• People Talk and My Ear Bleeds


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    Saturday, February 19, 2005

    Serial Rapist

    When reading about Brent J. Brents, I must wonder what this says about the repeat offender theories and our prison system.

    1. we hear that offenders who murder once, commit a sexual offense once, etc. will do it again.
    2. we hear constantly of prison overcrowdings.

    Texas trys to solve it by killing more inmates than any other state. Of course, this statistic is impossible to nail down and can be twisted a million different ways. Texas is the largest state among the lower 48, maybe we're meaner, who knows...

    but that's an aside. a tangent. truthfully, USA prisons are not "correction facilities." I don't see many criminals coming out "changed." Most people who break the law are repeat offenders. This seems to tell me that the system doesn't work.

    What do we do about it?

    In Hmong culture, nothing is worse than losing face. So, as Anne Fadiman says in her book, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, if a man steals four bars of gold, the village would parade him through town, taunt him, and order him to repay five bars. This is a successful deterrent against new thefts, and sufficiently punishes and repays the theif and victim.

    I don't advocate doing the same thing in America, but can we learn from this? What is America's culture like? Is there aspects of it that can be used or emphasized to more successfully deter crime and punish a criminal? Let's brainstorm some ideas.

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