Self-Defense & Violence Prevention Blog

news and commentary about security, self-defense, and topics like violent crime prevention and bullying

Harsher Laws For Repeat Offenders

Nowadays, I often observe various people call for harsher penalties for repeat offenders.

According to U.S. Department of Justice, of the people released from jail, an estimated 67.5% get rearrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor within 3 years. I like most people have a major problem with revolving door justice.

However, calling for harsher laws and harsher penalties on repeat offenders completely misses the point. We do not need to punish people after they commit a new crime. That does nothing and just wastes resources.

Instead, we need to stop people from committing the new crime in the first place. I suggest we get rid of maximum sentences, and keep convicted victimizers in jail until a professional certifies their rehabilitation. I suggest not only holding reoffenders responsible, but also holding whoever released them responsible for their new offense.

If I let my wild dog out and he causes damage to someone else, you would hold me responsible. Similarly, if an incarceration releases a convicted offender without fully rehabilitating that offender, then let’s hold that incarceration system responsible in addition to the criminal they released.

What do you think?

By | August 21st, 2007 | SHOW COMMENTS (9)


I am the creator of this website, which I use to post about self-defense and violence prevention. I have two children who I love so much. I want them to be proud of me, and I hope what I do here contributes to that. Please let me know what you think about my posts by leaving a comment below. I throw my opinions around pretty openly here, but I am totally open to opposing viewpoints and a productive discussion. So please post a comment. And follow me on Twitter: @scottmhughes

9 Responses

  1. Judith says

    You might have a hard time finding people to be the decision-makers. It is almost immpossible to accurately predict another human being’s behavior. They would be bound to get it wrong sometimes, and then they’d suffer the consequences as if they had been criminals themselves! That’s not right either!

  2. Ed says

    I agree that mandatory jail sentences for second offenders is not the answer and can cause more harm than good. While there are some repeat offenders that will spend their lives in and out of prison the courts should have discretion to use their judgment.

  3. Scott says

    Robert Oatman, thanks for your comment! I am not surprised that getting a diploma would make a person much less likely to end up back in jail. It will greatly help the person get back in society, among so many other obvious benefits. I figured the idea of making private prisons financially liable for re-offenders would be fresh. The private prisons would need to work correctly to do it.

    Thanks to everyone else for your comments too!


  4. Robert Oatman says

    Scott great view … I think years ago maybe on 60 minutes they showed that proffessers were coming in from local universities. This was in Boston so you talking ivy league profs. My point is and if I remember this correctly. All the inmates that recieved a diploma or degree had a 10 % return rate compared to the average 60%… I have to agree with Hell some just see jail as a place to live unfortunately. Most people in jail come from poor and under educated backgrounds.

    BUT I wonder how many private prisons there would be in the USA if they could be sued for the convicts they released …what a novel idea.

    As always Scott always an interesting view!

  5. Hell says

    Speaking as a correctional officer, there are people who, while on the outside, just live until they get put into prison again. They know it’s just a matter of time, and they don’t care.

    It’s a combination of poverty, ignorance and socialization.

  6. James says

    Great blog keep up the good work.
    I think we need to have stricker penalties for the crimes. Repeat offenders think prison is easy time.


  7. Scott says


    You are right that overcrowding is one of the primary reasons people get released early.

    In the United States, 25% of incarcerated people are incarcerated for non-violent drug crimes.

    If the government stopped jailing people for victimless crimes, then we would free up 25% of the space in jails and prisons.

    Besides, legalizing victimless criems would save billions of dollars. For example, the war on drugs costs over $50 billion a year.

    We could use the saved money mo to catch and lock up victimizers until, if ever, they can be rehabilitated. If they cannot be rehabilitated, I suggest never releasing them.


  8. Chris says

    I agree 100% with you!

  9. Malok says

    The problem with this is the overcrowding within the prison system. Thats one of the primary reasons that people get released early.

    You would need to generate funding for new prisons – which is usually done through an increase in taxes.

    And, no one wants to pay higher taxes.


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