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Deportation as an answer to crime?

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In my wreckless musings the thought occurred to me that perhaps the most effective justice system (effective as in lowering crime rates, including reoffending) would be to offer criminals a choice:

a) serve your jail time

or

:thumbsup: leave our society/country

Prison time is often thought of as being 'rehabilitative' anyway, but I think it's clear that many of the inmates will not subscribe to that, or they will not subscribe to that sincerely, or they will just flat out disagree with their incarceration. This leaves a problem for the rest of us, we who can abide by civilized laws - we are forced to deal with others who do not respect those laws. In contrast, if a criminal opts to serve jail time rather than face deportation, it would be a good indicator that they have come to respect and value the law, and are therefore a better prospect to the rest of society upon release.

This was my thinking - and then I remembered that deportation/transportation was already practiced by powers like France and Britain. Would anyone be able to shed light on the history of this practice (the optionality is an important point), and any theory or philosophy elucidating its merits and flaws?

I realize there are many questions implied by the original premise - isn't it dangerous to release some criminals (terrorists/gangsters), how could we stop them getting back in, where could we send them, etc.

I also recall a few science fiction films with the premise of a penal colony/island run by barbaric factions and guarded by state military, which portrayed them as inhumane but of course the prisoners had no choice but to go there and fight for survival. Besides, I think they exaggerated.

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In my wreckless musings the thought occurred to me that perhaps the most effective justice system (effective as in lowering crime rates, including reoffending) would be to offer criminals a choice:

a) serve your jail time

or

:thumbsup: leave our society/country

As long as there's a way to make the borders as safe as a Supermax, and you're fine with Mexico offering the same choice to Cartel hitmen in Tijuana, sure.

This was my thinking - and then I remembered that deportation/transportation was already practiced by powers like France and Britain. Would anyone be able to shed light on the history of this practice (the optionality is an important point), and any theory or philosophy elucidating its merits and flaws?

Have you read Papillon?

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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As long as there's a way to make the borders as safe as a Supermax, and you're fine with Mexico offering the same choice to Cartel hitmen in Tijuana, sure.

Have you read Papillon?

No I have not read that.

So are you actually saying that if it could be practically implemented (put the criminals somewhere or someway that stops them coming back), you'd agree?

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So are you actually saying that if it could be practically implemented (put the criminals somewhere or someway that stops them coming back), you'd agree?
What advantage do you see? Is it the cost of keeping people in jail vs. the cost of transporting them to (say) Devil's island? or, is it something other than cost?
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To begin with deportation is the act of expelling an alien. When a citizen is expelled it's called exile.

As to an asnwer, what country would be mad enough to accept large numbers of criminals? Any country has to accept a deportee who is a citizen of that country, but none have to take in exiles.

You could go the Devil's Island route and build prisons in far away territories that are good for nothing else and ahve unpleasant living conditions. Or you could go the Australia route and set up penal colonies, but there are no countries or territories willing to become colonies any more.

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What advantage do you see? Is it the cost of keeping people in jail vs. the cost of transporting them to (say) Devil's island? or, is it something other than cost?

Of course it's not cost. The advantage is the criminal explicitly admits the value of civilization and willingly undergoes the penalty of breaking the law - making it their re-acceptance into society a much better prospect.

At the moment criminals are offered no alternative to the civilization they find themselves in (and it's prison system) so it's not surprising they don't value it or take it for granted. Offering the option would prompt a more rational analysis and therefore ultimately a better morality.

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To begin with deportation is the act of expelling an alien. When a citizen is expelled it's called exile.

As to an asnwer, what country would be mad enough to accept large numbers of criminals? Any country has to accept a deportee who is a citizen of that country, but none have to take in exiles.

You could go the Devil's Island route and build prisons in far away territories that are good for nothing else and ahve unpleasant living conditions. Or you could go the Australia route and set up penal colonies, but there are no countries or territories willing to become colonies any more.

Hmm but exile seems to suggest a temporary situation.

Anyway, being that no other country would accept them, the only option would be a faraway island. The prisoners might escape with difficulty and try and re-enter the country of origin - but we already deal with that sort of problem. Alternatively they might escape to a nearby country, but arguably that is none of our concern.

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No I have not read that.

So are you actually saying that if it could be practically implemented (put the criminals somewhere or someway that stops them coming back), you'd agree?

No, I was being sarcastic. There is no "somewhere" to put criminals, and there is no way of stopping them from coming back.

Papillon is a great read though, about French prison colonies, at Devil's Island. There's a Steve McQueen movie about it, but the book is better.

