1. The concept behind criminal justice is that there must be consequences for wrongdoing, that we must punish people in order to discourage them from doing certain actions. However, this same concept is used to motivate many types of crime. Murdering your wife for cheating on you, for example, can seem perfectly acceptable under our standard concept of justice, because adultery can cause a partner tremendous pain and people feel there must be consequences for causing such pain. Vengeance; or, as the criminal sees it, justice.
2. Criminals often commit crime as a result of distaste for society, or a sense that society somehow owes them, be that because they were abused, or grew up very poor, or simply because they are selfish. Regardless of why they feel society owes them, putting a person like this in jail or otherwise purposefully making them suffer, can make them even more bitter toward society.
3. Criminal justice sets a precedent that places human actions into two black and white categories, legal and illegal, or good and evil, which distracts people from the important subtleties involved in being a truly good person.
4. Criminal justice provides criminals with a free way to avoid feelings of guilt. Churches used to sell pardons for future offenses so people could commit sins without feeling guilty; in the same way, criminal justice allows criminals to feel as though they did not do anything wrong, or at least feel as though everything is even, simply because they did their time or paid their fines. This can negate many of the natural crime fighting effects of guilt.
5. In a society based on criminal justice the population can come to view moral values as being synonymous with legal and illegal, even if it’s only a subconscious opinion. If something is wrong, then it’s illegal, and vice versa. This idea causes people to look toward police, judges, and politicians to decide what is right and wrong, but at the same time, politicians and police are merely trying to represent the views of society, and you reach a point where no one is making conscious decisions about what concepts of right and wrong should look like, and our laws and the morals of society become a matter of circumstance rather than logic.
6. Laws can be easily manipulated with money. Large corporations can influence the public to support a change to the law through expensive advertising, or can directly manipulate politicians with financial deals, financial threats, or simple bribery. They can also influence police directly to enforce certain laws over others. This creates a situation where corporations are seen as more important than the common person, and are given preferential treatment by law enforcement.
7. The rule of law and order can give people a false sense of security and make people feel as though they do not need to be on the lookout for scams or thieves, and do not need to take measures to protect themselves. As a result, many people have a hard time judging the trustworthiness of others and make themselves more inviting targets for criminals, creating more opportunities for criminal behavior.
8. A criminal justice system forces certain segments of the population to learn to hide and lie in order to avoid being caught. Without criminal justice, many individuals would be allowed to talk about their mistakes without fear of retribution, and would be more likely to get help for their problems.
9. Since criminal justice forces segments of the population to hide and lie, these individuals are forced to learn certain tricks to become better liars, and as a result, become better criminals.
10. Since the criminal segment of society has learned to hide and lie about their actions, society can come to a situation where the general population is unaware of just how common certain criminal problems might be, and therefore have less information to work with when they are directly confronted with such issues.
11. In a society ruled by law, people often view others as being either good or bad. Certain people are good, law abiding, and others are criminals, who are often seen as lesser people, and can be treated as though they do not have value as human beings. This serves to reduce their self-esteem and contributes to the very emotional problems that caused them to commit crime in the first place.
12. When certain people are charged with upholding the law—in our case, police and judges—the rest of the population can come to feel as though it is not their responsibility to enforce moral standards, and therefore are less likely to intervene when they see another individual doing something they view as being morally wrong.
13. Putting large quantities of people with criminal behavior patterns in the same area, i.e. a jail or prison, gives them the opportunity to compare notes and become better criminals.
14. Children are taught about the criminal justice system at a very young age; are taught that certain people are sent to prison, essentially to suffer. This teaches children how to turn off their compassion for certain segments of the population, and teaches them that in certain situations, it is actually morally wrong to have compassion for another human being.
15. Criminal justice causes general fear in society. Many good, law abiding individuals are afraid of police, afraid of saying the wrong thing when a cop pulls them over or are afraid of being wrongfully accused of something, or are afraid of a certain action being blown out of proportion. A society in fear is not a society at peace.
16. Quite frequently the penalties of a crime are more damaging than the crime itself. Drug laws, for example, destroy significantly more lives than drugs. And we’ve all heard about other legal situations where people are arrested for silly things that don’t really affect society. This leads many people to feel abused by society.
17. Police are sometimes forced, through the simple logistical situations involved in their jobs, to point their guns at, or otherwise threaten the lives of innocent people. No cop can tell with perfect accuracy whether a person is a criminal or will exhibit criminal activities, so they use force and threats of violence against innocent people. This does not bring those people the feeling of a peaceful society.
