View Poll Results: What do you think of Capital Punishment?

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Thread: Capital Punishment

  1. #121
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    Re: Capital Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by Cephus View Post
    Being a threat to society is not the only reason to remove someone from it. There's this thing called justice, ever heard of it? And honestly, putting someone in prison has just as many risks, more in fact, of punishing an innocent as the death penalty does. I don't care if you can let them out, no amount of money can compensate someone for years of their life spent rotting in a hole. So let's not punish anyone, we might make a mistake! Oh noes!
    Yes but if you mistakenly jail someone for 20 years, they can still seek justice, compensation and a new life. If you mistakenly execute someone (as Kandahar's figures show - that's alarmingly common in the US) - there's no way back for the wronged. Further injustice is that some of your states don't even allow exonneration in the case of mistakes.

    There's nothing right or correct about the state killing it's own people, ever. Not in a civilised society anyway.

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    Re: Capital Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by Viktyr Korimir View Post
    -- And, for that matter, what is the difference between a sentence that ends in death within 10 years and a sentence that ends in death within 30?
    An innocent person may have 10 years to prove their innocence whereas fast track death by state means "forget it, we don't care about justice anyway..."

  3. #123
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    Re: Capital Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by Infinite Chaos View Post
    An innocent person may have 10 years to prove their innocence whereas fast track death by state means "forget it, we don't care about justice anyway..."
    Nothing to do of not caring about Justice. It just that someone should be allowed to appeal only so many times instead of wasting tax payer dollars and having a 30 to 40 years between there trail and the caring out of there sentence.

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    Re: Capital Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by Andalublue View Post
    Trouble is, your heart only appears to bleed for the victims of crimes committed by the poorly educated, or black, or hispanic, or poor criminals. Where's all the outrage about the victims of the rich and well-connected, well-represented criminals whose advantages get them off scot free from the consequences of their actions? It's as if the vicissitudes of the legal system don't really exist, that all is lovely and just and functional, when the world knows otherwise. For that reason it is not the progressives, worrying about miscarriages of justice, who are letting down the victims, it's those who are blasé about how well the system functions who are indifferent to the righteous demands of the victims. The victims of all crimes deserve justice, and justice is not served simply by ensuring that somebody pays a price for every crime, but that the right person pays for the right crime.
    This is just a really bad argument. It presumes that people who are tough on violent crime don't hold similarly tough views on financial or other types of crimes.

    I believe in the death penalty. I've spent time in the prison system, and there is no benefit to maintaining, indefinitely, the life of someone who has committed heinous crimes. They pose a risk to every other inmate in the facility and the people who are hired to guard them. That risk, to me, is unacceptable, particularly when weighed against the benefit of keeping these people alive.

    I believe that penalty should be applied equitably to ANY killer who commits a heinous crime. For the record, serial killers are more often white and middle to upper income, and I'm a firm supporter that those folks, above all, should receive the death penalty.

    Furthermore, I believe in tough sentences for all types of crimes, and have advocated such on this forum in any number of threads. I believe in prison terms, for instance, for employers who knowingly hire illegal workers. I believe in LONG prison terms for elected officials who accept bribes, who accept tainted campaign donations, or who engage in other types of fraud that undermines our democratic system. I believe in harsh penalties (including a long stay in a standard, not white collar, prison) for white collar criminals (think Enron) who rob other people of their life savings.

    I would be perfectly happy, fwiw, if we expanded the death penalty to execute people who kill a child violently or who commit child sexual abuse (the standard is rarely applied in those instances, for some reason, in terms of sentencing, the system seems to treat child killers as less worthy of death than those who kill adults. I see no purpose to maintaining the lives of people who victimize innocent members of society and cause untold harms that extend for generations into the future. Most of those people, for the record, are middle class and white.

    I've spent my entire career working with poor black and brown kids in the barrio. Some of my former clients have and will serve long prison terms for multiple and heinous murders. I believe that they, also, should pay the ultimate penalty, in spite of the circumstances of their lives, because justice is blind and should be applied on the basis of the CRIMES COMMITTED, and not the life circumstances of the offender. There is no excuse for taking an innocent person's life.

