There are a variety of grants available in the field of social justice, juvenile justice and legal issues. Which got me thinking about crimes and the appropriate punishments for them in a perfect world.
Federal prosecutors have recently charged more than 50 individuals including parents in an elaborate scheme of bribes, money laundering, and document fabrication, in the now infamous “College Admission Scandal”. Flaunting their wealth and privilege for nearly a decade, 33 parents paid 25 million dollars to bypass proper admission standards. Actress Felicity Huffman served 11 days in Federal Prison after admitting guilt. Does the punishment of only 11 days, fit the crime? Would a regular guy receive a harsher sentence?
Living in the United States, we as citizens expect equal justice for all, yet we instinctively know that the reality can often fall far short of that lofty sentiment. So is “equal justice”, something that is in the eye of the beholder? How do we know when the punishment fits the crime? Does it ever?
In biblical times “an eye for an eye”, was the benchmark, and surprisingly this benchmark has been the basis of the the laws that have survived in the western world to this day. It does not mean vigilante justice. It clearly and specifically has been defined to mean that qualified and honest judges impose punishment that is appropriate; neither too lenient nor too harsh.
How does the the rest of world today approach the idea of justice meted out fairly using the concept of measure for measure? The countries of the world have shown a broad range and some truly astounding inconsistencies when it comes to assigning a just punishment for a crime. In the Philippines for example, a person who is apprehended with 1/3 of an once of illegal drugs is put to death. They have taken an- eye -for- eye, literally, and this is so blatantly opposed to what Americans believe.
In Singapore it is considered “hacking”, if you connect to another person’s wi-fi without their consent. It is punishable by a $10,000 fine and 3 years in jail. Littering such as tossing a cigarette can result in a $1000.00 fine. Selling gum in Singapore is a serious offense and smuggling gum into the country can earn the smugglers a fine of $100,000.00.
There are many examples of this form of “justice” or more accurately “injustice” throughout the world.
One can only assume that the intent of these harsh and outrageous laws is to create consequences that are so severe that any thought of violating these laws will totally be discouraged. Unfortunately, some people feel that these crazy laws are not so crazy, because they appear to work. Singapore is an unbelievably clean city and as you would imagine, there are very few drug issues in the Philippines. These countries have very successfully deterred the behavior of their citizens and their tourists, while trampling on their human rights.
The United States has a constitution and a bill of rights that guarantees so many freedoms. These rights need to be safeguarded and enforced equally.
The right of due process, the right to a fair trial, to seek redress, the right to petition, and the most importantly the presumption of innocence.
About the Author: Jake Tewel holds a Masters Degree from YU, a wine seller, caterer and a million miler for the past 15 years. Jake is a best friend, great neighbor, your go to travel person, father, grandfather and loving husband. He is now focusing his efforts on heart healthy nutrition, exercise and travel.