Ladies and Gentlemen, the issue of alcohol and punishment is one that has for years drawn as many varied opinions as it has drawn criticism. One particular aspect of this topic frequently debated is the appropriateness of certain sentences prescribed for crimes related to alcoholism. While different jurisdictions have passed different sentences on alcohol related crimes, one thing has been common to all of them; they all appear to be too harsh for those particular crimes. (Hariman,29)
As a professional social psychologist, I equally find the sentences unreasonable. First, any court presiding over an alcohol related offence must realize that such offences are often committed in a state of intoxication. Although the Law recognizes this as a defense, it rarely ever succeeds before a court of law (Richards,112). A Jail term beyond a year for being drunk and disorderly is surely subjecting the offender to unfair suffering. Although certain alcohol-related offences may be serious enough to attract heavier penalties, it is imperative that clear and well defined sentences are put in place to help safeguard the rights of the drunken offender.( Black, 79)
Take the example of a man who, while drunk and driving, accidentally causes the death of another. This in most cases would be treated as a murder case or, at least, that of manslaughter. One thing that is clear here is that this case cannot be treated in a similar manner as that in which a man intentionally loads his gun and fires it at another with an apparent intention to cause death. Still the sentences that would be handed to these two offenders would most likely be of the same intensity. (Inciardi,18)
Alcohol related offences should be handled with considerable sobriety bearing in mind that the drinking culture is not new to the world, and that alcohol may appear evil to many but it still occupies a central part of the human entertainment and merriment behavior. (Currie,118)
Black, E. Rhetorical Criticism: A Study in Method. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1978.
Currie, E. Toward a Policy on Drugs. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1993.
Hariman, R. Political Style: The Artistry of Power. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1995.
Incardi, J. Legalization Madness. San Diego: Greenhaven Publishers, 1996 .
Richards, I. The Philosophy of Rhetoric New York: Oxford University Press, 1965.