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Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by jkcerda, Apr 11, 2014.
what do you guys think?
I don't know the details of the program described, so, I will answer a different but related question.
In general, diversion programs are good, if they actually work, and, create less harm than the alternatives. It depends on a lot of things, including the harm done by the original offense. For example, in the case of "shoplifting", it is generally, but not universally, accepted that first offense shoplifters of small-value property should not get felony convictions and go to prison. Better to divert the first-time offender into a program where they get the idea that if they keep stealing they will go to jail, and eventually, to prison if they persist. Most people actually get the idea. So, as I said, it depends on the harm originally done, the intent, the circumstances.
For example, a "first-time" art thief who is caught stealing a Rembrandt from a high-security museum would probably not be eligible for a diversion program, considering that it is highly unlikely that the thief didn't realize the seriousness of what he was doing, had already highly-developed skills, and showed intent to steal knowingly something very valuable.
Bottom line: diversion programs can be a good thing, if properly handled.
Lots of things that are culturally acceptable in some cultures are illegal. Should children from some cultures get more legal justice than children from other cultures just because of the family they were born into? Doesn't sound fair.
When you ask it that way, it doesn't sound "fair". But, this isn't a contest. And, intent is important. In the example I gave, there is an obvious difference in intent between a kid who steals candy on a dare, and, a very knowledgeable burglar. Justice distinguishes between the two.
To give you an artificial example, suppose you are a visitor from Germany driving your Mercedes on a freeway in Montana. You read that speed limits in Montana are flexible. As far as you know, the freeway looks like the Autobahn, but, with a lot fewer cars. Yet, you get stopped anyway for going 130 MPH. What was the intent?
In general, if you can divert people from the criminal justice system who are amenable to being educated, and there was not much harm, diversion can be a good thing. It is a lot cheaper for taxpayers, too.
I can buy that. It's a very interesting debate. I've never even heard of this being done.