Recommended criminal justice responses. Given the weight of the crime committed by Kistler and his admission to the charges against him, it seems quite likely and indeed highly probable that SLT will not stand against the way of punishing Kistler. Neither will the theory suggest punishments that do not fit the context of the theory itself. Otherwise, the recommended criminal justice response to be provided by the theory will serve as a futile means of putting the theory into practice as it will not ‘act’ according to what it essentially suggests.
And to better understand what the SLT suggests in terms of the criminal justice response towards Kistler means to better comprehend the type or types of punishment that must be served accordingly. Since the theory explains the criminal act of Kistler as something that is strongly attributed to the learned processes of the individual reinforced by rewards and the avoidance of punishment, there are at least two ways of responding to Kistler’s case in terms of the criminal justice system.
One is that punishment, which Kistler has so long avoided throughout the course of his internet sexual exploits, must immediately be served. Two is that Kistler must be ‘treated’ at least in terms of reforming his actions. Apparently, the law already provides sanctions for pornography which applies to the case of Kistler specifically Section 2256 of the Crimes and Criminal Procedure. The next question will then be the degree of the penalty to be imposed which more or less depends on the perceived severity of the case according to the lawful discretion of the court judge.
That is the part where SLT will initially enter the application of the penalty. More specifically, SLT will recommend that punishment must indeed be imposed in correlation to the aim of breaking the ‘direct conditioning’ of Kistler. This recommendation can also be seen in correspondence to the second recommendation which is the ‘treatment’ of Kistler in order to reform his behavior acquired through ‘direct conditioning’ which is also in correlation to the prediction and prevention of future parallel cases, much less the occurrence of the same crime by the same person.
The second recommendation amply pertains to the idea of not only ‘treating’ the behavior of Kistler per se but preventing its reoccurrence specifically from Kistler. Hence, the second recommendation focuses on reforming the Kistler’s behavior and perception towards sexual coercion through internet child pornography since Kistler admits not knowing that what he was doing was causing harm to other people, i. e. his victims. Apart from serving a 24 year federal imprisonment (Associated Press, 2007), SLT may very well recommend a ‘psychological treatment’ for Kistler as much as possible or as far as the law permits.
One can also argue that, to a certain degree, “prisoners are patients” since they also exhibit “disfigurement of character” in contrast to other individuals (“China Starts to Offer Counseling for Prisoners,” 2000). The next aspect of the recommendation that must be tackled is the specific approach in meeting such an end. The case of New Zealand’s attempt to provide psychological or psychiatric treatment for its prisoners (Braybrook & Southey, 1991) can be taken as an exact model or, at least, a guide in executing the second recommendation.
The rationale behind the efforts to provide treatment for Kistler can be traced from the precepts of the SLT. That is, since the theory implies that an individual has certain behaviors because of ‘direct conditioning’ or of acquiring these behaviors from the sense of reward and the avoidance of punishment, one way in order to break behaviors is to relieve the person of the perception that, as long as there are existing rewards being obtained and that punishment is being avoided, any behavior can be prolonged or continued even with the absence of the sense of right and wrong.
The Social Learning Theory provides one with the understanding on why certain behaviors occurs inasmuch as these behaviors are repeated by the individual over time regardless of whether or not they perceive the rightfulness or wrongfulness of their deeds. While the theory provides reasons behind the occurrence of certain behaviors, it also implicitly provides several ways on how to address these behaviors, specifically in terms of hindering the probable reoccurrence of these behaviors, through an analysis of what causes the continued manifestation of certain individual or group behaviors.