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Boethius – Another liberal in the criminal justice system

May 27, 2014

“[Lawyers] try to get judges to show mercy to the victims of crimes for their terrible injuries when, in fact, the mercy should be shown to the criminals. Those who have done wrong should not be prosecuted with outrage and anger, but should be treated with kindness and sympathy, as if they were sick men who could have their guilt lessened by punishment, as if it were some kind of malignancy…. [I]n the hearts of the wise, there should be no room for hatred. Only a fool would hate good men; and as for the bad, there is no reason to hate them either. Weakness is a disease of the body, and similarly wickedness is a disease of the mind. We feel sympathy rather than hatred for those who are sick, and those who suffer from a disability greater than any physical ailment deserve pity rather than blame.”

(from The Consolation of Philosophy [524] Book IV, §IV)


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