I finished reading IN DEFENSE OF FLOGGING this morning. It's as thought provoking as promised. I read a few pages to The Beloved Spouse and prompted a twenty minute discussion.I have thought for some time our prison system is broken, before I was aware of the outrageous quantity of people we have incarcerated. What we're doing isn't working. While flogging may not be the answer, there have to be methods that fall between the two extremes. Punishment means different things to different people.Bernie Madoff, for example. (Substitute the financial criminal of your choice. it doesn't matter.) Confiscate his property and financial holdings, using methods similar to what many states use for old people to claim indigence when asking for nursing home assistance, so no property of funds can be transferred to family members of friends to beat the rap. Use his money to buy him a small place in (for example) the Western District of Baltimore. Give him enough money to get though a month or two while he looks for a job. Then his sentence is to live there, on Social Security if need be, until his time has been served. (In Madoff's case, that probably means life.) Tell me that's not going to punish him more than a prison with other financial criminals. (Let's face it, Bernie may get 150 years, but he's not going to Attica or Sing Sing.) Keep an eye on him to be sure he's actually living there (House arrest monitors come to mind.) and to make sure friends and family don't fix him up too well inside where people can't see. In short, make him live like many of the less fortunate. That's off the top of my head, but it sounds like a much better deal than what we're doing now. Hit him where it hurts, and put him in an unpleasant situation from which he cannot improve himself. Kind of like how we allow a lot of innocent people to live, but it would seem like the eighth circle of hell to Bernie.I hope you'll keep blog readers posted if you make any personal appearances in the Baltimore or Washington area.
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