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Topic: Should society punish strict liability crimes and/or victimless crimes?

Topic: Should society punish strict liability crimes and/or victimless crimes?
Strict liability crimes do not require proof of knowing or intentional wrongdoing on an individual’s part. In other words, should an individual be punished for something unrelated to their intentions? (Statutory rape, using drugs, possessing drugs, speeding, DUI, insider trading, involuntary manslaughter. There are others.)
Victimless crimes are crimes in which there is no identifiable victim. (Public drunkenness, gambling, using drugs, possessing drugs, prostitution, trespassing) Components your paper must include:
What is your position? (your thesis)
Defense of your position (reasoning, evidence, application of concepts from class)
Pros and cons of your position (what are the consequences to society of your position?)
Ideas to consider: (Also see Chapter 4 in Welch)
What is the purpose of punishment?
Assuming the “state” has the power to punish, are there limits to what should be punished?
Societal interests vs. vengeance
Do fees and fines serve the financial interests of the state?
Retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation
Should lack of intent result in punishment? What about recklessness or negligence?
Bentham’s Principle of Utility:
Human action should be judged moral or immoral by its effects on the happiness of the community. Laws should be made to maximize the pleasure and minimize the pains of the population.
John Stuart Mill:
(See “Principle of Utility”) Where do we draw the line between what areas society can rightly prohibit a behavior and those in which people should be allowed the freedom to do as they will?
Harm Principle- The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.
Libertarianism: The right to do whatever we want with the things we own provided we respect other people’s rights to do the same.
John Rawls: Principle of Equal Liberty and Principle of Equality. Does your position follow from or conflict with these two principles.
Is an unintentional behavior that causes or does not cause harm an “immoral action”
Are there other ways to prevent these behaviors than involvement in the criminal justice system?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of eliminating strict liability crimes? Victimless crimes?
You will have the opportunity to discuss your thoughts with your peers during class and in an online asynchronous discussion forum.
Formatting requirements: APA format or MLA format, 12 point font, double-spaced, 3 – 4 pages (Not including reference page). Uploaded to Canvas. Minimum of three references. Textbook can be one of these.

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