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LETTERS: Finding suitable punishment for criminals is not easy

Editor:

Editor:

Re: It’s concerning how courts coddle criminals, Nov. 12

Beau Simpson’s column highlights a problem that every society greater than one person has had since the dawn of human history — what do you do with those members who can’t or won’t conform to the norms, who, for whatever reason, don’t follow the rules, steal, destroy, harm others, won’t or can’t contribute?

If murder (execution) is unthinkable the only other option is banishment. In small groups this is relatively easy; the spouse divorces, the company fires, the commune kicks out, the club votes out, the military dishonorably discharges. But what about whole countries? What can law-makers do to protect societies now that there are no longer places outside the country to banish ne’er-do-wells?

We’ve tried to solve the problem by banishing undesirables within. We incarcerate them. Fine. Now what? Lock ’em up, throw away the key, forget about ’em and pay as little as possible for their upkeep until they die?

Spare no expense at rehabilitation and send ’em out free and clear? Give ’em no rights at all or coddle ’em? The choice isn’t easy, especially in a democratic society like ours.

Edward Rubin, Ocean Park

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