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What should we do with serious criminals such as mass killers ?

Dear Reader,

It appears that not everyone likes what I have written. The great problem of freedom of expression is that those who either dislike you or disagree with you also enjoy the same rights to express themselves as I do. So rather than censoring my critic I will extend to them the courtesy of allowing them to express their ideas. Each of their ideas will be addressed in turn in this post.

My critic wrote. “I would like Mr. Foreman to explain each death of a child to the parents that had to go through this terrible ordeal.

Sadly I am unable to explain to anyone why these deaths occurred as I can not understand the reasoning behind the actions of the island gunman. I can understand but not condone violence which has its basis in greed (armed robbery), tribal rivalry (football hooligans) and lust but in this case the murder of a large number of children by a man who then boasts of it and then wishes to use the event as a soap box for his views is impossible for me to understand at this time.

I am not going to go down the psychology road and try to blame it on a sickness of the mind. While a person who commits such an outrage has something not quite right in their mind, to make it a medical condition it is an insult to people with genuine mental ill health. I suspect that we will find out in due course what the mind experts think of this person’s state of mind.

There is no rehab for a person like this. 

I think that the question of rehabilitation should be considered at this point. I strongly hold the view that the person(s) responsible for the outrage should be excluded from society for the rest of their lives. I find the idea of normal decent people having to encounter this person in the street, supermarket, post office or other public places to be abhorrent. I hold the view that the person can never be rehabilitated to the point at which he is ready to rejoin society.

On the other hand it may be possible to rehabilitate the person to enable them to see the error of his ways, I sincerely do not know if it is possible to fix the mind of such a person but maybe it can be done. But no matter how well this criminal progresses in prison I think that he should never be released.

Partly it is because the public need to be protected from criminals like this, also to maintain public confidence in the legal system this man must be detained and finally for the man’s own safety I think that he should remain in prison for ever. I do not want to encourage mob rule, lynching, vigilantism or the public taking the law into their own hands but I suspect strongly that this man would not be safe on the streets of any town or city of Norway.

I find it crazy to think that this man did’nt do this, since he was there shooting up the camp for 90 minutes before law enforcement arrived. Shame on you Mr. Foreman for explaining the death penalty from a one sided view. 

The problem is that the death penalty is not a perfect one size fits all solution to crime. Even in places which have it some forms of crime are rampant. While in some clear cases of total depravity such as the railway ripper in the former Soviet Union it is hard to argue a case against the execution of the foul wretch in the majority of cases society does not truly have the benefit of such a clear indication of both guilt and depravity.

I am not squish, a “bleeding heart liberal” or a “tree hugger” but after having read the news and having meet a prison officer whose job is to lock up a bunch of murderers. I can tell you that in some cases where the death sentence is used that it was clearly wrong to impose that penalty. I hold the view that “normal murder” is abhorrent but it is not a crime worthy of the death sentence, murder with additional disgusting features does warrant a more severe punishment but deciding on what that additional punishment should be is not an easy thing to decide.

Rather than death one option for the worst murder cases is for the court to demand that the person spends a very long time behind bars.

Criminals like this guy if it were in Saudi Arabia would be hung at the public square
for all to view. Justice is not letting this guy live in some prison able to wake up in the morning, take his shower, and roam the grounds at the expense of the people. 

Yes and no. Failure to impose a death sentence should not be confused with the idea of giving the murderer a cushy home in prison. As a tax payer I am not happy about the idea of luxury gaols while law abiding citizens have harder lives in their own homes. Prison should not be an enjoyable place to be sent, people should not be sent to a holiday camp prison.

Some years ago I liked the idea of setting prisoners to work to make the prison service cost neutral, it is an attractive idea to many people. The prison officer who I meet explained to me that a problem exists. If I set a bunch of prisoners to work then a danger exists that employment will be taken away from a law abiding member of society.

People should not be punished by having their livelihood taken away by a prisoner replacing them.

While prison should not be like Butlins, it should not be like Belsen. Prisoners should be kept in a safe and healthy environment which is free of violence.


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