Of course it's not cost. The advantage is the criminal explicitly admits the value of civilization and willingly undergoes the penalty of breaking the law - making it their re-acceptance into society a much better prospect.

At the moment criminals are offered no alternative to the civilization they find themselves in (and it's prison system) so it's not surprising they don't value it or take it for granted. Offering the option would prompt a more rational analysis and therefore ultimately a better morality.

I think having the government educate citizens about morality is what caused the current moral crisis. What you're suggesting has a very 1984 feel to it. It's definitely contrary to Objectivism, which holds that the government should be limited to enforcing individual rights.

Hmm but exile seems to suggest a temporary situation.

Anyway, being that no other country would accept them, the only option would be a faraway island. The prisoners might escape with difficulty and try and re-enter the country of origin - but we already deal with that sort of problem. Alternatively they might escape to a nearby country, but arguably that is none of our concern.

It is our concern, if we don't want those other countries to start doing the same exact thing.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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At the moment criminals are offered no alternative to the civilization they find themselves in (and it's prison system) so it's not surprising they don't value it or take it for granted.

Do you think prisons are civilized places?

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I think having the government educate citizens about morality is what caused the current moral crisis. What you're suggesting has a very 1984 feel to it. It's definitely contrary to Objectivism, which holds that the government should be limited to enforcing individual rights.

Hmm I think it's disingenuous to call what I proposed the government 'educating' the citizens on morality. There is no program of education here - I'm talking about presenting a simple choice: serve the jail time, or take your chances outside civilization.

It is our concern, if we don't want those other countries to start doing the same exact thing.

If they all did the same exact thing, it might be better for everyone (ie. if most criminals did come round to the idea of respecting the law and crime rates dropped)

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Leaving criminals free to continue to commit crimes elsewhere is massively irresponsible. You might as well not bother enforcing the law to begin with.

If you put people in prison you need to pay for their sustenance. If the prison system does not reform them you do not get any value in return (having rational people in your society to cooperate with is a value)

If you put them out of reach, you do not need to worry about them, and they have only the life/ethics they chose to blame for their plight

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You should try visiting one someday, or talk to someone who has.

Prisons provide food, water, light, heat, clothing, electricity, playing fields, medicine etc. They are part of civilization. Compare this to being out in the wilderness with nothing except what you can fashion from the land.

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Prisons provide food, water, light, heat, clothing, electricity, playing fields, medicine etc. They are part of civilization. Compare this to being out in the wilderness with nothing except what you can fashion from the land.

Sure, so does a high-density feedlot. Doesn't mean the steers behave in there.

Look, you won't exile convicts to the wilderness, but to other countries. All of which have an abundance of food, water, electricity, manufactured goods and even medical care. So what's your point?

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Hmm I think it's disingenuous to call what I proposed the government 'educating' the citizens on morality.

The only reason you gave for your proposal is that it would make the citizens more moral. It's not disingenuous, it's accurate.

If they all did the same exact thing, it might be better for everyone (ie. if most criminals did come round to the idea of respecting the law and crime rates dropped)

You've just repeated your assertion, without addressing anyone's objections. As a result, I can't continue the conversation, because I no longer believe that you posted yout OP mainly because you are seeking knowledge or answers. Bye.

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The only reason you gave for your proposal is that it would make the citizens more moral. It's not disingenuous, it's accurate.

John Galt offered the population the choice between 'getting out of his way' or doing without his inventions/services. Accepting the former being a moral step forward for the citizens. This is the population offering the same choice to its enemies. How you got from there to 1984 I've got no idea.

You've just repeated your assertion, without addressing anyone's objections. As a result, I can't continue the conversation, because I no longer believe that you posted yout OP mainly because you are seeking knowledge or answers. Bye.

I am quite happy to discontinue this conversation with you. From the outset I got the distinct impression you had not read my original post in full before responding, as you made an objection I myself raised nearer the end of the post. You also do not seem to have read the posts where I've been trying my best to address other objections.

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Two people could find themselves in the deepest, densest jungle and act towards each other in a benevolent, 'civilized' manner, but they are not in civilization. They are not enjoying the advantages/purpose of civilization, namely the practical adaptation of natural resources.

All countries have different practical considerations. For the United States, having totally secure borders is virtually impossible. But for a country like, say, Malta - they can easily protect their small coastline from unwarranted landings, and so could expel criminals from their island without worrying about criminals from other countries being shored up.

Historically there have been uninhabited places, and in the future maybe there will be again - so it's interesting to put the practical considerations aside (practical from today's perspective) and wonder about the more theoretical aspects of the proposal. Besides, there are definitely islands that could be use from which the chances of self-engineered escape are negligible. Has no one seen Lost??!

