Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Punishing psychologists

Yesterday the subject came by on this blog of treating deeply disturbed persons that commit horrific crimes in special psychiatric institutions.
More particularly, the role of experts that treat these unfortunate mentally disturbed persons in making the decision that society has nothing to fear of them anymore to set them free.
To assess that a murderer will not murder again.
A huge responsibility because when it goes wrong, someone dies.
Until now these experts work without ever to pay any price in case they were wrong.
They can conclude a killer won’t kill anymore and allow the person to return to society as if nothing has happened.
When this goes wrong, the expert is not fired.
The expert can even simply continue his job.

This is not a good situation.
If in this kind of work to be right or to be wrong doesn’t personally matter, we may doubt always the best decisions are made.

Therefore we must develop a system that the experts get personally involved when deciding to release a mentally disturbed person who has already killed.
To be sure they don’t take decisions that may cost the lives of others.
Like pilots in a plane.
They try always to make the best decisions and do not take risks not only for the safety of the passengers but to stay alive themselves.

The question now is what repercussion we can think of to have the experts in mental institutions housing lunatic killers work more safe for the society.

The solution is simple.
Experts that work in special psychiatric institutions where crazy killers are locked up and who decide to let one go because they believe he is OK now, will have two fingers amputated when the mentally disturbed person kills again in spite of the diagnosis that he is sane and safe.

Fervent and loyal blog readers may ask why two fingers?
Why not three fingers or the whole hand as they do in Sudan and Saudi Arabia?
Two fingers because it is a serious handicap but not too bad.
One can continue to work, blow the nose and eat a sandwich.
And such an expert has 5 options for making a mistake before to have lost all fingers which will be a most serious matter.

We can be sure that an expert who has to decide if a mentally disturbed person who has killed can be set free and return to society will think twice before to let the guy go if he realizes that in case it goes wrong he will lose two of his fingers.

Now someone in the back of the room may stand up and say that experts will become so prudent that hardly any crazy convict will be set free anymore.
That this may result in having persons locked up that could very well return to society no problem.
That is indeed very unfortunate but the other side of the coin is the story of yesterday: a guy who killed his mother and was set free by experts within a few years after this unbelievable crime to immediately murder a 77 year old man.
We must then balance the death of the 77 year old man with the suffering of the person who is locked up.
What is the worst ?
Would you care more for the locked up person and risk to be killed?
Is having to remain in a mental institution more serious then to be innocently murdered?

Right in front there is another person saying that amputating fingers is cruel, barbaric and uncivilized.
This is not true.
First of all, the amputation of the two fingers is a threat.
It will not happen when the expert is doing a good job.
Second, there are many jobs where losing one’s fingers is a daily danger.
Like carpenters and workers on oil platforms and in the metal industry.
So, losing fingers is a professional risk.
For a carpenter if he doesn’t pay good attention to what he is doing, then why not also for psychologists deciding a mentally disturbed person who killed can join us again?


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