    Do I believe that there is a disproportionate level of sentencing for minorities? Yes. It's undeniable. But that doesn't mean that the sentences that convicted minority offenders are serving are wrong. It means that we need to work harder to hold white offenders accountable to the same level. In fact, there are many areas in which our sentencing needs to be equalized (a good example is the discrepancy between mandatory sentences for cocaine and crack possession in many places).

    I understand that you're a progressive, but I can't help thinking, when I read your spirited defenses of these poverty stricken minorities, that you've never actually sat down, face to face, with one of them who has actually killed someone, or even moreso, with his/her victims. I have. I've spent years doing it. I am a merciful person who believes in helping people, to a point. But when you kill someone, you've gone past the point at which I can help you, and we, as a society, need to think primarily about how we will protect innocent people from you.
    Last edited by Catz Part Deux; 02-02-11 at 10:26 AM.

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    Re: Capital Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by Catz Part Deux View Post
    This is just a really bad argument. It presumes that people who are tough on violent crime don't hold similarly tough views on financial or other types of crimes.
    You misunderstand me, Catz. I'm not referring to white-collar crime, I'm talking about violent crime, capital crimes committed by people who have money, connections and representation - the things that many or most of those who end up on death row do not have - to ensure they avoid the ultimate penalty. What I'm saying is that justice is not blind and not equitable. The poor, the marginalised and the uneducated will always face the fullest consequences of their actions, whereas the moneyed and influential will not.

    I believe in the death penalty. I've spent time in the prison system, and there is no benefit to maintaining, indefinitely, the life of someone who has committed heinous crimes. They pose a risk to every other inmate in the facility and the people who are hired to guard them. That risk, to me, is unacceptable, particularly when weighed against the benefit of keeping these people alive.
    I think this is a poor argument unless you can show that it is the prisoners who, according perhaps to people of your mindset, should be executed who form the most serious risk to prison officers. I suspect it is gang-bangers, people of violence and career criminals who, whilst not having committed capital crimes, constitute the greatest numbers and pose the greatest risk to prison staff.
    For the record, serial killers are more often white and middle to upper income, and I'm a firm supporter that those folks, above all, should receive the death penalty.
    And yet, is it this group that constitutes the major social group represented on death row? No, that would be the poor, mentally ill and poorly-educated.
    Furthermore, I believe in tough sentences for all types of crimes, and have advocated such on this forum in any number of threads. I believe in prison terms, for instance, for employers who knowingly hire illegal workers. I believe in LONG prison terms for elected officials who accept bribes, who accept tainted campaign donations, or who engage in other types of fraud that undermines our democratic system. I believe in harsh penalties (including a long stay in a standard, not white collar, prison) for white collar criminals (think Enron) who rob other people of their life savings.
    Well, as you might guess, I believe that societies that jail fewer and work hardest to keep criminals out of institutions and still contributing to that society are the healthier for it. To me, incarceration should be almost exclusively used for criminals that have committed violent crime. White-collar and non-violent crime should be dealt with differently using supervision, financial penalties, part-time lock-ups, curfews and such like. I think over your side of the pond you use incarceration as much for political purposes, to show the wider society that the political class "is really tough on crime", as using it in the knowledge that it is working to protect society from future criminality.

    I would be perfectly happy, fwiw, if we expanded the death penalty to execute people who kill a child violently or who commit child sexual abuse (the standard is rarely applied in those instances, for some reason, in terms of sentencing, the system seems to treat child killers as less worthy of death than those who kill adults. I see no purpose to maintaining the lives of people who victimize innocent members of society and cause untold harms that extend for generations into the future. Most of those people, for the record, are middle class and white.
    I'm aware of this and how you feel about it. We've agreed to disagree on this many times.
    Do I believe that there is a disproportionate level of sentencing for minorities? Yes. It's undeniable.
    That was my major point.
    But that doesn't mean that the sentences that convicted minority offenders are serving are wrong. It means that we need to work harder to hold white offenders accountable to the same level.
    I'm not saying those that are from disadvantaged sections of society should not face the consequences of their actions. I'm merely saying that they seem to be the sections that currently do face those consequences. I was calling for a little consideration for the victims of crimes committed by those sections of society who, through their wealth and privilege, manage to avoid the stiffest penalties that their criminality merits.

