Improving Criminal Justice?

This is the Justice Problem

Law enforcement and the criminal justice system treat crime as a profit center, rather than as an obligation to make sure justice is served.

I can hear you exclaim, “You’re nuts!”

Perhaps I am. But consider…

If someone steals my car, gets caught, tried and convicted, what happens?

They go to jail, (at the taxpayers’ expense), and/or pay a fine to the state. This is the “Crime and Punishment” model of Justice.

The jailer makes money. (More prisoners = more money.)
The state makes money. (More fines = more money.)
The attorneys make money. (More trials = more money.)

Me: I suffer the loss of my car for some time, maybe permanently.
The Perp: He is branded a felon for the rest of his life.

The two parties directly affected by the crime both end up being victims, and the various people who are supposed to be meting out justice end up being enriched by the crime.

Is there a better way?

This is the Justice Solution

There is an older model of dealing with crime: the “Restitution” model.

Under that model, if someone who steals from me is caught, he is required to repay me for what he stole, plus some sort of premium.

I get the full value of my car back, plus some additional to make up for having suffered the loss, however temporary.

In other words, his debt is owed to me, and I am the one he must pay.

He loses because he has to pay back what he stole, plus the premium.

Once I am made whole, the affair is entirely ended. He is not branded for life as a “felon” and the property and time he stole from me is restored.

Under the “Crime & Punishment” model, a person who makes a one-time stupid decision is branded for life as a felon. Even if he spends the rest of his life as an honest, upright citizen. He is permanently in the same class as a career criminal.

Under the “Restitution” model, a person who makes a one-time stupid decision pays for it one time and is then free.

The “Restitution” model views crime as a debt incurred to the victim.

The “Crime & Punishment” model views crime as a debt incurred to “society”, whatever that is.

The “Crime & Punishment” model disregards the loss suffered by the victim, permanently dooms the perpetrator to life as part of an underclass, and enriches third parties from the event.


One of the steps on the road to reducing the power of the state and increasing individual freedom is to embrace the “Restitution” model of justice.

Let’s do that.

Liberty News Online for 20 November 2014

From Lew Rockwell’s blog today:

In his City of God, St. Augustine tells the story of a pirate captured by Alexander the Great. Alexander demands of him, “How dare you molest the seas?” The pirate replied, “How dare you molest the whole world? Because I do it with a small boat, I am called a thief. You, with a great fleet, molest the whole world and are called an emperor.” St. Augustine called this answer “elegant and excellent.”

The Mises Institute website has been completely redesigned and is live today.

Guess who said this:

Sanctions are already undermining the foundations of world trade, the WTO rules and the principle of inviolability of private property. They are dealing a blow to liberal model of globalisation based on markets, freedom and competition, which is a model that has primarily benefited precisely the Western countries.

You probably didn’t guess Vlad Putin, did you?

I’ve long claimed that I am against hetero-sexual marriage. This was a partly tongue-in-cheek response to the homosexual marriage argument, and partly irritation with the fact that the state is involved in people’s intimate lives to such a ridiculous extent. I’m glad to see some Christian pastors refuse to conduct state marriages, gay, straight or otherwise. Good for them.

Prosecutor sent a guy to jail for 25 years by withholding evidence. He gets a 10 day prison sentence. That seems fair.

Another mid-level banker at one of the TBTF banks turned up dead this morning. Apparently, he committed suicide by cutting his own throat. I wonder why the C-level dudes aren’t turning up dead…

The Legatum Institute in London publishes an annual report about personal freedom around the world. The good news is that the US leads most of the rest of the world in personal freedom. The bad news is that we are number 21, behind such paragons of freedom as France, Austria, Malta and Portugal.