is not working. Sorry to want to go back to less civilized times, at least then if someone was killed, the rest of the population didn’t pay the murderer to sit and hopefully one day is “fit to reenter society.”

Chris Everding

Basalt