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lupinx-Kassman

Innocent person imprisoned, compared to a guilty person set free

Which do you believe is worst?  

57 members have voted

  1. 1. Which do you believe is worst?

    • An innocent person imprisoned.
      54
    • A guilty person set free.
      3


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This seems to be a popular question, so I thought I might as well make a poll about it. Which do you believe is worst? An innocent person imprisoned, or a guilty person set free?

In my opinion, an innocent person being imprisoned would be a greater tragedy. A guilty man being set free has a chance (albeit small) to perhaps improve his act after having received the punishment, but an innocent man has simply lost his freedom due to error. What do you think?

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Shit, I voted for the wrong one.

I think the general opinion on the matter would be that an innocent person imprisoned would be worse, but if you ask the victim or family of a victim, they would probably be more geared toward someone be put away, and not necessarily the right person.

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Guilty of what? If they were some crazy murderer with no regrets, then I'd rather pick the innocent person to be imprisoned.

Or if they were to let Kent Hovind free.

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It's not a black and white (or binary or whatever) question, it depends too much on not only guilty of what, but also how long imprisonment, what are the prison living conditions like, the innocent person's normal living conditions, social relationships and a ton of other stuff like.

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Espi said:

Guilty of what? If they were some crazy murderer with no regrets, then I'd rather pick the innocent person to be imprisoned.

What assurance do we have that putting the innocent in jail will prevent the guilty one -- who is not in jail because there's an innocent in his stead -- to keep committing crimes?

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Gez said:

What assurance do we have that putting the innocent in jail will prevent the guilty one -- who is not in jail because there's an innocent in his stead -- to keep committing crimes?

Well that depends, again. What's the innocent person imprisoned for? If there's some pothead loose, then that's not too worrysome. If it's another crazy murderer, then things change.

In short, this question is stupid. =p

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If an innocent person goes to prison, that means a guilty person has gone free. If, in our zeal to lock away criminals, we send innocent people to jail, guilty people are still going free, but now a) innocent people are being punished and b) there is no effort to capture the guilty party, as it is believed the guilty party is already in prison. A serial killer on the loose is bad enough, but it's even worse when you believe that you've already caught him.

So basically - being overzealous doesn't prevent criminals from going free, and in fact is actually worse because it means we let criminals go free AND punish the innocent.

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I can only see one way out of this dilemma - rendition to third-world hellholes where confessions can be extracted from innocent and guilty alike. Once those confessions have been rubber-stamped by the courts - lock them up and throw away the key.

"Kill them all; for the Lord knoweth them that are His" - Arnaud Amalric

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The innocent person shouldn't have had so much evidence going against them.

Having said that, I do so hate when the wrong people are punished.

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EarthQuake said:
Shit, I voted for the wrong one.

Same here. I voted without checking the question thinking it was a "what do you prefer" question. But I corrected our two votes.

GreyGhost said:
I can only see one way out of this dilemma - rendition to third-world hellholes where confessions can be extracted from innocent and guilty alike.

You don't need extraordinary rendition to a crippled African or Asian country. Just assume they're "terrists" and you can mark them as guilty and send them to an obscure facility manned by a 1st world country, for perhaps having thought of committing some atrocity at some point or because you saw a picture of them with a towel wrapped around their head.

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The innocent should be spared and the guilty should be punished. Unfortunatly, Justice seems to turn a blind eye and make the worst mistakes. It's usually because of misleading evidence, incompetent laywers, or evil prosecutors. *Plays Pheonix Wright on the DS*

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myk said:

Just assume they're "terrists" and you can mark them as guilty . . . because you saw a picture of them with a towel wrapped around their head.

Terrists? How many are wearing bomb vests?

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I don't know what to pick in all honesty.

Espi said:

Or if they were to let Kent Hovind free.


Cheap shot.

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I read the poll wrong and voted the second one but I actually think an innocent person getting imprisoned is worse.

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MasterOfPuppets said:

well if an innocent person is imprisoned than the guilty party is still free. how is this even debatable?


Well, a more exact way to ask the question would be: "In the pursuit of legal justice, when it is uncertain whether someone on trial has actually committed a crime or not, is it better to imprison him despite the chance that he's innocent, or to acquit him despite the chance that he's guilty?" This is very debatable, but the justice systems of most societies consider the imprisonment of an innocent man as a greater tragedy.

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Lord_Z said:
I read the poll wrong and voted the second one but I actually think an innocent person getting imprisoned is worse.

Fixed for great justice!

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well if an innocent person is imprisoned then the person who did the crime goes unpunished. that's two "wrongs" - and as our mothers used to tell us two wrongs don't make a right. whereas a guilty man going free (avoiding conviction) is just one injustice.

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See you say that but, what if the innocent person is a bit of a shit anyway? And the guilty person has just failed to pay 17 parking tickets, as opposed to being a child killer?

Art thou waters not muddied by the comparison?

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pritch said:

See you say that but, what if the innocent person is a bit of a shit anyway? And the guilty person has just failed to pay 17 parking tickets, as opposed to being a child killer?

Art thou waters not muddied by the comparison?


Yes, but balancing that out is the chance that the real killer wasn't ever going to kill again anyways, and might even be made more likely to commit more crimes if he's locked up with criminals for a decade.

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What if the innocent person is an avid FPS player who's starting to fantasize about killing someone for real? Locking them away - even if by mistake - could be considered "Crime Prevention".

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GreyGhost said:
Locking them away - even if by mistake - could be considered "Crime Prevention".

You'd lock them up in a mental institution maybe, if you could tell they're crazy, and not in prison.

The question isn't generally about possibilities; it's about whether you should use more solid evidence tending to prove the crime in question or condemn people on looser grounds just in case they might be guilty.

What's "fantasize about killing people for real" anyway? It seems like a pretty common thing. Man, I think I've done it myself.

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GreyGhost said:

What if the innocent person is an avid FPS player who's starting to fantasize about killing someone for real? Locking them away - even if by mistake - could be considered "Crime Prevention".

Yeah...go read The Minority Report, or 1984.

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I've read 1984 - better than the movie.

myk said:

What's "fantasize about killing people for real" anyway? It seems like a pretty common thing. Man, I think I've done it myself.

That's when gibbing their online alter-ego's no longer satisfies your blood-lust. At what point does idle fantasy become deadly obsession? It's a well known fact that players of violent video games are desensitised to violence - even more so than spaghetti western fans - and . . .

Damn - Jack's voodoo is starting to get to me. I need a better tinfoil hat. :(

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