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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Crime & Retribution

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This thought came to Walski today. For no particular reason, really. There seems to be a lot of whipping, or intentions of whipping, around lately. He read in today’s Borneo Post that a robber in Sandakan was sentenced to nine years jail and some whipping thrown in (print edition, page A9).

And then, of course, there’s the punishment of whipping for this chick who was caught drinking beer in Kuantan. For some reason, the husband, who was with her at the time wasn’t charged with anything – presumably because he either a) wasn’t having any beer, or b) is a Singaporean. Or all of the above.

In any case, we seem to love giving the whip as a means of punishment for crimes. Which, of course, brings to mind this 80’s classic.

You can watch Devo perform it here (the video had embedding disabled).

But the real question that popped up in Walski’s mind is this: when it comes to crime, is it more important, and effective: punishment, or rehabilitation?

Or put another way, when we punish, is it to rehabilitate, or is it an institutionalized form of retribution?  
(punishment or torture, and more, in the full post)

Don’t know what made Walski think along these lines, but once a thought pops up in his mind, it takes some effort to get it to move along someplace else. Blogging about it helps, too, maybe.

Incidentally, the Bahasa Malaysia translation of Penal Code is “Kanun Kesiksaan”, which when re-translated into English becomes Cannon of Torture. Institutionalized torture, in addition to retribution, almost.

Yes, a criminal committing a crime must be punished, no beef there. But once that’s over and done with, what guarantee is there that the ex-criminal will not go back to being a criminal, especially if that person doesn’t have any other useful skills? Apart from from the death penalty or life imprisonment, of course, since there hasn’t been a documented case of zombie crimes in Malaysia. Yet.

And since we’ve going down this train of thought, are the penalties in our Penal Code commensurate with the crimes, or are they over-the-top sometimes?

Lawyers reading this, your learned opinions, please – with electricity becoming more expensive soon, we need all the illumination we can get .

But seriously, what are your thoughts on this? And yes, non-lawyerly opinions are more than welcome, too.

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