    I understand that you're a progressive, but I can't help thinking, when I read your spirited defenses of these poverty stricken minorities, that you've never actually sat down, face to face, with one of them who has actually killed someone, or even moreso, with his/her victims. I have. I've spent years doing it. I am a merciful person who believes in helping people, to a point. But when you kill someone, you've gone past the point at which I can help you, and we, as a society, need to think primarily about how we will protect innocent people from you.
    No, I haven't. I would be a hypocrite to claim that, had I had the same life experiences that you have had, I would feel exactly the same as I do now. I can't and won't say that. What I will say is that I do know of people (family, actually) who work in law enforcement who believe passionately that the DP is wrong and would not help in preventing crime. Your position maybe (how would I know?) a majority opinion amongst people in law enforcement and corrections sectors, but I don't believe that it is universally held. Even if it were, society is the body that should decide these issues, not just the sector of society tasked with administrating justice.
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  6. #126
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    Re: Capital Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by X Factor View Post
    Well, I'm not the one saying they should be taken out of the gene pool, I just think that someone who commits capital murder and is convicted of it, should pay the ultimate price. Keep in mind, cap murder is worse than ordinary murder. Usually a murder is capital if they've murdered a child, a police officer, more than one person or if they've committed murder while committing another felony. Also, to get a judge or jury to assess the DP, the evidence of guilt has to be pretty overwhelming. The odds of convicting the wrong guy nowadays is virtually nil. Look at the AZ shooting, is there really any question of guilt? If not, regardless of any mental issues he should be put to death. Do you disagree?
    Yes I disagree. I am not willing to accept the consequences of using the death penalty, which means that innocent people will die. You can say it's virtually nil, but it's not. Didn't Texas not too long ago get into trouble for trying to DP an innocent man? Illinois had to put a moratorium on their DP. When people start breaking it down, they find a non-zero number of innocent people on death row. When we use it, we will kill innocent people. If you try to expedite the procedure, you will kill more innocent people. That has to be understood when making arguments for or against the DP. I say that because of this failure mode and because of the sophistication of our jail system, there is no longer a need to use the DP and in fact it is much better to get rid of since then you can at least eliminate that method of killing innocent people by the State.

    But if you want a DP, you should do it like CO does it where the required evidence is above and beyond anything. You pretty much have to prove completely and 100% that the accused did it. We also don't really have anyone on our death row, 3 people on it but we've only executed one person since 1977.
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    Re: Capital Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by Andalublue View Post
    You misunderstand me, Catz. I'm not referring to white-collar crime, I'm talking about violent crime, capital crimes committed by people who have money, connections and representation - the things that many or most of those who end up on death row do not have - to ensure they avoid the ultimate penalty. What I'm saying is that justice is not blind and not equitable. The poor, the marginalised and the uneducated will always face the fullest consequences of their actions, whereas the moneyed and influential will not.
    I disagree. There are plenty of convicted death row inmates who came from upper income brackets and aren't black. Furthermore, the fact that this is not as often applied towards someone with means does not mean that the crimes don't warrant this application. Apparently, until it is applied across the board in every instance, you don't ever believe it should be applied.

    However, even if it were being applied equitably across the board, I suspect you'd still be squeamish about it, which means that the disproportionate application is not the real issue for you. It's just a dodge.

    I think this is a poor argument unless you can show that it is the prisoners who, according perhaps to people of your mindset, should be executed who form the most serious risk to prison officers. I suspect it is gang-bangers, people of violence and career criminals who, whilst not having committed capital crimes, constitute the greatest numbers and pose the greatest risk to prison staff.
    Charles Manson is who I think of when I think of a poster child for execution. Timothy McVeigh is another. Bob Berdella is a third. Any of the individuals on this list, for instance: List of serial killers by country - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    What I'm thinking of are psychotics (now referred to as anti-social personality disorder) who kill for their own gratification and lack empathy in general. Those individuals are difficult to guard and dangerous to other inmates.

    What I'm not thinking about are gang members, or any of the false (and frankly, rather offensive) position you've imagined that I hold. Of the eight gang members that I worked with that committed homicide, none are serving death row sentences, and none should be, in my opinion. Simple homicide is not enough to warrant a death sentence in the U.S., which you'd realize, if you'd actually researched this subject. It has to be an egregious or multiple homicides with multiple predicates in order for a judge or jury to grant a sentence of death in most parts of the U.S.

