There are both principled and practical reasons for why one should not allow torture or maltreatment of suspects or convicts. A practical one that I believe does not get enough attention is the fact that to catch a criminal, one is often dependent on tips from people who know him. Rachel Gillum writes about “Why the NYPD’s decision to drop a unit that spies on Muslims may help counterterrorism,” because it is essential that the police be regarded as fair and impartial. What I am thinking about the fact that the bar for tipping law enforcement about an acquaintance, friend or relative probably depends on the treatment the suspect can be expected to get. For example, the father of the Detroit/underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab gave the CIA information before the son’s capture. Would he have done so if he expected that his son would face extensive maltreatment in the hands of the authorities?
Practical reasons for not allowing maltreatment
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