Thought experiment

Imagine a world where all non-violent crimes were civil, rather than criminal, offences.

There are some fairly obvious ways in which this would be better than the current world. I’m struggling to think of any ways in which it’d be worse.

(“rich idiots who trust Madoff characters lose their money” is a feature, not a bug)

5 thoughts on “Thought experiment

  1. Neil says:

    The wingnuts would agitate for debtors prisons.

  2. Henk Van Vleck says:

    What would be the punishment for someone who embezzled more money than they could pay back in a lifetime?

  3. PDF says:

    Bankruptcy, disgrace, etc. The important thing is to ensure people can’t keep any of the benefits of their crookery. You’d need to clamp down seriously on tax havens and make international enforcement of civil judgements much more effective, to ensure that ill-gotten gains are properly recovered.

    If you’re talking more about someone on the minimum wage who steals a million quid, spends most of it on champers, coke and hookers and wastes the rest, then meh, they’ve added to the general merriment of the world, don’t see why they particularly need punished.

  4. Henk Van Vleck says:

    And does breaking into someone’s house (when nobody is home) count as non-violent? Or does that apply solely to shoplifting (for chavs) and financial crime (for spivs)?

    If so it seems to me it’s just reinforcing class boundaries with the middle classes having access to much better prison-free crime.

  5. Gridlock says:

    Doesn’t this world already exist?

    It’s called the US Justice System – Can you afford a good lawyer?

    Yes: Community service and a massively favourable plea bargain with no real relation to the crime committed.

    No: Either a massively unfavourable plea bargain that results in 10y hard porridge or a trial resulting in 30y of the same.

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