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Selective Incapacitation

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rohu27 Legendary Member Default Avatar
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Selective Incapacitation

Post Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:13 am
Disclaimer: Long passage. I am specifically looking for explanation to Q1, so along with answers please do put your stand for Q1.

The latest prominent principle of criminal sentencing is that of ―selective
incapacitation.- Selective incapacitation, like general incapacitation,
involves sentencing with the goal of protecting the community from the
crimes that an offender would commit if he were on the street. It differs
from general incapacitation in its attempt to replace bluntness with
selectivity.

Under a strategy of selective incapacitation, probation and short
terms of incarceration are given to convicted offenders who are identified
as being less likely to commit frequent and serious crimes, and longer
terms of incarceration are given to those identified as more crime prone.
Selective incapacitation has the potential for bringing about a reduction in
crime without an increase in prison populations. This reduction could be
substantial.

Reserving prison and jail space for the most criminally active
offenders in some instances conflicts not only with other norms of legal
justice, but with norms of social justice as well. If we reserve the sanction
of incarceration only for the dangerous repeat offender, excluding the
white collar offender and certain other criminals who pose no serious
threat of physical injury to others, we may end up permitting harmful
people from the middle class to evade a sanction that less privileged
offenders cannot.

One of the most pervasive criticisms of selective incapacitation is that
it is based on the statistical prediction of dangerousness; because such
predictions are often erroneous, according to this point of view, they
should not be used by the court. This criticism is related to both the
nature of the errors and to the use of certain information for predicting a
defendant‘s dangerousness. Let‘s first consider the nature of errors in
prediction.

Prediction usually results in some successes and in two kinds of
errors: ―false positives- and ―false negatives.- The problem of false
positives in sentencing is costly primarily to incarcerated defendants who
are not really so dangerous, while false negative predictions impose costs
primarily on the victims of subsequent crimes committed by released
defendants. In predicting whether a defendant will recidivate, the
problem of false positives is widely regarded as especially serious, for
many of the same reasons that it has been regarded in our society as
better to release nine offenders than to convict one innocent person.

A tempting alternative is to reject prediction altogether; obviously, if
we do not predict, then no errors of prediction are possible. A flaw in this
logic is that, whether we like it or not-indeed, even if we tried to forbid
it-criminal justice decisions are now, and surely always will be, based on
predictions, and imperfect ones, at that. Attempts to discourage
prediction in sentencing may in fact produce the worst of both worlds:
the deceit of predictive sentencing disguised as something more tasteful,
and inferior prediction as well. If we are to reserve at least some prison
and jail space for the most criminally active offenders, then the prediction
of criminal activity is an inescapable task. Is selective incapacitation truly
an effective and appropriate proposal, an ―idea whose time has come,or
is it a proposal that carries with it a potential for injustice?

1. Suppose the number of dangerous criminals that would be imprisoned under
selective incapacitation but otherwise set free is greater than the number of
harmless criminals who would be set free under selective incapacitation but
otherwise imprisoned. How would this information be relevant to the
passage?
A. It weakens the claim that the goal of selective incapacitation is to
protect the community.
B. It strengthens the claim that there are more violent than non-violent
criminals.
C. It weakens the claim that selective incapacitation would not increase
prison populations.
D. It strengthens the claim that white-collar criminals unfairly receive
shorter sentences.
E. It is of no relevance to the passage

2. The author‘s statement that selective incapacitation may ―end up permitting
harmful people from the middle class to evade a sanction that less
privileged offenders cannot- assumes that:
A. there are more offenders in the lower-class than in the middle-class.
B. the dangerous repeat offenders are lower-class and not middle-class.
C. harmful middle-class people can use their money to avoid prison.
D. lower-class offenders do not deserve to suffer incarceration.
E. the rich do not ever commit crimes

3. Based on the passage, which of the following would most likely be cited by an
opponent of statistical prediction as the reason that prediction should be
abandoned?
A. The possibility of letting a dangerous criminal loose is too great.
B. The possibility of imprisoning a man who should be allowed to go free
is too great.
C. The court makes more accurate decisions when statistics is employed.
D. Dangerousness has yet to be adequately defined as a legal concept.
E. Statistics is an inexact science

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rjdunn03 Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
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Post Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:19 am
Hello.

