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Punishment Formula

I Propose a formula for calculating punishment levels for murder convicts. P=LE-A
  (+1, -10)(+1, -10)
(+1, -10)
  [vote for,

A Simple Formula to calculate the punishment for murder convicts could be to calculate the victims life expectency (LE) using genetics DNA and all that jazz, and minusing the age at which they were murdered (A) to give a prison term in years (P). This would allow for child murderers to be punished more severly than those who kill older people. The principle being that the perpetrator has taken from him (or her) the same number of years the victim was deprived of! If a person's sentance takes them over their life expectancy, then they are executed immediately (possibly in a similar fashion to how they killed their victim!). Other factors such as rape or burgalry could simply have year values attatched to be added to the total. For multiple murders, the P value could be raised to the power of the number of victims.


John kills Bill. John is 25 years old, and Bill is 33. John has a life expectancy of 50 years (he smokes, has a family history of heart disease etc.) Bill has a life expectancy of 75 (he lives a healthy lifestyle)

John's punisment would be calculated thus:

P= 75 - 33 P= 42

So John is sentanced to 42 years in prison! However, in 42 years, John will probably be dead (25 +42 = 67), so instead he is sentanced to death!


Fred kills Sid. Fred is 19 years old, and Sid is 60. Fred has a life expectancy of 65 years Sid has a life expectancy of 70 Fred's punisment would be calculated thus:

P= 70 - 60 P= 10

So Fred is sentenced to 10 years in prison! If Fred also Burgled Sid (+5 years), the he will be sentanced 15 years. If he also killed Sheila (Sid's Wife) then we would add the punishment for her killing onto that for Fred, then square the result (probably resulting in a death sentence!) A few years could be deducted for confessions of other mitigating circustances!

P = LE - A

MikeOliver, Mar 18 2003

Bakery taboo: "Anything related to punishment of criminals" http://krelnik.home...om/half_faq.html#11
Mike, here's some friendly advice on what does and doesn't work in ideas. I think you ran afoul of one of the taboos I list here. Welcome to the bakery. [krelnik, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]


       fishbones are almost guaranteed in this category. -1
po, Mar 18 2003

       Is that right that your life is worth less as you get older? Fancy. So here am I, at forty with ..ooh..seven dependants, looking like pretty good value (to a crim) compared to a twenty two year old single bloke with no dependants.   

       IOW, I think the formula is missing something. A Murder destroys more than one life.   

       Also I think the lawyers would have a field day negotiating shorter sentences (P=LE-A bargaining).
egbert, Mar 18 2003

       In response to egbert, you being 40 years old given an average life expectancy of 70 (hard to gauge without knowing you personally!) anyone who killed you would still be looking at 30 years in jail! This is a hell of a lot longer than murderers seem to get over here in good old blighty! (10 years seems harsh to most judges!). The main aim of my formula is to reduce child murders (who would you rather was killed, you or one of your children!!!). the only people who may recieve lighter sentances are those who kill people who are already nearly dead and surely this is better than killing children!!
MikeOliver, Mar 18 2003

       I have an even simpler formula: life imprisonment.
What [po] said. Also what [egbert] said.
BTW, your profile almost translates as 'I am a troll.' We'll have to keep an eye on you ;-}
angel, Mar 18 2003

       oh think for yourelf - mush.
po, Mar 18 2003

       // The main aim of my formula is to reduce child murders //
I don't think that prison is much of a deterrent to those who kill children. It is rarely a "rational decision" to do so.

       // the only people who may recieve lighter sentances are those who kill people who are already nearly dead and surely this is better than killing children!!//
I have a sneaking suspicion that the families of the victims of Dr. Shipman would hold a very different opinion on this.

       Plus, sentencing takes into consideration a far greater number of variables than the ages and life expectancies of the, uh, parties. Past behaviour of the accused, how remorseful the accused is, if prison is indeed the correct method of punishment, the contents of Social Enquiry Reports, when a guilty plea was tendered (if at all) etc.   

