It's one thing to create deterrents for other crimes with respect to people not mentally disabled. Pedophiles can be castrated or drugged, murderers imprisoned, etc. Psychopaths, as rare as they are, can be contained and kept separate from those not inclined to inflict harm or pain (i.e., society at large). Petty criminals can be rehabilitated, as mountains of research has shown. Proper education, opportunity for oppressed and minority groups, and especially rehabilitation programs and services for those with criminal records has substantially decreased dangerousness in humans, at least it would if we expanded on this line of thinking for those potentially dangerous and those already dangerous.
How do you handle those who are mentally disabled and who are also dangerous? By mentally disabled, I am NOT talking about the mentally ill. I am not talking about the scores of schizophrenics and bipolar individuals currently imprisoned. I am talking about organic mental retardation.
The mentally disabled also have programs and rehabilitative services available to them. Sometimes, more than what non-mentally disabled individuals can receive. Those who are mentally disabled and inflict harm or pain on others offers the justice system an interesting dilemma - because they are not competent, they cannot be tried like a competent person, or even a mentally ill person. So they are placed in state hospitals (which takes away from the possible opportunities of those mentally ill, who arguably have more potential as their brain is not organically low-functioning) or in LRAs (Least Restrictive Alternatives) in which they are housed in residential settings or group homes with other residents of similar backgrounds. Treatment plans are written up to keep them from their target, to keep them medicated, to keep them controlled and contained. Nothing ever changes, they typically reside in these programs for life because they are incompetent for life (unlike, by contrast, those whose brains are not organically low-functioning).
So Is this it? We just put them on the states' dime, hire workers at barely a living wage to provide substandard care and supervision? Let them live out a meaningless existence so they can shit in their pants and take pills to keep the workers' sanity intact?
Why are they born? I'm going to question God now. If there is a purpose for every human life, why are mentally disabled people born, particularly, dangerous mentally disabled people? The greatest gift is mental ability, the greatest curse mental disability. Why do I claim this? Because with mental ability comes so much more - the gift of resilience, the gift of rationality, creative thinking, problem solving, gratification delay, a desire for learning, a desire for change when one is ready. Among those mentally ill, high IQs also exist. There is potential, potential for change and opportunity, a chance for such individuals to do for themselves and others. A chance for purpose. I am living proof of this.
So for the dangerous mentally disabled purpose, who arguably cannot change in any significant way, what is the purpose?
Side note to accentuate my point, to further the conundrum in my mind regarding those mentally disabled in the non-mentally ill way - there is a Korean community in New York being studied; high rates of autism among the children are being reported. In such communties, school achievement is highly valued. These autistic children are a source of shame for these Korean families. Don't judge me when I say this, but I understand that shame they feel. I understand where it is coming from and why they feel it.
I work with mentally disabled, dangerous individuals. One of my clients is a dangerous child rapist, severely retarded, and has been institutionalized all his life. Why was he brought into this world? For what purpose is he here? To me it is absurd and cruel that some "loving and merciful God" would allow this human creature to exist.