    I do not believe that the death penalty should EVER be applied in less than capital cases, with the exception of individuals convicted of serial child rape and/or child killing.

    Please stop creating false (and offensively racist) positions for me.

    Your argument is a strawman. And yet, is it this group that constitutes the major social group represented on death row? No, that would be the poor, mentally ill and poorly-educated.
    As stated above, you don't even understand my argument.

    Nor do you seem to understand the statistics of death row prisoners.

    Here's something that might surprise you:

    Race and sentencing is another subject that the study shed light on. Conventional wisdom holds that African Americans constitute a disproportionately large share of those on death row, noted the authors. The study did show that the higher the proportion of murders by African Americans, the higher the proportion of African Americans on death row. However, it also showed that African-American murder defendants represent 50 percent of all murder defendants in the United States but only 40 percent of those on death row, and the gap is even greater where least expected -- in the South.
    Cornell News: Death row demographics

    Yes, there are more poor, poorly educated and minority people on death row than is represented in the general population. However, those factors play a major role in offending patterns. Black people, on average, KILL MORE PEOPLE, per capita, than white people do (as a percentage of the population). Lower income people kill more people than higher income people do. Those are the dirty secrets that your noble argument doesn't encompass.

    And, black murderers, per capita, are less likely to be sentenced to death row, in spite of the fact that they commit 50% of the murders in the U.S.

    When we've figured out how to keep people from killing each other (and in particular, how to keep black people from killing black people, since the largest group of murder victims in the U.S. are black), I'm sure the death row will sort itself out. At present, however, it is a reflection of actual crime numbers in the U.S. Blacks disproportionately murder people, and thus, are disproportionately represented in prison. I don't like it, I've spent my career trying to address it and stop gang-related violence, but it's a matter of fact.

    Well, as you might guess, I believe that societies that jail fewer and work hardest to keep criminals out of institutions and still contributing to that society are the healthier for it.
    That's a bias on your part, and is not necessarily supported by evidence.

    To me, incarceration should be almost exclusively used for criminals that have committed violent crime.
    More bias on your part.

    White-collar and non-violent crime should be dealt with differently using supervision, financial penalties, part-time lock-ups, curfews and such like. I think over your side of the pond you use incarceration as much for political purposes, to show the wider society that the political class "is really tough on crime", as using it in the knowledge that it is working to protect society from future criminality.
    Actually, I believe that financial crimes can be just as personally detrimental and damaging as a crime of violence. Do you think that a person whose life savings are stolen by Enron is better or worse off than a man who is stabbed and recovers from the injury? I've seen that financial crimes actually have a longer lasting detrimental effect on individuals than stabbings and other violent crimes do (victims, if they don't die immediately, usually recover without serious adverse effects). Further, someone who undermines the fundamentals of democracy isn't just injuring a single person, he's injuring millions of them. The sentence should fit the effects of the crime.

    No, I haven't. I would be a hypocrite to claim that, had I had the same life experiences that you have had, I would feel exactly the same as I do now. I can't and won't say that. What I will say is that I do know of people (family, actually) who work in law enforcement who believe passionately that the DP is wrong and would not help in preventing crime. Your position maybe (how would I know?) a majority opinion amongst people in law enforcement and corrections sectors, but I don't believe that it is universally held. Even if it were, society is the body that should decide these issues, not just the sector of society tasked with administrating justice.
    It's a flawed argument that the goal of the death penalty is crime prevention. It isn't. That's a false position created by people who are squeamish about culling the herd. The goal of the death penalty is to remove the ability to do harm from dangerous offenders. That's the only goal. And, when administered properly, the death penalty accomplishes that goal.
    Last edited by Catz Part Deux; 02-02-11 at 12:10 PM.

