Originally Posted by Moyank24
I'm starting to think that a liberal beat you up and stole your lunch money in elementary school.
I like how he overlooks the fact that Republicans share power and responsibility for the justice system in the United States. But somehow it's all the liberals fault.
Anyway ... here's a little rebuttal to thewitt's claim that the U.S. justice system is too soft.
U.S. Sentencing Laws Out of Step with the Rest of the World
Researchers found that the United States is in the minority of countries using several sentencing practices, such as life without parole, consecutive sentences, juvenile life without parole, juvenile transfer to adult courts, and successive prosecution of the same defendant by the state and federal government.
Mandatory minimum sentences for crimes and “three strikes” laws are used in the U.S. more widely than elsewhere in the world.
“It has long been understood that that U.S. sentences are much longer than those used in many other countries around the world. Our study comprehensively compiles the available statutory evidence for that assertion,” said Professor Connie de la Vega, Professor and Academic Director of International Programs at the University of San Francisco School of Law, and one of the authors of the report.
“The excessively punitive nature of criminal sentencing in the United States is at odds with its stated international human rights law obligations,” said Soo-Ryun Kwon, Senior Researcher at the Human Rights in Criminal Sentencing Project and one of the authors of the report. “These practices contradict not only these obligations but also what the vast majority of countries in the world have deemed to be just punishment for crimes.”
Fact Sheet for “Cruel and Unusual: U.S. Sentencing Practices in a Global Context”
The United States uses sentencing practices that are rarely used around the world.
- The United States is among only 20% of countries around the world having life without parole (LWOP) sentences. LWOP sentences can never be reviewed and condemn the convict to die in prison.
- The United States allows for LWOP sentences for a single, non-violent offense such as drug possession, whereas it is often restricted to multiple, violent crimes in other countries.
- The United States is one of only nine countries which have both the death penalty and LWOP, along with China, Comoros, Cuba, Israel, Kazakhstan, Lesotho, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe.
- There are currently over 41,000 prisoners serving LWOP sentences in the United States, compared to 59 in Australia, 41 in England, and 37 in the Netherlands. On a per capita basis, the United States LWOP population is 51 times Australia’s, 173 times England’s, and 59 times the Netherlands’.
- The United States is among only 21% of countries where judges have no discretion when sentencing recidivists and must issue mandatory increased penalties.
- The United States is among only 21% of countries around the world to issue uncapped consecutive sentences when there are multiple offenses from the same act.
- The U.S. mandatory minimum sentence for first-degree murder under federal law, life without parole, is the harshest compared to Western European countries, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, which set minimums from five years up to life with the possibility of parole.
- The United States, Canada, and Micronesia are the only federalist countries known to researchers allowing successive prosecution of the same defendant by federal and state governments for the same crime. The U.S. Department of Justice as a matter of policy recommends restraint for federal prosecutors when pursuing prosecution of individuals after state judgments. However, because this is a policy rather than a legal limitation on prosecutors, it lacks enforceability and therefore does little to remove ambiguity as to whether a defendant will endure successive prosecutions.
- Under international human rights law, if legislators pass a new law to lighten sentences, offenders have a right to benefit from it retroactively. Though 67% of countries have codified that right, the United States has not.
The United States treats children in the criminal justice system in ways they are not in the rest of the world.
- The committee overseeing implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), an international human rights treaty committing states to uphold the rights of children, recommends 12 to be the age at which a child can be held responsible for crimes. All countries of the world except the United States, Somalia, and South Sudan are states parties to the CRC. No state in the United States currently meets this suggested age. In contrast, the majority of countries (64%) set the minimum age at 12 or higher.
- The vast majority of countries (84%) account for the age of the offender at trial, leaving the United States in the minority of countries (16%) trying and sentencing children as adults.
- The United States is the only country in the world to use juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) sentences, with an estimated 2,594 juveniles offenders serving such sentences. The CRC expressly forbids JLWOP, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights has also been interpreted as prohibiting it. The committee overseeing states’ compliance with the Convention Against Torture, as well as the committee for the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, interpreted JLWOP as being incompatible with their respective treaties. Meanwhile, 65% of countries limit maximum sentences to 20 years or less or reduce the degree of the crime for juveniles.