18. Police often use profiling as a standard method of narrowing down suspects, as, statistically speaking, it is a very effective process. The problem is that this places labels on certain types of people that are then referenced in the rest of society, and we begin seeing every teenager with a nose ring as a shoplifter. This creates fear where it does not need to be, and also creates the opportunity for self-fulfilling prophecies, where certain people behave in a certain way because society has told them that is how they are supposed to behave.
19. The standard behind a criminal justice system is forceful detainment and punishment of wrongdoers. There is no standard step where people talk to the criminal, find out why the criminal committed the illegal action, explain to the criminal why the laws are in place, or offer emotional or other psychological support. You can argue that this step must be skipped because too many criminals will not respond to communication, but that begs the question, what about the criminals that would respond? Are we not missing a great opportunity to turn many of them around in a more peaceful and cost-effective manner?
20. The fact that the communication process is skipped in our criminal justice system can set a precedent for society that implies that it’s okay, or even that it’s the right thing to do to skip the communication step in many of our problems in real life. A parent might be encouraged to put all of their faith in punishments and never bother to talk to their children; a boss may get the idea that yelling and threatening layoffs is the best way to obtain a reliable workforce; and friends having a fight might decide that a punch in the face is more effective and proper than talking about their feelings.
21. The concept of justice implies that people should be punished when they hurt another person; that the victims have a right to feel that satisfying sense of justice; however, there are many situations where people are harmed, either through legal means, such as adultery or child neglect, or through illegal means that are never caught. These victims never gain that feeling of justice as society has taught them they deserve, and thereby increases the emotional harmfulness of the original crime.
22. Without a criminal justice system, there would still be many reasons to be a good person. There are spiritual reasons, social reasons, emotional reasons, logical and practical reasons. When we rely on a criminal justice system, and teach our children that we cannot have peace without artificially created consequences, then we are teaching them that the real and natural consequences either do not exist, or are not important.
23. People often make a game out of committing crimes and not getting caught. It can be quite fun to evade the police and “get away” with things. This is the primary motivation for many types of vandalism, and occasionally much greater crimes.
24. Criminals have a harder time finding jobs and feel more discrimination in society, which doesn’t make them feel as though society cares about them, and thereby increases their likelihood of recommitting.
25. Police forces are run as businesses, taking fees from a wide range of crimes. Even larger crimes that do not produce an overall profit for the police force, still provide job security for the individuals involved. Highway infractions, drug arrests and domestic violence, however, bring a steady flow of cash into the criminal justice system and that money provides no incentive for anyone to make a long lasting change.
26. Criminals can often become comfortable with jail. Prison is a very social environment and for certain individuals, the structure and lack of a need to make your own decisions can be rather desirable.
27. Prisons and other forms of ‘justice’ give people a socially acceptable venue to take pleasure in the suffering of others, which sets a precedent that allows that concept to bleed into other areas of life.
28. People can occasionally become more accepting of certain minor crimes because they feel that the only way to deal with it is to involve the police, and feel that the “criminal” in the situation is not so bad as to deserve that. This is obviously the case with things such as jay-walking or pot smoking, but is also a widely unrecognized factor that accounts for many of the rapes and instances of child molestation and abuse that go frequently unreported in our society.
29. Creating a criminal justice system that is so prominent can draw attention to crime, even when crime is rare, and make it more terrifying for the general public.
30. The attention one gains from a criminal record can make the experience of facing charges appealing, or at least acceptable to certain segments of the population. Certain gangs view a prison term with a sense of pride. And we have all heard the old cliché that girls love bad-boys. As an example, Ted Bundy had many female admirers who attended his trials and sent him wedding proposals. This occurs on lesser levels as well, where many people in society are attracted to people with a criminal history for the feeling of danger or interest. Criminals are generally interesting people.
31. The consistent three meals a day, a reliable roof over your head, and no requirements to work, can actually be a reward for many criminals, especially the homeless.
32. The theory that people would have no reason to be good and that society would collapse without a system of criminal justice implies to the public that crime is a rational behavior.
33. The theory that society cannot survive without criminal justice also reinforces the idea that people are powerless to stop their criminal urges.
34. Laws that are difficult or impossible to enforce create a lack of respect for the law, and in turn, create a lack of respect for general social concepts of right and wrong.
35. Regardless of their past actions, the things that occur in a prison are physically, emotionally and spiritually degrading. Regardless of how much a person might “deserve it” the experience is still degrading, and while you may argue that it instills them with a logical desire to become peaceful, that kind of degradation, fear, and humiliation will never instill a human being with an emotional or spiritual desire to be a good person.