General Question

mzdesigns's avatar

What is the point of a 150yr. prison sentence?

Asked by mzdesigns (506points) June 29th, 2009

What is the point of sentencing someone to a length of time not lived by humans? Do we just wanna make sure people like him don’t get out if there is a major life expectancy breakthrough?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

29 Answers

skfinkel's avatar

I suppose it’s kind of a way of saying we really, really, really mean it when we say we want him in there forever.

Ivan's avatar

Bernard Madoff is going to live to be 250 years old.

Jeruba's avatar

It makes a statement. It has powerful symbolic value. No getting off easy for this one, it says. This is locking the door and throwing away the key. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving fellow.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

150 years means that parole isn’t even an option before he is dead.
It’s more than a mere symbolic gesture.

tadpole's avatar

because in 20 years time we will have learnt the secret of eternal life…..

well, not meant really, but it is possible…

DrBill's avatar

Everyone has to serve a portion of the sentence before they are eligible for parole, usually half. By giving him 150 years, he would have to serve 75 years before being eligible.

Darwin's avatar

It does three things. 1) It makes certain he will never, ever get out, 2) it reminds him of how much havoc he wreaked on people of all ages and economic levels, and 3) it makes us feel as if we have gotten some sort of justice. As @Jeruba says, it has a powerful symbolic value.

Long sentences like this are not uncommon in Texas. However, they are usually reserved for folks who have committed multiple murders but for one reason or another are not eligible for death row.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

more or less just for effect. he’s not going to live that long obviously.

It’s saying they won’t kill him, but they want him to die in jail.

lillycoyote's avatar

It was the maximum sentence he could get for the various counts he pleaded guilty to. Sentencing someone to the maximum sends the right message in this case. That the courts are not fooling around.

seekingwolf's avatar

The reason why courts do this is because if some time in the future, if the person is somehow acquitted from one of the crimes, it will take time off of his sentence but not get rid of it completely. Example: a man is sentenced to 2 life sentences because he murdered 2 people. Turns out, evidence shows up that proves he did NOT murder one of the people. However, because he still murdered the other, 1 life sentence still holds but the other is dropped.

I hope I’m making sense here.

I’m positive the guy will never be acquitted (obviously) for scamming any of the victims but it’s the customary thing to do in every court regardless.

juwhite1's avatar

It makes sense to me when sentencing a 10 or 20 year old kid for multiple murders… It ensures that they won’t get paroled during their lifetime (or at least their useful lifetime). I think it also sends a message, no matter what the age of the convicted, that anyone else considering the same crime ought to think twice. Hearing someone got sentenced to 10 years isn’t nearly as scary as 150.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

It’s about time a white collar criminal got a stiff sentence. Too often they get off with light judgments. Personally, I think they should just shoot the b*st*rd!

tadpole's avatar

@seekingwolf good answer… mother knew the english gent who committed suicide because of this….he regularly came into her shop…he was always off to Afghanistan etc…he had a hook on one hand and a lovely little was a real shock and very sad…

mammal's avatar

i hate America’s draconian penal system
horrid country, with horrid values

madcapper's avatar

@mammal as opposed to which penal system? Which shining apex of human morality has done so much better?

Anyway I suspect that crafty bastard Madoff with start off with a pack of smokes and work his way up to a full on prison escape. Kidding he’s gonna die in jail…

jfos's avatar

What gives someone the right to doom someone else’s life by locking them in a jail cell? I think it’s inhumane; I think people assume way too much authority. Everyone was born equal, i.e. people, in my opinion, do not have the right to make decisions for others.

seekingwolf's avatar


Tell that to the hundreds of people who lost EVERYTHING to Madoff…charitable foundations ruined, people’s life savings gone forever…

Just a simple “uh..sorry” isn’t going to fix this. He’s clearly a crafty bastard who will scam people if he has the power to. So, for the good of everyone, we take away his freedom.

jfos's avatar

I’m not minimizing the damage that was done to his investors, but how is forcing him to stay in jail for the rest of his life “going to fix this”? Legal consequences should be intended to ‘correct’ individuals, rather than waste their lives.

It would be more appropriate to put him in a room with all of his investors and let them do what they would with him.

MindErrantry's avatar

I am curious as to why we can’t just give him a sentence ‘for life’—wouldn’t that cover it?

madcapper's avatar

@jfos punishment of crimes is meant as a deterrent so that others will not want to commit the same crime as others in the past. If criminals were merely given a slap on the wrist every time they broke a law then they would keep breaking it. I agree that many of our laws in this country are archaic and should be repealed but the majority are sound enough to be punishable. This guy fucked a lot of people out of a lot of money and I think he should pay the price accordingly. Rotting the rest of his life in jail is sufficient, at least to me, in this case.

jfos's avatar

@madcapper But that isn’t accordingly. And I proposed something much more severe than a slap on the wrist.

He did fuck a lot of people out of a lot of money, which is extremely unethical, but whatever happened to human nature? Survival of the fittest? Nowadays everyone is so protected/prohibited by laws and driven by money that we aren’t even living anymore.

madcapper's avatar

@jfos ahh so your saying Hammurabi’s code, eye for an eye, let the people he fucked over dole out the punishment? I am not opposed to that haha

jfos's avatar

Right. I mean eye for an eye would be just taking his money and trust, but yes—let the people he scammed deliver the punishment.

mzdesigns's avatar

maybe a good idea would of been either 150yr. prison sentence or setting him free and let him try to get home from the courthouse

Darwin's avatar

The problem with letting his victims have at him is that there wouldn’t be enough of him to go around. After the first 10 or 20 had their turns, nothing would be left for anyone else.

madcapper's avatar

@mzdesigns I see somebody watched the Daily Show :) haha

madcapper's avatar

@Darwin each person throws a stone? It worked with Mussolini…

mzdesigns's avatar

ya it was from the daily show…but—heck is kinda true eh :p haha save some tax dollars

Makstarn's avatar

The total length of a sentence includes all the individual sentences; so added together, they may add up to far more than a human’s lifespan. It has the effect of preventing the prisoner from ever being released because even an early release may not occur until long after the person is quite aged…

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther