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Should the law go easier on low IQ offenders?

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Ecka Dimmock
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Postby Ecka Dimmock » Thu, 20 Oct 2005 9:18 am

I'd say that if there is doubt about the accused capacity to form criminal intent or to understand the implications of their actions, an assessment should be done by a competent psychologist / psychiatrist, based on more than just an IQ test (a concept originally invented in 1905 to remove "imbeciles" from the French school system, not for the criminal justice system).

IQ tests have a long history of abuse, and may not tell you anything meaningful in a court case anyway: does your ability to guess the next shape in a series or similar abstract operations give much insight into your behavior, even if you cooperate with the test (and if I knew a passing mark would get me hanged, I doubt if I'd be fully motivated to do my best!).

I'm also uneasy with the concept of having civil rights increased or reduced on the basis of test scores.

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Postby k1w1 » Thu, 20 Oct 2005 9:30 am

Hmm, dodgy territory for sure, but I guess that's where the law come in a draws that "line".

So here's my thoughts on it. In New Zealand, no one can be tried as an adult till they're 17. Consequences: heaps of little shit-house kids getting off for their crimes and hiding behind the law. On the other hand, people with intellectual disabilities who are not capable of living an independent life, have to have a legal guardian. For a while, I have had direct experience seeing how this works.

I worked with intellectually disabled young adults for a while. I strongly believe they should not be hidden away and it is high time that society got over their feelings of discomfort and acknowledged that these people exist. So when I took these guys out to the movies, or to buy their own clothes etc (which I did fairly regularly), I was always aware that any action on their part would fall back on me. Therefore, they were supervised continuously. This is obvioulsy very tricky sometimes. My husband (black belt in Aikido) worked as a "helper" for a woman who had an autistic son who she would take out walking every day. If her son (who was an enourmous 21-year-old) had attacked anyone, she would not have been able to stop him, and would have been held accountable. So she took steps to ensure that if this happened, the situation could be managed.

A bit different I know, but recently my three-year-old stole a lollipop from the 7-11 (well, he opened it and stuck it in his gob right there in the shop). Afterwards he was made to apologise and throw the lollipop away, but I still had to pay for it , because I am responsible for him, and therefore his actions.

The James Bolger case is one of the most horrific things I have ever heard in my life, and those kids that did that are now free and 20 years old or something. Frankly, I think their parents should have been held partly accountable. I know this too is dodgy territory, as no parent can really know where their kids are 24-7, but an 11-year-old kid with intellectual diabilites should be supervised, as should little bastards known to be aggressive and trouble-makers.

There will be times where situations cannot be avoided, but someone has to be responsible for ensuring that steps are taken to minimise the risks.

Aaah, I'm rambling again. Just my take on it.

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Postby Bafana » Thu, 20 Oct 2005 3:01 pm

I believe the Nazi's had a very good approach to dealing with low IQ individuals but I think even the Singaporean Government would'nt go that far lor :shock:

The point I would like to return is that a low IQ individual is not bright in the first place and may have learning difficulties meaning that if they have done something before they could do it again even if they get a chance to pay back society or get told why its wrong. Therefore they would pose a gretaer risk then a normal criminal who can be reformed and in reality may need to be treated hasher then a normal person - Permemant detention, etc, etc.

And before you start revving up your Politically Correct panyhose please consider lah - Even a tree will fall on you no matter many times you hug it.

(Now where did I put my copy of Mein Kampf - Oh there it is next to my copy of the new revised Cathecishm... :twisted:

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Postby banana » Thu, 20 Oct 2005 10:28 pm

Seig Heil! Fuhrer Bafana! Seig Heil!
some signatures are more equal than others

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