Proposal One Edit
The Pro Case Edit
The Legal System Edit
Individuals are free to act as they will as long as their actions do not violate or have a high probability of violating (such as by causing physical, psychological, or property damage) the rights of other individuals without their consent. Only in those instances where the rights of others have been violated or are at increased risk of being violated would the legal system come into play. For example, under this principle, the government only has the right to regulate the use those drugs that have been associated with aggression or highly addictive properties that thus increase the theft and other criminal behavior. It has the right to regulate drug related activities that increase the risk of harm to other individuals without their consent such as drunken driving. But the government has no right to limit the use of drugs not associated with aggression or highly addictive properties by consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes.
In the ideal government, prosecutors are not elected to office, they are appointed from a pool of individuals who have rigorously studied law, psychology and the effects of prison on individuals. Their ultimate goal is to be just and fair. It is not to jail as many people as possible for as long as possible.
Under republican controlled administrations and in certain states, more people are consistently placed on death row and prison sentences are on average longer. In certain states marijuana possession is treated as a minor misdeamnor, in others, it is a mandatory jail sentence. In a recent social psychology experiment, it was demonstrated with a mock trial that under identical circumstances, with the same testimony and evidence, a man with a mexican name is 60% more likely to be convicted than an identical man with a caucasian name. Similarly, a woman is significantly less likely to be convicted of a crime than a man. In the ideal government, punishment always fits the crime and is equitable across the board. Factors such as what state an individual lives in, the ethnicity and gender of an individual, what political party is currently in power, or who the individual has as a judge or lawyer lead to little or no variability in sentencing.
In order to bring the legal system closer to the ideal, very well defined classification systems would be employed. Actions that were intended to physically harm or psychologically traumatize another individual would be punished significantly more heavily than those that were not. Violations to another individual's rights would be very clearly defined not just based on the right that was violated but also based on the reason for which this right was violated in order to ensure that the punishment for these violations always fits the crime. For example, murder (the violation of another individual's most fundamental right) would have a well defined classification system similar to the one outlined below that must be used.
Accidental - When the guilty party clearly had no intention of hurting anyone and didn't do anything that he could have known would put someone in risk of being seriously harmed. This would almost never lead to time in jail.
Neglegent - When the guilty party had no intention of harming anyone but knowingly acted in a manner that increased the probability that they may seriously harm or kill another individual. Examples: Falling asleep while driving an automobile by not pulling over when they felt tired. Driving an automobile at speeds in excess of what is generally considered safe.
Gross Neglegence - Example: Knowingly pointing a loaded gun at the victim without intending for the gun to go off. This would be a relatively serious crime.
Neglectful - When the guilty party neglects to help someone that they accidentally or neglegently hurt. Example: Running away from the scene of an accident leading to the victim's death. This would be a very serious charge.
Intentional - The guilty party had a definate intent to harm someone. This would be the most serious charge and would carry the heaviest punishment.
Defensive - The guilty party kills an individual believing that they or another person will likely be very seriously injured or killed by the individual if they do not act. This too would almost never lead to time in jail if there were no reasonable alternatives under the circumstances.
Aggravated - The guilty party loses their temper without too significant a reason and seriously harms another person leading to their death. This would be a serious charge as well.
Reasonably Aggravated - The guilty party loses their temper for a very understandable and sympathetic reason. This would not carry nearly as heavy a punishment. Example: A father harming the person who raped his daughter.
Each of these classifications would carry a significantly more substantial punishment if the intent to kill can be demonstrated. Furthermore, if the victim isn't killed but could have been, the guilty party would be charged with a crime based on the category above that the crime describes with the prefix "Attempted" attached to it and would face a slighly less severe punishment than had they succeded. The mental state and psychological development of the guilty party at the time of act as well as the amount of time that the individual had to decide to act in the manner that they did would be fundamentally key factors in determining the appropriate punishment. Thus human fallibility and momentary lapses either of judgment or sanity would be accounted for and lead to significantly less severe punishments.
The Role of Prisons Edit
The government has a duty to ensure that prisoners get equitable treatment during their stay. Bullying and such is to prevented through any reasonable means neccesary.
In the ideal society, Prisons primarily serve as institutions where individuals who are genuinely harmful to society are taken off the streets, reformed and reintegrated into society as productive self actualized individuals. To some extent, they also serve as punishment to discourage unlawful behavior, but the system is not about finding someone to blame for every bad thing that happens and locking them up. The primary purpose is nevertheless reform and it is thus imperative that prisoners do not endure any significant trauma or psychological damage during their stay as not doing so would run counter to this purpose.