Kenneth (kensmind) wrote in polloftheday,

Some hypotheticals about whether or not jail works

Behind the cut are three hypotheticals about whether you think people should be sent to jail for certain types of crime in certain circumstances. Are courts too soft on criminals, or is it a case of "there, but for the grace of God go I"? See how you would decide these.

Poll #1344254 Criminal Justice Hypotheticals

A woman calls the police, claiming to be assaulted by her husband. She is distraught when police arrive and gives police a statement saying that her husband choked her for a minute or so before letting her go. Police see red marks on her neck consistent with this. Six months later, when the matter comes to trial, she refuses to testify against her husband, saying that, even after reading her statement, she can't remember anything. She says that she loves him and he's really a good person. Should she be charged with a criminal offence for refusing to testify against him (such as perjury or obstruction of justice)?

Yes. She has cost the resources of the police and the courts, and is enabling an abuser without making him accountable.
Yes for some other reason.
No. If they've reconciled, then why add to their problems, and why victimize her further with a criminal charge?
No, for other reasons.
Hmm, that's a tough one, I can't really decide.

Police arrest Mr. and Mrs. Green for having a large marijuana grow operation in their basement. It's conceded that the Greens are just the "gardeners" who are paid a good buck to grow the crop. The marijuana is sold by someone higher up that the Greens refuse to identify for reasons of their own safety. The Greens have no criminal record. At their sentencing the prosecutor asks for them to be sent to jail while their lawyer asks that they serve the sentence at home on ankle bracelets. (Assume that these are the only two options). Should the Greens get a sentence of "real jail" (i.e. in a prison, not at home)?

Yes. Police use a lot of resources to bust grow ops. They harm the community by the violence and drug use they bring. A jail sentence is required to deter others like the Greens from helping organized crime.
Yes for other reasons
No. A jail sentence is out of proportion for what the Greens have done. These are tough economic times and you shouldn't send people to jail for trying to survive.
No for other reasons.
I can't decide which way to go here.

A 15 year old boy is arrested and charged with trafficking in cocaine, heroin and crystal meth. He is dealing at his school for a local gang. He has no previous record. His lawyer wants the prosecutor to drop the charge provided that the boy completes a counselling program and performs some community work service, all arranged by a local restorative justice program. Should the prosecutor agree to this?

Yes. It will hold the boy accountable, without dragging him into the criminal justice system where he is likely to get even more exposed to the criminal element and lifestyle.
Yes for other reasons.
No, it is too small a consequence for the harm done.
No for other reasons
I'm not sure what the prosecutor should do here.

Generally speaking do you believe that lengthy jail sentences deter offenders from committing crimes?

Yes, they certainly do
In most cases they do
Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't
They usually don't deter offenders
No, they are not a deterrant at all
I'm not sure if they do or if they don't
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