Victimless crime

From ArticleWorld

A victimless crime, often explained as a consensual crime, is one where two or more adult parties engage in actions that are illegal where they are, but do not cause unwanted offense or harm to either. In order for a crime to be discussed as victimless, all participants must be above the age of consent. Common examples of victimless crimes are: prostitution, sale of alcohol, illegal drugs, or pornography, where prohibited, gambling, doctor-assisted suicide and other forms of euthanasia, and a number of sexual acts including sodomy.

Reformers' objections

People believe that victimless crimes should be [[decriminalization|decrimimalized for two main reasons. First, they raise the issue of inherent human freedom, and argue that as long as no harm is perceived or can be proven, consenting adults should be allowed to engage in any activity they wish to. This school of thought believes that governments and legal systems have no business interfering in individuals' consensual sexual or recreational habits. (The debate on doctor-assisted suicide is more complex, but often comes down to freedom too.) This point of view is closely associated with Libertarians, though not exclusively. Those in this camp point to indigenous communities, where barring harm, there are no proscriptions on narcotics, sexual freedom, and entertainment.

The other major argument is about revenue. Those in favor of reform point to the massive increase in revenue from taxation should any or all of these activities be legalized. Regulation in this way is not objectionable. Revenue would also be boosted, as would productivity, if people in prison for such offences could rejoin the workforce. This would have the added benefit of freeing up resources otherwise used to constantly expand correctional facilities.

Opposing opinions

There are many who hold that the current state of regulation is just fine. There are two major arguments on this front too. The first address the issue of public morality and 'decency'. People believe that it is an inalienable duty of a state to maintain the moral health of its citizens. Some cite the hard-to-control access of minors to alcohol and illicit drugs, as well as the inability of young people to understand fully the consequences of their decisions. Other uphold interpretations of religious practices and prohibitions on sexual acts.

The other argument, economic and social in nature, points to the decrease in productivity when people cannot perform their work under the influence of narcotics and other addictive habits such as gambling and pornography. This also leads to dereliction of duty. In addition, they argue, people under the influence negatively affect the cost to society of secure public spaces and roads, by causing and having accidents that drive up the price of insurance and public safety measures.