       And finally, are you suggesting that this formula be used for culpable homicide/manslaughter?
my face your, Mar 18 2003

       Mike, I didn't say your formula was no good, nor that your idea had no merit. I pointed out what I thought was an omission, and an important one at that. Surely under this value system leaving a large family with no means of support should be worth a longer sentence than "merely" depriving someone of a son who has already left home? The fact that I have a large family was convenient for the illustration.   

       If this issue can be addressed as a point for debate and possible improvement to your idea then you may yet convert my fishbone into a croissant. I too am sick of the lenience of UK judges on this issue.   

       And don't mind the troll call, just prove it's not true by entering into a reasoned defence of your idea, without taking criticism personally or getting upset, and you'll be fine. You might like to have a read of the help file if you haven't already (see the menu under the piccie).
egbert, Mar 18 2003

       talking about the piccie. I have not had a glimpse of the croissant here at woik for days. why is that? just a little square with a red cross in it.
po, Mar 18 2003

       Crikey, i was only gone for an hour... Where to start!   

       With regard to Mr Shipman (has his Dr status been revoked???) my formula would take into account his multiple killings by raising his sentence to the power of the number of his victims!!! (26 or so) and even a 2 year sentence would be raised to 67108864, so one would assume he would recieve the death penalty! With regard to the irrationality of killing children, it is likely, under my system, that child killers would receive death penalties which is what often happens, and many people agree should happen, however it may be in very rare cases that some thought is put into an act, and here lies the deterrent! Manslaughter is a different matter, and i will need to have a think about a system for this crime (possibly a reduction in sentance). Equally it is possible that similar "weightings" could be placed on the killing of parents or other such issues. This was suggested as an idea (a half baked one at that, am i missing the point???) for a new system, and as such i do not have an answer for every possible variation.. although i would be more than happy to try to come up with them!!!   

       Oh, and regarding the troll issue, i take no offense, i have thick skin and can take abuse and criticism as well as i can dish it out. ;-)
MikeOliver, Mar 18 2003

       Hmm. My point regarding the victms of Dr Shipman was that they were, by and large, of pensionable age and, although under this formula their deaths are "not as bad" the loss will be felt just as keenly by the families of the victims. Apologies for not articulating myself as well as I might.   

       More generally, I can see that your formula is becoming a more complex proposition than first proposed. Could it be that the tone of the idea has changed to "remove discretion from judges in relation to the sentencing of killers by applying a purely actuarial formula"? Or is that a step of redefinition too far?
my face your, Mar 18 2003

       I dunno...shouldn't the murderer just be executed? (Assuming first-degree)
galukalock, Mar 18 2003

       only teasing - mush
po, Mar 18 2003

       MFY, that's how I read it in the first place, being based on a simple calculation of how much was actually taken from the victim. My point was that there are more than one victims (victi?) to be taken into account.
egbert, Mar 18 2003

       Judges in the UK are all too lenient. I am suggesting this formula as a way to determine basic sentances, which then can be altered accordingly if circumstances dictate. i would agree that the death of a loved one will feel as bad regardless of the age, but it is important that the law is able to determine when killings are "not as bad" as you put it. Just as i would want a more severe sentence for someone who attacked my girlfriend over someone who killed a person i didn't know. It is however the case that the severity of the crime is not gauged by how upset the victims (and their families) are by its perpetration.
MikeOliver, Mar 18 2003

       if I were murdered, I'd be pretty upset, I imagine.
po, Mar 18 2003


       other considerations in the sentence should be noted - Number of relatives known, number of dependents, how high-profile he was in public life, etc.   

       Then there's the issue of a murder of a pensioner who's given only a few more months to live.   