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    Re: Capital Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by Catz Part Deux View Post
    I disagree. There are plenty of convicted death row inmates who came from upper income brackets and aren't black. Furthermore, the fact that this is not as often applied towards someone with means does not mean that the crimes don't warrant this application. Apparently, until it is applied across the board in every instance, you don't ever believe it should be applied.
    Well, you know that I don't think it should be applied, period. My point is that it is clearly not applied equitably, across the board and hence it is not only wrong in principle, but discriminatory and socially divisive in practice.
    Charles Manson is who I think of when I think of a poster child for execution. Timothy McVeigh is another. Bob Berdella is a third. Any of the individuals on this list, for instance: List of serial killers by country - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    I'm sure there's no end of 'poster children' for the DP, there are some horrible people out there. But the very concept of 'poster child' is little more than an emotive PR gimmick on behalf of the practice.
    What I'm thinking of are psychotics (now referred to as anti-social personality disorder) who kill for their own gratification and lack empathy in general. Those individuals are difficult to guard and dangerous to other inmates.
    I have no doubt that this group (ASPD) is not technically mentally ill and yet their condition is severe and practically untreatable. But because society cannot treat a dangerous condition, does that mean it should discard those who suffer from it?

    I'd challenge your definition of psychotic and ASPD as synonymous. They are two quite different conditions. I'm no psychiatrist, but I'm sure CC might be able to clarify this point. Those suffering from various psychoses are clearly mentally ill and belong in hospital, not on death row.

    What I'm not thinking about are gang members, or any of the false (and frankly, rather offensive) position you've imagined that I hold. Of the eight gang members that I worked with that committed homicide, none are serving death row sentences, and none should be, in my opinion. Simple homicide is not enough to warrant a death sentence in the U.S., which you'd realize, if you'd actually researched this subject. It has to be an egregious or multiple homicides with multiple predicates in order for a judge or jury to grant a sentence of death in most parts of the U.S.
    Where did I claim that people convicted of simple homicide end up on death row?

    And, black murderers, per capita, are less likely to be sentenced to death row, in spite of the fact that they commit 50% of the murders in the U.S.
    As you just stated above, death row is not the destination of those convicted of simple murder, so the fact that black people commit 50%+ of all murders in the US is, by your own argument, irrelevant. No?
    That's a bias on your part, and is not necessarily supported by evidence.
    Well, of course it's my bias, it's a part of my argument. It's not, however, just hot air. There are countless sources of statistical data supporting the arguments against the DP, as I'm sure there are supporting it. There's some decent material to be had from here.


    More bias on your part.
    Of course. It's also called an opinion. That's what we're exchanging, no?
    Actually, I believe that financial crimes can be just as personally detrimental and damaging as a crime of violence. Do you think that a person whose life savings are stolen by Enron is better or worse off than a man who is stabbed and recovers from the injury? I've seen that financial crimes actually have a longer lasting detrimental effect on individuals than stabbings and other violent crimes do (victims, if they don't die immediately, usually recover without serious adverse effects). Further, someone who undermines the fundamentals of democracy isn't just injuring a single person, he's injuring millions of them. The sentence should fit the effects of the crime.
    And that would be your bias, or opinion, and I respect that while strenuously disagreeing with it. There are many possible aims of punishment many of which might be better served by being administered outside of correctional facilities. The problem is that the correctional industry is now a fairly major employer and a strong lobby that prevents alternative solutions from being attempted.

    It's a flawed argument that the goal of the death penalty is crime prevention. It isn't. That's a false position created by people who are squeamish about culling the herd. The goal of the death penalty is to remove the ability to do harm from dangerous offenders. That's the only goal. And, when administered properly, the death penalty accomplishes that goal.
    That is only one goal of punishment. Assuming that that is the ONLY goal of punishment is ethically and morally faulty, in my book. There may not be much possibility of rehabilitation with capital murderers (but maybe there's some), but what about deterrence? Education? Restoration? Retribution? Prevention? Merely taking away the capacity of an offender to do what they have already done seems to be too narrow a perspective on the goals of punishment. I would say that in at least 4 of these various aims of punishment the DP impedes the achievement of those ends.
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    Re: Capital Punishment

    This is a tough question. If I had to vote, I support it. Only for the reason that I believe more severe punishments will perhaps stop a few murders here and there. If the punishment were the opposite extreme, say a $100 fine, we'd have murderers all over the place. But if the punishment is possibly death, then I believe we cut back on the number of homicides which is the goal; a civilized society.

