Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The ultmate punishment.

Today I was asked my views on the death penalty. Nothing heavy just a guy at work asking my opinion on something because he knows I'm very much a harsh punishment guy. It's funny really because it fitted in with a couple of comments on a different post so I thought I would explain my position.

I do believe in harsh punishment for crimes. They should ensure that the punishment is not so light it makes it worth the risk. Penalties should be plain, defined and scalable. So that repeat offenders get a multiple of the punishment. That goes for all crimes up until crimes like murder where you should lose your freedom for ever. Life in my case would mean life. The death penalty would not be an option.

Several years ago I believe that the Death Penalty was a viable option certainly for many of the criminals out there. Some horrific crimes have been committed and the sentence was clear. Death. Their crimes were so bad. Hell, I even say Blair should be tried for treason and executed.

But, in all honesty, it's just words. I still believe that some people deserve to die. There is no doubt. But, my primary reason for being against the death penalty, is that any justice system we have devised so far is so flawed that we always make mistakes. Any punishment that does not allow the situation to be adjusted in some way cannot cater for these errors.

We find that our enforcement teams are so fixated on targets that elements of doubt are minimised or ignored completely and it is not unknown for them to aid the case by planting evidence because they just 'know' it was that person who did it. No evidence just means they covered it up well. Nothing happens to these people despite the fact that they have perverted the course of Justice.

Now clearly the Death sentence is irreversible. Once performed there is no appeal, no new evidence, no confession that can change the outcome.

In my view life imprisonment is still a punishment. A life sentence should only end on death or vindication. To be forever imprisoned behind walls never to walk the earth is a real punishment as well. No easy way out.

The only real objections to this seem to be based on cost. I can sympathise with that. But at the same time we waste billions on funding people not to work and have kids they don't love or care for. It's not any different from that and could be much cheaper than it is. We could build lots of little concrete cube with the basic amenities. Place everyone with a life sentence in them. They don't need education, what is the point, they don't need rehabilitation, they ain't getting out and they don't need entertainment. Minimal interaction with the outside world. They are there to be punished. That would reduce the costs to what they would get if they were on the social.

Now I keep getting told that the death penalty s a deterrent and how the murder rate has increased since it was abolished in the UK. I'm not prepared to argue those facts as I am prepared to accept they are right. However, You just need to look at the prisons n the US where there are many many people waiting on death row plus many many more who literally get away with murder because people negotiate or threaten their way out of it and rich people buy their way out of it. That's not a deterrent that's not even Justice.

So, my views on the Death Penalty in full.


At 3:15 am, Blogger Ruthie said...

"But, in all honesty, it's just words. I still believe that some people deserve to die. There is no doubt. But, my primary reason for being against the death penalty, is that any justice system we have devised so far is so flawed that we always make mistakes. Any punishment that does not allow the situation to be adjusted in some way cannot cater for these errors."

We're in perfect agreement.

The law is fallible. Better a guilty man alive than an innocent man dead.

At 2:08 pm, Blogger Crushed by Ingsoc said...

I tend to agree, Bag.
There seems something a little barbaric in this day and age about the idea.
I sometimes wonder how the guard felt escorting a condemned man to the gallows.

I was appalled that they hanged Saddam.
It completely undermined the argument of moral superiority we were claiming.

At 2:32 pm, Blogger youdontknowme said...

I believe in the death penalty but like government I believe that there should be 'checks and balances' - a lot of them in fact.

First of all it should be up to the jury to decide if the defendant be given the death penalty.

Second of all there should be a minimum of a 5 year wait until they are executed. It could be longer - it just depends on the appeals.

Thirdly the MP of the constituency in which they committed the crime should be able to pardon them at any time.

Fourthly the relevant cabinet ministers (prime minister, minister of justice etc) should be able to pardon them.

Lastly the defendant should be able to appeal to the electorate and begin a citizens initiative (switzerland) in which they would need a specified number of signatories (maybe 500,000) before it is put to a public vote.

I think all of that is enough to ensure that everything is ok.

At 3:30 pm, Blogger Bag said...

How can it be fair if it is up to the jury? Juries are less lkely to execute a toff than some poor guy from the wrong side of town. Same with the MP. When you start having opinions making the difference then the law is not blind. When the law is not blnd then there s no real justice only retribution. Which in tself can be enough but don't confuse it with justice.

The law needs to define the crime and the punishment up front. Mitigating crcumstances are taken into consideration during the trial but if found guilty then the punishment should apply with .

Now I do believe that appeals should be held and checks and balances are there but these need to be with reason not automatically like now. And they shouldn't be up to the judge either. Some cases of so called justce lately have been farcical. This area needs a good looking at.

At 2:11 am, Blogger Lord Nazh¬© said...

"The law is fallible. Better a guilty man alive than an innocent man dead."

You realize that by trading the guilty freedom for the life of the innocent (saved) you have just condemned another innocent life (or more) to death?

At 7:54 am, Blogger Bag said...

No. Under the current namby pamby justice system that may be so but with my concrete cubes it will not make the risk any hgher than under your method.

At 5:27 am, Blogger -eve- said...

