Justice isn’t rocket science. For justice to be fair, it needs to have logic, be honourable, be affordable, be consistent and ensure people learn quickly from past mistakes.
If justice is supposed to be about some combination of offender deterrence, restitution to the victim and rehabilitation of the offender, then in the clear absence of the two R’s, taxpaying society at least deserves a deterrence outcome from their Justice system and the political party in charge of it. And in the case of dangerous and unreformed offenders, imprisonment at least keeps them from committing further serious crime.
‘Don’t do the time if you can’t do the crime’ means little when light sentencing doesn’t actually deter criminals.
High speed car chases of criminals through built-up areas should automatically land them an attempted murder charge and a fine to fully cover the pursuit costs.
If sentencing gave a further weighting, based on the vulnerability of the victims (pensioners being swindled out of their life savings, crimes against children, animal cruelty etc), fairer justice may be achieved.
If justice is honourable, honour crimes will be chased out of the honour zone and seen for what they really are.
Lying to the police should automatically incur a 24 hour police cell visit and a fixed notice financial fine that is effective in stopping criminals from wasting precious police time.
Perhaps as Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘David and Goliath’ says, penalties act as a deterrent up to a point and only when a limited number of people from a community go to prison. However, beyond that point, for dangerous and repeat offenders, prison at least reduces the immediate threat, even if prison time has little effect on the offender as a deterrent.
If we give serial killers a severe penalty the first time they are caught and convicted, then why not give habitual offenders that same penalty too (three serious strikes and you’re out of freedom)? The cost and damage to society is similar in both cases.
Re-offending should automatically mean significantly larger sentences than for first time offenders, for the same gravity of crime.
If we have to build more prisons to cope with longer sentencing, so be it. The cost is still less than the loss of life, theft and trauma caused to the victims.