I picked C for question 1. I wasn't sure at first going through the answers, but if you look at the other answers they can be eliminated.

A: It doesn't weaken this claim because those being set free are still the harmless ones.
B: This is out of the scope of the passage, how many of each type wasn't part of the argument.
C: True, part of the argument for selective incapacitation was that it won't increase prison populations. If more are being imprisoned than are being set free, then more people are being imprisoned - higher populations. So this does weaken that argument.
D: Question doesn't mention white collar.
E: C fits so it is relevant.

Hope this helps.

Can anyone give some insight to question 3's answer? I was really torn between B and E. I understand that imprisoning an innocent person is the biggest problem, but to me statistics being an inexact science causes the false positives and false negatives. In other words, it causes innocent people to be locked up and guilty people to be set free. Why is E not the correct answer?

Is it simply because saying statistics is an inexact science is a weaker argument on its own. In other words without further explanation of the false positives and false negatives and their consequences?

Thank you

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rohu27 Legendary Member Default Avatar
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Post Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:48 pm
force5 wrote:
this was some passage..... I got B,A,B. Will have to start making the map. will start with a smaller passage. did someone really understand the point of view and scope?

Crying or Very sad i think i got All wrong.
OA CBB. so one correct.
see the way i approached if its of any help.

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AIM GMAT Legendary Member Default Avatar
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Post Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:49 am
No wonder no replies , i had a take at passage as soon as it was posted , flared really bad .Although solved with lot of distractions , apart from excuses , my take at passage .

ACA , i know all r wrong . Sad

Rohu wht u think of passage difficulty , approach ?

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rohu27 Legendary Member Default Avatar
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Post Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:04 am
AIM GMAT wrote:
No wonder no replies , i had a take at passage as soon as it was posted , flared really bad .Although solved with lot of distractions , apart from excuses , my take at passage .

ACA , i know all r wrong . Sad

Rohu wht u think of passage difficulty , approach ?
AIM,
you can do much better than above.
i have put dwn my approch below but before tht i would request you to attempt the passage once again, i feel distractions play a BIG factor in RC and CR, compared to anyothertopic. then u can read below.

Let me try to put into words my thoughts while approachign the passage:

first para talks abt some selective incap..,compares it wth general incap.
paused for a second just to colelct wht the para was abt, basic introductory para abt a concept.

second para:ignored words like incapacitation,incarceration(infact i clearly read the word incapacitation only to write the subject for this post), after u do this u will actaully notice para 2 is very simple. just gave a reading and paused after tht to link it first para. first talks abt SC, nxt one syas wht it is and its advantages, - good.

third para: abt jail space and white collar jobs, not sure hw it linksto above paras.

para 4: criticism of SC, just read thru the para without much stress

para 5: talks abt some criticsm poitn mentioend in 4, read thru.

para 6: says reject sumthng, buthten again we cant do it altogether. finally athor is not sure abt SC.

it is a very long passage wth some terms thorwn in between. but there are only 3 questions asked, so obviosuly we are not expected to understand entre thng. just need to knw it talsk abt SC, its pros cons and last para debataign abt prediction.

then actually questions 2 and 3 felt easy.
Q2: middle class is thr in para 3 which says tht white colalr ones are not given big punishemnts etc. only seriosu offenders are given. it is assuming tht middle class do not do serios offences. here its impotant to euqate middel class and white collar jobs.

Q3:prediction is talked abt in last para. i thnk to answer this u need to kwn wht para 4 talks abt too. false positive, false negative. so someone who opposes prediction wll be more concerned in false negatives (look at last line of para 4- its a popluar saying in hindi too - this is wht stuck me as i was readin it), so the opponent wud be more cocenred wth an innocent man gettign into trouble.

length of the passage is a main factor here.more than 500 words, not sure if we would get such lengthy passages on exam.

abt Q1,im not sure. lets see wht others come up wth, i was not satisfied wth the OA or OE.
if u did attempt the passage again, let me knw ur thoughst on Q1.

Cheers,

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redmark Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:55 pm
Hey rohu,

Got the same answers and explanations you did for questions 2 and 3.

I picked C for number 1. It seems to say that that the if C were true then there would be people in jail. This relates to the last sentence of the first paragraph that says "reduction in crime without an increase in prison populations".