I don't believe in the death penalty either - and now that I've read this post, I'll have so many reasons why ...:-) However, I do think being confined in a tiny cell without anything to do, for the rest of your life - that may be a punishment too harsh for anyone. Death would be preferable. Perhaps they could be given an option to choose death, then?:-)

At 6:38 am, Blogger Bag said...

Eve, I understand your concern and to be honest I was thnking more along the lnes of a monastry cell with enough n it to stop insanty. Books etc. but with no real interaction with another human being. t obviously needs some input from someone who knows about these things but you see what I mean. Suicide would not be on the table.

At 5:12 pm, Blogger -eve- said...

Ahh, I see. Okay, as long as they've got books, I think they'll be okay. The effect of the books might even rehabilitate them... and I'm thinking you might even have popular authors writing from prison...;-)

At 7:55 pm, Blogger Kinderling said...

Bag, you say some people should be exterminated for their behaviour but just because you cannot see complete justice being achieved, extermination is out.

Now this is a very communist mantra to seek perfection in any form of human endevour. You allow criminals to scorn your liberal shackles you carry (and force us to wear) with pride.

The world you create infringes on my freedom, for I am prepared to die for a false accusation if the majority of deserving go to the veternary needle. I and my family have a right to protection - which you deny in the name of True Justice.

A Xhristian clone turns the other cheek and offers his butt to be kicked.

For the death penalty is a full act of consciousness. Imprisoning is the act of emotional denial: Throw away the key so you may forget.

Unresolved battles will have an army twice as strong tomorrow.

Sadam Hussain has gone... geddit?

Poor nations poor prisons, rich nations richer and bigger prisons.

These places are homes of ritual abuse. Mental breakdowns ripe for religious conversion producing bigger and more violent insanities.

You see the blade and are mesmerised. Ignoring the lion at our peril.

At 10:13 pm, Blogger Bag said...

Kindering, I don't see the difference between imprisoning them for life and executng them as far as removal from society is concerned. Your concern about letting these people off is covered. They are being punished.

As far as being a communist. Well, I take good ideas from whoever says them. Sadly, don't remember pcking one up from that particular area before. You live and learn.

I understand that many people want the death penalty as a form of punishment. I beleve in punishment but not something that cannot be rectified.

I'm not really sure that being prepared to die for your belief makes it right. That sounds very much like our lovable buddies in the ME and we all accept that that is not right. To me the most important question is how would you feel if a member of your family was accused and faced the death penalty?

Bottom lne though is it is my preference based on my beliefs of justice. Nobody gets off who would not have under the existng system so I just don't see why your family would be in any more danger than they are no under the current systems.

At 1:02 am, Blogger Kinderling said...

Hi Bag,

Bottom line: When there is no justice the people perish.

There is no justice for a mass murder to live at the State's pleasure and tax payers displeasure. It is criminal negligence.

This is an imperfect world, but you live in a hope for a utopia. Shucks you even think chicken has got six legs.

And this is where Communism came in.

At 9:06 am, Blogger Bag said...

I agree wth your bottom line. I believe justce is being applied here. The only dfference is the sentence. Is your only concern the cost? Currently they live for decades at the states expence before they are executed. This would save that. The costs could be reduced below what we pay now. If it is you can only see justice applied when people are executed then in your view this is not gong to be justice. What about rapists, what punishment should they get? What about burglars, speeders?

I live in the UK so I know there is not a utopia on the horizon any time soon. Although I believe we should all strive to attain one where fairness and justice is available I certainly don't see it being based on a communist ideal. Where the state runs everything and we all know our place but where we are free to do what we want when we want without any interference.

I don't like chicken legs, too fiddly. My chickens have four breasts. Just like my utopian women. :)

At 10:49 am, Blogger Kinderling said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 10:51 am, Blogger Kinderling said...

Hi Bag, (last comment I deleated for I missed the word than out)
Killing a human being is an extreme justice and not one I like at all. But it is more preferrable to me than maintaining a life in a high security detention centre, where guards and inmates are dehumanized further.
There is a line I have drawn in the sand. And yes, if rapists cross it, goodbye rapist.
It was a line people who defensively fought in two world wars had. I don't think you have it. Goodbye UK.

At 12:59 pm, Blogger Bag said...

Kinderling. I understand what you say. However, it's like two people looking at two items of clothing. Exactly the same in every respect except one is blue and the other black. We have a preference for the other. It's merely a choice based on our upbringing and environment.

I don't know where you are from but I am assuming the US. It's a different culture there but it seems we have rapidly attained and exceeded the levels there over the last decade. The UK is well on it's way to Hell. There is no real punishment for any crime. This will only be fixed when real punshments come in to the justice system. It'll be a while though with our current useless bunch of politicans.

At 9:08 pm, Blogger Kinderling said...

Fantasy and reality.
The cloth to be adorned; the cloth for what it is.
For the clothes wearers in the UK the bigger Clothes Wearers are comming to get you. Better Red than Dead.
This time, because you are all sexed up and touchy feely of cloth, no one is going to save you.

At 11:32 am, Blogger Bag said...

You could be right. Only thing s you are not too far behind. With all the justice systems in the uS letting people off wth serious crmes on some namby pamby feel good reasonng you are not too different.

I'm hoping we both wake up before it is too late.


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