Thursday, November 09, 2006

What about Civil justice?

A section of Butchers Hill that I found very interesting was Mr. Beale’s description of his arrest and subsequent sentence and prison term. He continuously says that it was as if they were seeking him out. There are so many crimes in the city, and they got him not only for murder, but they even added to his charge because he wasn’t a licensed by the state for home improvements. In Mr. Beale’s description of his ordeal, it seems that the city wanted to make an example of him, to show that they don’t treat crime lightly, even for the aged.
This seems true in the city today as well. Teenagers are going to prison for minor crimes, such as marijuana possession or the possibility of being a drug-dealer. They are then carted into state prisons that have no sections for minor crimes, no levels of severity, but are completely mixed into the system, with rapists, murderers and thieves. This is a mistake and a very clear example of how our “rehabilitation systems” only create more criminals.
Although Lippman only touched on this topic briefly, I think that is a very important aspect of all cities. As our class discusses social justice and human rights, I think the idea of punishment and civil justice needs to come into the discussion. There is a serious problem in our civil court rooms and justice systems, Mr. Beale experience this. Now, we just need to find a way to solve them.