I dunno man this is tricky

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rohu27 Legendary Member Default Avatar
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Post Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:37 pm
redmark wrote:
Hey rohu,

Got the same answers and explanations you did for questions 2 and 3.

I picked C for number 1. It seems to say that that the if C were true then there would be people in jail. This relates to the last sentence of the first paragraph that says "reduction in crime without an increase in prison populations".

I dunno man this is tricky
OA is C but see my reasonign below:

Q - Suppose the number of dangerous criminals that would be imprisoned under
selective incapacitation but otherwise set free is greater than the number of
harmless criminals who would be set free under selective incapacitation but
otherwise imprisoned.
Suppose there are total 100 dangerous criminals, in the normal method 60 will be in jail, 40 outside.
Q says" the number of dangerous criminals that would be imprisoned under
selective incapacitation but otherwise set free " - so accordign to this the 40 criminal sset free in the above process would be in jail, but we do not know here abt the 60 ones who were in jail the first time, will they be in jail too the next time?

this 40 is > the number of
harmless criminals who would be set free under selective incapacitation but
otherwise imprisoned.
again take 100 harmless criminals, out of this 10 will be in jail, 90 free.
so in selective incap, these 10 will be free now. but same question again we do not knw abt the rest 90 who were free in normal procedure. will they be free in selective incap too?

the question only compares dangerous in selective incap to harmless in selective incap, whereas it shud have done a comparision on the general vs selective incap to arrive at answer C.
my reasoning can be very confusing actually, but thts how the Q is.
any thoughts?

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redmark Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:35 am
Rohu,

In your example, the 60 that are in jail already would still be in jail. If another 40 criminals were to come into jail, then the selective process would start again.

In your reasoning it seems to point out that they can keep re identifying who should be in jail from that group of 100. If that is so, then the number of people in jail would eventually be 1, and I don't think that is the intent of the process.

Same goes for those prisoners identified as less dangerous.In this case more are let free (in your example 60 let free).

So you can see that if the NUMBER of dangerous people set free is greater than the number of harmless people set free, then there would end up being more people in jail.

Claim: "selective incapacitation would not increase prison populations" So to weaken this claim we say that the number of people in jail does in fact increase.


Does that make sense? let me know.

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force5 Legendary Member
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Post Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:45 pm
this was some passage..... I got B,A,B. Will have to start making the map. will start with a smaller passage. did someone really understand the point of view and scope?

Crying or Very sad i think i got All wrong.

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rohu27 Legendary Member Default Avatar
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Post Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:47 pm
redmark wrote:
Rohu,

In your example, the 60 that are in jail already would still be in jail. If another 40 criminals were to come into jail, then the selective process would start again.

In your reasoning it seems to point out that they can keep re identifying who should be in jail from that group of 100. If that is so, then the number of people in jail would eventually be 1, and I don't think that is the intent of the process.

Same goes for those prisoners identified as less dangerous.In this case more are let free (in your example 60 let free).

So you can see that if the NUMBER of dangerous people set free is greater than the number of harmless people set free, then there would end up being more people in jail.

Claim: "selective incapacitation would not increase prison populations" So to weaken this claim we say that the number of people in jail does in fact increase.


Does that make sense? let me know.
thanks for tht. guess i m thinking to much in my analysis. Very Happy
thanks again

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vikram4689 Legendary Member
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Post Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:18 am
With God's Grace, I got all correct Smile

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Post Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:08 pm
vikram4689 wrote:
With God's Grace, I got all correct Smile
In 2: I was able to get rid of A,C,D.. how did you eliminate E? Kindly point the same in para.

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vikram4689 Legendary Member
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Post Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:45 pm
HSPA wrote:
vikram4689 wrote:
With God's Grace, I got all correct Smile
In 2: I was able to get rid of A,C,D.. how did you eliminate E? Kindly point the same in para.
See the below statement, It says if we reserve jails for REPEAT OFFENDER we may end up not capturing harmful people from middle class and capturing less privileged. That clearly is what option B says.
If we reserve the sanction
of incarceration only for the dangerous repeat offender, excluding the
white collar offender and certain other criminals who pose no serious
threat of physical injury to others, we may end up permitting harmful
people from the middle class to evade a sanction that less privileged
offenders cannot.


As far as E is concerned there 2 strong reasons:
1. Rich is not mentioned in passage.
2. It is too strong option (DO NOT EVER)

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