sentencing discounts to criminals with childhood experiences beyond their control, what about surcharges for not exercising self-responsibility?
Every individual has the ability to exercise personal agency. It might be argued for some it is reduced to a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea but it is usually evident that arriving at that impasse could have been avoided.
Effort and persistence go unremarked while failure and indifference mark out the victims among us. And don't we love victims.
So long as, of course, the culprits are fashionable - colonization, capitalism, racism and patriarchal oppression.
In reality people have never been more able to control their lives than right now. There is more prosperity and choice than has ever existed.
If it were my call, there would be no discounts. They make a mockery of the free will that defines us. They are in direct conflict with the very reason laws exist. Worse, they send an ambiguous and confused message to offenders and society.
If they are going to be handed out, they should be delivered with a surcharge and explanation.
"Yes, you had a terrible childhood, but so did many others who managed to avoid criminality. You knowingly chose the wrong path so here's a matching surcharge for not exercising the self-responsibility that others with similar backgrounds managed to."
Lindsay Mitchell is a welfare commentator who blogs HERE.