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    Re: Capital Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by Andalublue View Post
    Well, you know that I don't think it should be applied, period. My point is that it is clearly not applied equitably, across the board and hence it is not only wrong in principle, but discriminatory and socially divisive in practice.
    Except that the statistics I provided show that it isn't. So your point is moot, and all you are left with is your bias against the death penalty in practice. I'm sorry you're squeamish about it. That is a luxury that the victims of violent crime and those who deal with violent criminals don't have.

    I'm sure there's no end of 'poster children' for the DP, there are some horrible people out there. But the very concept of 'poster child' is little more than an emotive PR gimmick on behalf of the practice.
    Actually, it isn't, because the application of the death penalty is reserved for homicides with special circumstances. Thus, the death penalty is actually being applied TOWARD THE POSTER CHILDREN. As it should be.

    I have no doubt that this group (ASPD) is not technically mentally ill and yet their condition is severe and practically untreatable. But because society cannot treat a dangerous condition, does that mean it should discard those who suffer from it?
    Once they've killed multiple people in heinous ways? Absolutely. It's cost/benefit decision. The potential costs/risks of keeping them alive far outweigh the intangible benefits of doing so.

    Again, I'm sorry you're squeamish. You're allowed to be squeamish because other rough men are responsible for protecting you from these killers.

    I'd challenge your definition of psychotic and ASPD as synonymous. They are two quite different conditions. I'm no psychiatrist, but I'm sure CC might be able to clarify this point. Those suffering from various psychoses are clearly mentally ill and belong in hospital, not on death row.
    ASPD is the proper term these days for what used to be called psychopathy.

    Some people believe that psychopathic personality (psychopathy) is the same disorder. Others believe that psychopathic personality is a similar but more severe disorder.

    PubMed Health - Antisocial personality disorder
    As you just stated above, death row is not the destination of those convicted of simple murder, so the fact that black people commit 50%+ of all murders in the US is, by your own argument, irrelevant. No?
    Blacks commit most of their violence against other blacks. Ending up on death row has more to do with the race of their victims than any other factor. Those who commit heinous crimes against other blacks are less likely to end up on death row than those who commit heinous crimes against whites. In my opinion, the problem is not solved by eliminating death row, but by ensuring that the race of the victim does not play a role in sentencing.

    And that would be your bias, or opinion, and I respect that while strenuously disagreeing with it. There are many possible aims of punishment many of which might be better served by being administered outside of correctional facilities. The problem is that the correctional industry is now a fairly major employer and a strong lobby that prevents alternative solutions from being attempted.
    I don't believe that the death penalty should be evaluated on the basis of a standard which is clearly not a measure of its aims. The goals of the death penalty are not to reduce overall crime. Thus, it's preventative effects are irrelevant. The goal of the death penalty is to remove people who pose an ongoing threat of serious harm to other human beings. It accomplishes that goal admirably, and that's the standard that it should be held to.

    That is only one goal of punishment. Assuming that that is the ONLY goal of punishment is ethically and morally faulty, in my book. There may not be much possibility of rehabilitation with capital murderers (but maybe there's some), but what about deterrence?
    The death penalty is only used in egregious cases where the offender himself is unlikely to be deterred from further harm. Expecting a penalty to have a deterrent effect in other cases is ridiculous. Criminals aren't deterred by other people's penalties. Thinking that they will be is a flaw in judgement and logic.

    Education? Restoration? Retribution? Prevention? Merely taking away the capacity of an offender to do what they have already done seems to be too narrow a perspective on the goals of punishment. I would say that in at least 4 of these various aims of punishment the DP impedes the achievement of those ends.
    The death penalty isn't designed to have impact on these areas. We know what works to deter lesser offenders. But those lesser offenders are unlikely to end up on death row, regardless.

    As far as the terms that you've used here, do you even understand what they mean in practice?

    Exactly how do you propose to prevent people with zero empathy from killing other human beings because it pleases them? What prevention measures would you put into place to prevent them from killing? Further, how would you go about using restorative justice with a family whose daughter has been hideously tortured by a psychopath? Please, elaborate your ideas.
    Last edited by Catz Part Deux; 02-02-11 at 04:35 PM.

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