Our modern justice system is designed around two foundational concepts, innocent until proved guilty and assigning punishment which is "equal" to inappropriate behavior.
This is why we have judges and trials, so judges can determine guilt and assign an appropriate punishment which should be "equal" to the crime. Essentially, "an eye for an eye".
An "eye for an eye" is an interesting concept and it depends on values assigned to behaviors.
Suppose an individual breaks a window and steals a watch that the retailer values at $500 (but, I can get it on Amazon for $250). The thief is immediately caught and the watch is recovered. It costs $1,000.00 to repair the window.
The thief is fined and incarcerated. Fines are ??? Incarceration ??? Probably a misdemeanor, a year in jail and a fine of as much as $1000.00. http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/crime-penalties/federal/Burglarly.htm
How do we value time? Minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Do we charge people for "room and board"? How much? 24*7.25=174 8*7.25=58 We incarcerate people for 24 hours a day. Is a criminals time worth $174 a day?
How do we place a value on trauma? Many people are traumatized in jails. Prisons in the United States typically violate International laws against torture. We legalize torture of convicted criminals and protest torture of terrorists, unless they are convicted and incarcerated and then we can torture them! https://www.afsc.org/document/torture-us-prisons
How do we value trauma to the victim? Do we value trauma to victims more than criminals? Suppose the only job a person can get is dealing drugs. Unemployment is interesting. Unemployment only counts people receiving unemployment. Real unemployment, the difference between employable people and employed people (Labor Force Participation) among blacks is 40%. That means real unemployment is 60%. Census claims the number is 61%, but, in 2013 (the latest date I can get numbers) out of 32 million people over 16 only 13 million are employed.
Okay, so the only job an individual in a 60% unemployment bracket can get is dealing drugs and that person is tossed in prison for 20 years where they are tortured based on international laws. I'll let you equate the values in the system for that one because they have nothing to do with "an eye for an eye", in my opinion.
Suppose we have a Senator who violates the constitution? How should they be punished? Surprise, there are no laws which specifically criminalize Senators who violate Article 6 of the Constitution during confirmation proceedings by asking nominees for civil service about their religious beliefs.
Senator Durbin did this during Judge Alito's confirmation hearings and no one even objected. I wasn't surprised because it happens all the time even though it is illegal. I'm just picking this incident out because I documented it in a discussion I had with an attorney friend of mine.
https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-109shrg25429/pdf/CHRG-109shrg25429.pdf Page 576
An "eye for an eye", punishment equal to offense, is a Pavlovian conditioning method. For Pavlovian conditioning to work punishment must be consistent and consistently applied. http://psych.fullerton.edu/rlippa/Psych101/outline2.htm
Lets face it, there is no consistency either in the application of punishment or the "value" of punishment. Our current punishment standards are overly harsh, have nothing to do with equating value of behavior/punishment and result in recidivism rather than behavior modification.
As we learn studying Pavlovian conditioning the lack of consistency in punishment will literally drive those being conditioned insane.
Our justice system is currently designed to drive people crazy. Literally, I'm not being figurative here. I'm pointing out that our current system of punishment is literally driving people crazy.