6 thoughts on “Outdated Ideas About Violent Crime Hurt Victims and Trap Offenders

  1. ‘Valerie Gaiter, the 21-year-old, was convicted of two counts of robbery and two counts of second-degree murder. Almost 40 years later, she’s still technically a “violent offender.” ‘

    I’d say that someone who murders two people in their own apartment is a violent offender. It looks like the goal of the left is not to put anyone in prison, not even for murder.

    • I don’t think that’s the idea.

      There’s no denying that what Gaiter did — and what other people convicted of murder, rape, assault and the like did — was violent, horrifically so. The question is whether, having committed such an act many, many years ago, she still poses a unique threat to society. The label “violent offender” and the way violent offenders are discussed in the conversation about criminal justice reform suggests that she does. Research indicates the opposite is likely true: The most violent offenders are relatively unlikely to re-offend.

      There is a general recognition now that lengthy prison sentences are a foolish response to most non-violent crimes, and that different thinking about how we respond to crime is warranted. The issue here is whether there is any practical or moral justification for not extending that re-think to violent crime as well.

      It’s not about downgrading the offense, but about being smart about how we deal with the offender. Just because “lock them up and throw away the key” is our traditional response to people who draw blood does not mean it is the best one for victims or for society.

  2. Thank you Mr. Murphy,

    If I may, I would like to take this discussion one step further. In the world of Violent and Non-Violent Offenses, we need to also recognize that not all violent crimes are the same. There is a difference between “ACTUAL” violence ( which can be said about the Gaiter case ) and cases that have the “POTENTIAL” for violence such as most “ARMED ROBBERIES and EVENING BURGLARIES.” The classification of Violent Felony in most States has more to do with elements within the crime which could lead to the “Potential” for violence, than “Actual” violence itself. Unfortunately, the “VIOLENT OFFENDER” classification (as the Article explains ) carries with it much harsher sentences, which includes severe “post release” CIVIL PENALTIES. It is a scientifically proven “FACT” that Violent Offenders such as those who commit Murder are much less likely to reoffend. This is to say, that people who commit even the crime of “Murder” ( which in our society is considered the ultimate crime of violence ) are empirically proven to be less likely to “EVER” commit that crime again. This is why many Social Scientist are advocating for the removal of the stigma of “FELON” after the person completes their sentence. What is the difference between a person who approaches you with a Gun, request your money and anything else of value, then runs away; a person that breaks into your apartment in the late evening hours and removes your belongings; a serial Rapist who raped over 10 woman, and a home invasion that concluded in the vicious stabbing murders of 2 elderly individuals ( as in the case of Rose and Louis Feit). According to New York State and most other States Penal Code, there is “NO” difference. You are henceforth and “FOREVER” branded a “Violent Felon,” which ushers in the most punitive and “PERMANENT” Civil Death Penalties since the European Renaissance. The Constitutional “RIGHT” to purchase and bear Arms is permanently removed as if it was just a mere “PRIVILEGE in the first place.” The most extreme work restrictions are implemented. Jobs in “LAW ENFORCEMENT, EDUCATION, AIRPORTS, SEAPORTS, MARINER JOBS, HEALTHCARE ( Hospitals, Nursing Homes) and any positions which are considered to be working with “VULNERABLE POPULATIONS” or be positions of “TRUST” are “PERMANENTLY” restricted. The “ARGUMENT” must be made and “WON” that if a sentence is “not” a “LIFE” sentence. There should be “NO” lifetime Civil Penalties “after” the persons sentence is complete.

    Eric M. Deadwiley (AUTHOR)
    CIVIL DEATH IN NEW YORK STATE

  3. The recent emergence of a “victim” industry and the demands of victims and survivors to be heard at every step is in the process of negating the statement that victims have been left out of the discussion. This is especially true when the crime was of a sexual nature, and that phenomena doesn’t have much to do with the violent or non-violent issue. Family members and supporters of the victims scream for blood and demand impeachment of judges who don’t give lengthy sentences to even those convicted of statutory offenses where the victim was a willing participant but below the age of legal consent, which in some states is 18.

  4. When we start prosecuting our leaders who engaged in acts of torture and homicide, who hide or destroy the evidence of it, then I will say we are serious about ending violence. If the highest among us get a free pass, how can we expect the lowest among us to know any better?

  5. Pingback: Video Brief: Do ‘Violent Criminals’ Need to be a Bigger Part of Justice Reform? – Mediasota

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