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This is my own opinion and I welcome anyone's opinions on this as long as its within context, I completely agree with capital punishment for so many reasons, Firstly it would be a massive deterrent, would some of the most horrific crimes imaginable still of been committed if people knew they themselves wouldn't be treated to the same privilages as everyone else without working for them but instead executed for their crimes, personally I doubt it.
Secondly the amount of money spent on housing criminal who will never see freedom again is unbelieveable huge why should we pay for people who have no remorse and freely admit they would do it again if they could, it is sickening and personally the people who campaign on their behalfs are just as bad, the money spent on their incarceration should be spent on the victims rather then housing them comfortably for the rest of their lives.
My last main reason for agreeing with capital punishment is the familys, not the familys of the victims but the familys of these criminals, having visited someone in prison and finding it one of the worst moments of my life I feel it would be better to grieve and move on not to mention keeping innocent families away from these dangerous people.
But on the otherhand I am aware of people in the past being falsely convicted and executed but we now live a day and age where proper investigations and techonology could be used to convict someone without a doubt before such a sentence is carried out and I will always believe innocent until proven guilty.
Before I finish I want to ask a question,
I read an articule about a pedophile who claimed he couldn't control himself, do you think if his life was the price he still wouldn't be able to control himself?
For my hundredth review, I really wanted to share my opinion on a current and relevant topic rather than the usual, every day product. I have chosen capital punishment as it is a topic that I am most fascinated with, I have actually just finished writing a one year thesis based around capital punishment. From this I learnt a vast of new, interesting and mainly shocking information. To be clear, straight away on my views, I do think that capital punishment should be re introduced into the United Kingdom. I do also believe however that we should study criminals and find out why they kill and I believe that in gathering such information will enable us to be able to protect the innocent and safeguard them from harm, not to help with rehabilitation, as I thoroughly believe that with most (or the majority) of high category prisoners this is a waist of time. Dangerous criminals, mainly murders and sadistic criminals can warp a persons mind, can encrypt people to believe that they have been reformed. With lack of prison spaces in today's holiday camps (will talk on this later) the parole board in the UK are releasing more and more dangerous criminals back into the community every year. Thus, it would not be shocking to hear that the UK has seen a dramatic rise in re-offending cases in the previous years, If all had been right in the world, these criminals should not have been alive to have the chance to be released and as a result 195 innocent lives would have been spared within the years of 2008/09. Now with this I am partially on the fence because if the criminal justice system was doing its job properly then these criminals would not have been released and I perhaps might not have such a strong opinion on its return. If you think about it in simple terms, it is the justice system within this country that release murders and other evil people from prison early, I then believe that it is there fault if any more victims are created from these released criminals and effectively they (the justice system) are murdering innocent people rather than the criminals. Where is the justice in that?
Capital Punishment has been the primary source of punishment within the UK up until 1965 when a five year experimental period was put into place, from this date onwards no one has been legally executed within Britain. In 1969 capital punishment was abolished all together. In the earlier years capital punishments and executions were simple, I say simple as a means as that there were not hundreds maybe even thousands of laws and legislations governing and more importantly protecting criminals. Over the last couple of centuries laws and legislations have been put in to place as a means to protect people. These laws and legislations are also the reason why people are not protected. Take social workers for example, laws have been put into place that only allow social workers to remove a child from their home if they have sufficient evidence that the child is being abused or neglected, without this firm evidence a court order is needed before a child can be removed from a situation. If social workers were allowed to act on instinct rather than being tangled in a mass of laws and legislations the murders of children such as baby Peter and Victoria Climbie may have been preventable. It's the same principle with capital punishment, laws such as the human rights act have been but in to place to protect criminals, the right to life, the right to a fair trial etc etc. I believe that If somebody has taken away the human rights of another - through the act of murder - they themselves should have their own human rights taken away, by doing this, innocent people could be spared.
Referring now to the title of my review, 'are we as a nation better than that?' to answer truthfully, I think we are, and I also think that that is our big downfall. People have become more trusting and more forgiving. A couple of centuries back a mass of angry, revengeful citizens would turn up to a public hanging to ensure that justice was done. I'm not saying that we should all be lining up with pitchforks ready to grabble hold of the legs of a hanging man, or light the flame that sees a person burn on the stake but I think that - to ensure we live in a risk free and safe country - we should be more willing to seek revenge on those who have committed wrongdoings. Astonishingly 76% of the British public admit that capital punishment can sometimes be justified, but if there is such a strong support for capital punishment, why do we not have it in place? The answer to this refers back to earlier, laws, legislations, more laws and legislations and of course, the government. The government would like to think that we in this country are doing fine with the Judicial systems and of course laws and legislations that are currently in place but statistics show that In 1965, the year of the abolition of the death penalty for homicide, the murder rate was approximately 6.8 per million population, by 2001/02 this figure had doubled to 16.6 per million. Now just to be clear, there are no certain facts that suggest that this is because of the abolition of the death penalty and there are other factors that could have caused this increase such as a rise in violent computer games for children, violent films, an increase in multiculturalism, youth drinking and drugs etc but they form a completely different debate all together.
