Destroying Lives Based on Time of Day


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Someone sent this around an email chain today, kind of as a joke about wanting to only work half days. This is an article about “decision fatigue”, the idea that if you make tons of decisions in a day you just kinda get worn out and your brain just doesn’t want to keep going. It’s an interesting idea, but my point has nothing to do with this.

Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue? – NYTimes.com.

The article is talking about a parole board in Israel who judged the prisoners, not by what they had done or how they had improved, but by what time of day they appeared for their hearing.

Prisoners who appeared early in the morning received parole about 70 percent of the time, while those who appeared late in the day were paroled less than 10 percent of the time.

Now think about that. This isn’t just one judge. This article is talking about a trend in human thinking, something that may be affecting all judges and parole boards all over the world. 70 percent versus 10 percent. That’s a ridiculously big difference, and when you’re dealing with human lives you’re talking about phenomenal levels of unfairness. If you compare black and white people going to parole boards I doubt you would see a difference that huge. Why is race-based unfairness such a horrible crime but time-based unfairness is just a light-hearted side note?

What I find amazing is that we can have these kind of articles and information printed for all to read and yet people still try to tell me that criminal justice is fair.

There was nothing malicious or even unusual about the judges’ behavior.

Seriously? Nothing unusual? And sure it wasn’t malicious but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s cruel, wrong, and makes a mockery of our sense of justice and fairness. (Upon re-reading this, I remembered that putting people in prison is inherently malicious. That’s the whole point. It’s designed to make people suffer.)

It’s funny too that the New York Times can start off an article describing a horrible injustice, but because it’s an injustice against criminals they just move on to the psychology and how it affects our lives, never stopping to care about the human lives. I think this really illuminates society’s total lack of compassion for anyone labeled, for whatever reason, a criminal. We don’t even see them as people. How can we seriously expect them to reform and have respect for society when we treat them like this?

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