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Criminal discussion.

Bob Weyant provides a very illuminating discourse on our criminal justice system in "Criminal Behavior and the Ethics of Biological Intervention" (September/October 2005), but there was a nuance to the tradeoffs that I felt was missed. Weyant compares the behavior control implicit in a prison

stay--via restriction of liberty--to biological behavior control--via surgery, medication, and so forth. However, I think the real issue is the difference in long-term behavior modification of the two approaches. Incarceration under the present system puts prisoners in a system that operates by rules very different to those of the outside world (as heartbreakingly shown in other articles in the issue) and causes the inmate to be trained (modified for the long term) to cope in that environment, leaving them ill-prepared to function "outside" Is it more ethical to maladaptively modify a person purely by environmental factors without crossing the line of intruding on their biology, or to violate their personal biological boundaries in the hope of rehabilitating them for successful reentry into society?

Carlos Fuentes

Portland, Oregon
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Author:Fuentes, Carlos
Publication:The Humanist
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Nov 1, 2005
Words:173
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