Deadly Justice

Dexter Morgan from the book Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay is a fictional vigilante serial killer who can be compared to the criminal justice system because he was taught that it wasn’t adequate for society. His police officer adoptive-father helped him control his murderous impulses by limiting his victims to only people who were serial killers, especially those who managed to get out of the prison system or were let off the hook completely because of loopholes in the judicial system. His brutal method was to background-check and track down a potential serial killer to confirm if they were guilty. Once absolute, he would knock the victim unconscious and tie them to a table covered in saran wrap. His victim would then wake up to pictures of their victims in order that they would understand why they were guilty, and then Dexter would ceremoniously murder the victim with a knife. This could be compared a rogue police officer who intentionally murders during an arrest, or to the death penalty, where a criminal has been caught, gone through a fair trial and declared guilty enough to receive the death sentence. The difference between Dexter’s and the criminal justice system’s methods is that only the latter generally follows US constitutional law while Dexter’s methods follow what his father taught him.

Police misconduct is a common theme for Dexter. He works in the Miami-Dade Police Department as a forensic blood-splatter analyst, while his adoptive sister is a police officer who later gets promoted. While police are portrayed positively, there are exceptions where a cop may go rogue, even within the police station. In real life, police officers are an essential part of our society. There are some bad apples, but it is often difficult to distinguish true police brutality from officers who are only doing their job. Because officers need to rely on their better judgment to properly react to situations, the amount of force that would be necessary is based on many different factors, and they often need to decide on how to react in seconds. If someone appears to be holding a gun and refuses to comply when told to drop it, better judgment would be to assume that the person could cause serious harm, and would also likely resist arrest. Unfortunately, there are instances that happen frequently, where racial discrimination occurs, or a situation is not properly dealt with because of a bad judgment call. Body-worn cameras have been proving as an effective method to lower the amount of police brutality drastically, but are not currently cost-effective because of the archiving costs (Dees). President-elect Donald Trump supports body-worn cameras and that federal funding should be available for them, but believes it should be up to the individual states on whether their use should be mandatory (Jacobs). Eventually, police brutality can become a thing of the past, should the proper preventions be put in place.

Another act in the criminal justice system that can be compared to Dexter is the death penalty. Lethal injections, and in some states the electric chair are the most common ways that the criminal justice system uses for criminals with a death sentence. The death sentence can only be applicable to a case if an accuser specifically requests it. On the other hand, Dexter’s victims all receive death by knife, which is extensively more painful and primitive than lethal injections. Usage of the death penalty in the US varies throughout the states. An increasing amount of states chose to no longer use the “cruel and unusual punishment” of death because it could be unconstitutional (Gonchar). Occasionally, there are criminals who request the death penalty, because they would choose to believe that life in the prison system is worse than death.

The prison system of today is an overcrowded money-generating machine. For every occupant, a high amount of tax-payer money is provided for food, clothing, etc. Prisons are often acquired by large corporations who want to generate continuous revenue. By privatizing a prison, it can have a higher occupancy than a public prison and earn an extensively higher amount of revenue. In fact, companies such as the Corrections Corporations of America have a clause in their contracts with prisons to require anywhere from 70 to 100 percent occupancy and will penalize those prisons if they can’t meet that quota (Kirkham). Because of this, many prisoners who could potentially leave early due to good behavior are often restricted from leaving. Alternatively, when prisons overcrowd, they may let out felons who had a life sentence without parole (Wallin & Klarich Law). This is why many judges might hand out consecutive life sentences to ensure the convicted remain in prison.

For Dexter, the criminal justice system is not something he fully believes in. To him, it contains loopholes and leniencies that could prevent proper justice. He is the “judge, jury, and executioner” in the sense that he is controlling his impulses to kill only those who would deserve it and no one else. It would seem that not only are his methods are unlawful, but some of the methods of the criminal justice system are as well. Those methods that are compliant with the Constitution, such as its policies on the proper policing, the death penalty, and the prison system are either too lenient or too corrupt to provide proper justice in our society.

Works Cited:

Darkly Dreaming Dexter. Digital image. Doubleday, 6 Sept. 2011. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.

This is the cover image for the original 2004 printing of the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter.

Dees, Tim. “Why Obama’s Bodycam Initiative Won’t Work.” Police One. Praetorian Group, 3 Dec. 2014. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.

One factor that must be considered when purchasing body-worn cameras for the police force is the fact that storage space is an expensive necessity for archival of video footage.

Gonchar, Michael. “Should the United States Stop Using the Death Penalty?” The New York Times. The New York Times, 08 Apr. 2014. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.

The Eight Amendment of the Constitution prevents imposing cruel and unusual punishments by the government. Therefore, the death penalty can be considered unconstitutional, which is why an increasing amount of states are no longer using the death penalty.

Jacobs, Ben. “Donald Trump Tells the Guardian Police Body Cameras ‘need Federal Funding'” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 13 Oct. 2015. Web. 15 Dec. 2016

Our government may have more federal money put towards a now essential piece of equipment for police officers. It will be up to the states to decide whether they are used, but funding would be available.

Kirkham, Chris. “Prison Quotas Push Lawmakers To Fill Beds, Derail Reform.” The Huffington Post., 19 Sept. 2013. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.

Large corporations that privatize prisons require a minimum occupancy of inmates because otherwise, their money-generating investment isn’t earning an adequate amount of money. This money is coming from taxpayer dollars.

Lindsay, Jeff. Darkly Dreaming Dexter. New York: Doubleday, 2004. Print.

This is the first novel of an eight-book series by Jeff Lindsay. The main character of the series is Dexter Morgan, the cultural artifact of the essay. The Showtime television series Dexter is based on the novels.

Wallin & Klarich Law. “California Prisoners Released, Changing Meaning of.” Southern California Defense Blog. Wallin & Klarich, 24 Mar. 2014. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.

With the prison system overcrowding, even felons who received life without parole could potentially receive parole. This can be thought of as either a positive second chance or as a corrupt prison system.