I don't mean that our entire justice system is based on emotion - I mean that our punishments are more or less based on retribution and therefore emotion. That's why most people have no problem, and even advocate for, treating our prisoners badly to "teach them a lesson."<quoted text>
Well...first, I don"t think our justice system is based so much on emotion...but rather, who you are and who you know. Certainly, I don't agree with that. Ultimately, though, If you don't commit crimes, petty or not...it won't matter. Thing is Timn...I live under the same society that produces desperation, but I don't use that as an excuse to commit crimes...other people shouldn't expect pity or compassion when they do.
Ok.. we all live in american society, that doesn't mean that you even have the slightest clue what it's like to be born in a crackhouse in west baltimore. There are groups of people who, while technically american, have life experiences so radically different from "the rest of us" that they might as well be aliens. The fact that we are both technically from the same overall society does not give us the right to judge them.
Withhold your compassion from your fellow human beings all you want, but it's attitudes like yours that lead to such high recidivism rates. No harm can come from trying to improve the lives of our prisoners while they are incarcerated.