       All in all - idea needs further refinement, but once they are done, won't that be taking science into the plane of art/the intangible?
LoneRifle, Mar 18 2003

       Oh, that first +1 was me. Is that allowed?
MikeOliver, Mar 18 2003

       //Judges in the UK are all too lenient//
Are they, though? The most the public at large knows of sentencing and crime is what is reported in the media. Unfortunately, the UK media has found that the best way to sell newspapers is to foam at the mouth with moral outrage, taking an entirely perfunctory anti-judge stance and then making the evidence up to support their righteous bile. These tabloid rants never make any mention of the items for consideration I mentioned in my first anno, prefering instead to offer mindless sloganeering and calls for harsher punishment of all.

       The reality is, of course, that the decisions that judges make in sentencing are complex, contingent and by & large (though not always), correct.   

       The more I think about this idea, the more it seems to me to be calling for a modelling of the thought processes of judges in making sentencing decisions. Being that judges are all ready capable of making these decisions themselves, without having to refer to a formula, I can't really see the point.
my face your, Mar 18 2003

       Persons born in the U.S. in 1935 had a life expectancy of 61.7 years. What prize do I get if I kill one of these people who's still around?
beauxeault, Mar 18 2003

       // What prize do I get if I kill one of these people who's still around? //   

       The Al-Quaeda award for Unjustified Violence against a Senior Citizen.
8th of 7, Mar 18 2003

       Mike, welcome to the bakery. I'm afraid you've stumbled into a "taboo" here. See the link I added for a list of others, and plenty of other advice on how to post ideas.
krelnik, Mar 18 2003

       Sorry Mike, but I don't really think this one holds water. At all.   

       Imagine these two cases: Two young men get into a spur-of-the-moment drunken brawl on their way home from the pub. One of them ends up dead.   

       A thief breaks into the house of an 85-year-old lady, beats her to death and steals her meagre life savings.   

       Who deserves the greater punishment? I go with the general concensus that seems to be forming here - each case should be judged according to its particular circumstances. This kind of justice algebra just won't wash.
lostdog, Mar 18 2003

       Most criminal systems do apply formulae to sentencing. However, strictly applied formulae lead to excesses wherever applied.   

       The Three Strikes formula in California has sent people to jail for the rest of their lives for stealing a video or a slice of pizza (though the latter was reduced on appeal). And the faults of hanging as the single penalty for murder led to the repeal of capital punishment in Britain.   

       The statue of Justice may be depicted blindfolded, but in fact we need a system that closely examines all cases with both eyes.
DrCurry, Mar 18 2003

       Lostdog, i would have to questoin your legal knowledge (although mine isn't great) if you really belive a drunk who killed another in a fight (spur of the moment no less) would ever be convicted of murder (are you familiar with manslaughter?). Also i think it is sad that people will reject any idea regardless of merit purely because it features in a list of taboos. Come on people think for yourselves (this last point i am sure will only apply to the mindless minority!). Beauxeault, sorry but no prize for you... A persons life expectency would have to be calculated at time of death (it would be silly to use that which applied at birth for obvious reasons), and therefore a negative life expectency is impossimble (so if you achieved this, perhaps a nobel prize for finding someone who was alive after they died!) I wonder is DrCurry a qualified Doctor or is the name a way of attaining credibility?
MikeOliver, Mar 27 2003

       // A persons life expectency would have to be calculated at time of death //   

       At which time you have a life expectancy of zero.   

       If this system was in operation, a really ambitious killer could murder everyone as they reached the age of 30. The life expectancy of everyone would therefore be 30, and the killers would get a sentence of 0**60000000 = 0 years.
pottedstu, Mar 27 2003

       Buy the same logic, shoudn't punishment for killing a baby be more lenient than a killing a 15-year-old, since the parents have invested less of their time in the baby?
kinemojo, May 26 2006

       Interesting theory... maybe if I understood log, something could be worked out?
MikeOliver, May 28 2006

neilp, May 29 2006

MikeOliver, Jun 19 2006

       Anyone seen Battle Royale or No Escape? That's what I believe should happen to convicted murderers.
kuupuuluu, Jun 19 2006

       I watched Battle Royale last night. It's bloody great!
MikeOliver, Jun 20 2006


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