This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comment

← Malaysia canes women for adultery

daftness's Avatar Jump to comment 42 by daftness

@Russel Blackford

I agree with your concerns over how we choose to punish certain groups in society. And the unintended consequences that flow from the decisions we take in even determining what should be deemed as criminal and worthy of punishment.

Jails are brim full of people who ought not to be there and whose future life will be damaged beyond all ability to return to a normal life, as a direct consequence of imprisonment. This is bad for the individual and bad for society.

As you say, Russel, it is not easy to see what else we can do instead, but I believe we need to consider alternatives for the better of everyone.

I would never advocate caning as an alternative to prison. But when you do the thought experiment asking what punishment is in fact more cruel - caning or extended loss of liberty - the answer is not so clear cut as my intuition and automatic revulsion to the idea first suggested.

This site can make your head hurt with people like Russel asking you to think the unthinkable.

Sun, 21 Feb 2010 13:38:00 UTC | #442745