I think from an Objectivist perspective it appeals because firstly tax money is spent on maintaining prisons - but why should we provide sustenance for our enemies? Secondly it would somewhat absolve the responsibilities of punishing justly without over-punishing (it's always a gray area). Thirdly, most importantly, it prompts an rational analysis of the benefits of civilization and honourable behaviour, which is what a lot of Objectivist literature seeks to do anyway.

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My sister has used a similar statement when arguing with socialists in the US: if you don't like it, go elsewhere. The main problem I see is the implications: it's not ok to do that here, but it's ok if you do it elsewhere. Any crime with jail time as a punishment (except the drug-related ones) is not ok elsewhere, either: so why hint that it is? It seems counter-productive. You may achieve the short-term goal of a society that respects the law, but you will not achieve one that respects individual rights, nor will you achieve a rights-respecting global society even if other countries participate.

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My sister has used a similar statement when arguing with socialists in the US: if you don't like it, go elsewhere. The main problem I see is the implications: it's not ok to do that here, but it's ok if you do it elsewhere. Any crime with jail time as a punishment (except the drug-related ones) is not ok elsewhere, either: so why hint that it is? It seems counter-productive. You may achieve the short-term goal of a society that respects the law, but you will not achieve one that respects individual rights, nor will you achieve a rights-respecting global society even if other countries participate.

Surely the respect for the law is synonymous with individual rights (or at least it should be from the Objectivist viewpoint).

I agree it might be construed as saying 'it's ok to do that, just not here,' ie. construed as partly sanctioning the activity. But it's not really... it's like if you had a friend who insulted someone gravely, and you said 'if you don't apologize to that person, I can no longer be your friend.' Which is different from saying 'hey, if you're going to insult people, don't do it when I'm around.' Really complete dissociation with someone is ultimately the most disapproving measure you can take.

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  • 1 year later...

In my wreckless musings the thought occurred to me that perhaps the most effective justice system (effective as in lowering crime rates, including reoffending) would be to offer criminals a choice:

a) serve your jail time

or

:thumbsup: leave our society/country

Prison time is often thought of as being 'rehabilitative' anyway, but I think it's clear that many of the inmates will not subscribe to that, or they will not subscribe to that sincerely, or they will just flat out disagree with their incarceration. This leaves a problem for the rest of us, we who can abide by civilized laws - we are forced to deal with others who do not respect those laws. In contrast, if a criminal opts to serve jail time rather than face deportation, it would be a good indicator that they have come to respect and value the law, and are therefore a better prospect to the rest of society upon release.

This was my thinking - and then I remembered that deportation/transportation was already practiced by powers like France and Britain. Would anyone be able to shed light on the history of this practice (the optionality is an important point), and any theory or philosophy elucidating its merits and flaws?

I realize there are many questions implied by the original premise - isn't it dangerous to release some criminals (terrorists/gangsters), how could we stop them getting back in, where could we send them, etc.

I also recall a few science fiction films with the premise of a penal colony/island run by barbaric factions and guarded by state military, which portrayed them as inhumane but of course the prisoners had no choice but to go there and fight for survival. Besides, I think they exaggerated.

I think we could very reasonably justify returning people to a state of nature who habitually violate the rights of others, which is the only way I can see someone breaking the law in an Objectivist system. Men leave the state of Nature for the benefits of society. So if criminals habitually or grossly violate the rights of individuals within society, then I think members of society have the right to withdraw their support (in the form of a jury possibly) and return those criminals to a state of nature.

Cost analysis:

AC130 to carry about 100 prisoners: a few million dollars

Need it anyway to move cargo: - a few million dollars

Parachutes: about $500/prisoner

Fuel needed to detour AC130 on their way to pick up cargo: $700-1000 maybe

Air dropping criminals far away from our society and returning them to a state of Nature: priceless

Very Cheap... Relatively speaking.

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  • 4 months later...

I personally have always seen prisoners as a burden to society. They eat sleep and live for nothing. We pay for them. Is this fair? Would not a better solution be some kind of forced labour? Something in manufacturing, or road building, etc.? Why not, instead of a sentence, impose a "bill", which the criminal must pay of before being released. With the right calculations this could mean they were incarcerated for the correct period of time, and were being beneficial to society. You could even go so far as to allow them to be treated as a "resource" for hire by corporations in need of menial labour.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think a better solution would be to give the option for prisoners to live on an island on their own with only natural materials, and have maybe one or two small coastal patrol craft shoot anyone trying to leave on a raft. let them run their own society and televise the whole thing on pay per view to offset the cost of shipping and the small boats.

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