Saturday, November 08, 2003

"Whoever has compassion for the cruel will be eventually cruel to the compassionate"

Except in rare cases (that involve something to do with politics or people affected with un-Croatian DNA) Croatian judiciary, on average, believes in the kind word as the most efficient tool of criminal justice. Even the most serious offenders – rapists, drug dealers, murderers etc. – hardly spend more than five years behind bars. Despite having the law in its books for five years, Croatian courts only once used maximum penalty of 40-year prison – for the man who had misfortune of shooting judge together with his wife and wife's lawyer during divorce proceedings.

The more cruel and more vicious murder it is, the less likely the murderer would go to jail. Instead of issuing long sentences, courts' favourite method of keeping the most dangerous people from the streets is mandatory hospitalisation, and health workers in mental institution have a nasty habit of pronouncing such people cured only after few years. Few months ago city of Split witnessed the aftermath of such humane policy in most spectacular fashion – only four years after being convicted for gunning down and setting man alight, one individual caused havoc in one of Split's cafes. Police intervened and the hours-long stand-off ended with one policeman being stabbed and officially "cured" stabber being gunned down by policeman's partners.

It seems that Croatia isn't the only country suffering from Mother Theresa's school of criminal justice. Israel has the same problem, according to Imshin, Israeli blogger who is added to my blogroll.


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