I have however, and still do consider the other side of the capital punishment debate but I really believe that the positives outweigh the negatives completely. Take miscarriages of justice for example, they are tragic and have previously resulted in the death of innocent people such as Timothy Evans for example. But with the ever evolving science, which I don't know much about but I do know there is a bigger chance now to avoid miscarriages of justice happening indefinitely as DNA and such things can easily rule a person out of committing a crime even if they are not successful in capturing the real identity. Of course there are down falls with DNA and in such events , when it is not clear as a to who committed what crime, no person should be sentenced to death until sufficient evidence is brought about.
I know my review paints a more simple picture and of course the world is in no such way simple, but these are only my views on the subject. I know that many people have very different views, but if they didn't then it wouldn't be called a debateable subject. One of my main concerns with capital punishment and the main reason I would like to see its return is because of the such lenient behaviour that is presented to (modern day) criminals. A couple hundred years ago criminals were given the bare minimum. Locked up in cells with nothing to eat but bread and water. Now, they have communal areas, pool tables, televisions, computer games etc etc. Imagine what's going to be happening in another hundred years or so; four poster beds, 3 course meal every night, visits to home on the weekends? I think that it is this lenient punishment that is causing more crimes to be committed. If people don't fear punishment, they will not fear of the crime itself. People argue that criminals should suffer life in prison, they are not suffering. Its as simple as that, within the prison walls prisoners are protected against other prisoners, paedophiles are locked up for their own safety. that's not punishment, that's protection! Where was the protection for the victims when they needed it? Victims who (if lucky enough to survive) have to live a life knowing and remembering every day what happened, emotionally suffering. How would you feel against this person if it was your son, daughter, brother, sister, husband, wife or you who was victimised? Living a life of worry of fear. When inside a prison wall sit's the perpetrator, comfortable, protected, not caring! For them to be released, given government protection, new identities, a place to live, a new life. Whilst each and every victim remains emotional even physically scared for the rest of their life. If the 10 minute walk to the noose is enough to frighten and emotional damage a criminal who has committed such a horrendous crime, I would think justice done. These criminals don't care about being locked up in prison, this isn't punishment for them! My reasons for wanting a return in capital punishment don't just lie in justice and revenge. If capital punishment was re-instated it might make people think twice before they commit a crime, and if they don't well . . . I will finish on one of my favourite quotes . . . .
"If we execute murderers and there is no deterrent effect, we have killed a bunch of murderers. If we fail to execute murderers, and in doing so would have deterred other murders, we have allowed the killing of a bunch of innocent victims. I would much rather risk the former. This to me is not a tough call." Quoted by John Mc Adams.
Thank you for reading my very opinionated review :)
I remember when I was about 13 we had a debate about capital punishment in an English lesson, I was the speaker for it and I really believed that capital punishment should be brought back. I can still remember my reasons now and they were quite simple if you kill someone then you deserve to die yourself. The bible says an eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth (I don't know if it does but my dad once told me it did). I even remember saying they have a truth drug now to tell if people were telling the truth so mistakes shouldn't happen.
I believed in capital punishment for years and believed it should be the choice of the victims family. Even believing if someone killed a member of my family then I would be quite happy to flick the switch.
I do not agree with capital punishment for self defense at all.
When I had a discussion about this with my husband many years ago and still do occasionally he put other ideas in my head that set me thinking (he does like to play devils advocate).
Like rather than just kill them wouldn't I like to find out what makes someone kill as most of them are sick and not well, so we could study them and find out what goes on in their heads and perhaps stop it happening by whatever means. How could we ever stop it? In my eyes we couldn't so it was never really a good argument. Also wouldn't I want them to suffer more blah blah. As time has gone on; although my opinion hasn't fully changed I question it more.
Premeditated murder is evil and they deserve to die why should tax payers keep them - go on somebody tell me it costs more to execute them than keep them in a secure jail with meals tv etc. I don't believe that if life meant life that it would but as life can mean only a few years out of their life then you may convince me.
Now it is easy to say people that do things to children should die and I do believe it but could we not lock them up for life and study every part of why they do it - ok it costs too much so make them serve a few years then put them on a sex offenders register which is really going to mean they won't do it again - all it means is if they stick to the rules they can be traced. So yeah with our justice system if we are 100% sure then kill em.
So each crime deserves punishment equal to the crime so to commit murder should mean death. But what some countries do is unfair people can be kept on death row for 25 years or so whilst they go through appeals.
I also remember thinking that capital punishment would be a deterrent but would it. I'm not so sure if someone wanted to kill someone and planned it would knowing that they could face death if caught stop them doing it ........ maybe some so a bit of a deterrent. But then you have the ones that are committed in the heat of the moment and this is where things aren't black and white with; manslaughter and self defence are not murder but what I class as that is not what somebody else does so who draws the line and where. Nobody would know how much of a deterent it would be because nobody would know how many murders would be committed.
Some believe so what if there is no deterrent then at least we have got rid of some scum murderers. Sounds good!
Is human life so valuable that even murderers should live. Apparently so to kill them violates their rights ...... and the rights of the victim??
The most common argument against capital punishment is mistakes can't be put right if someone is innocent then once they are killed it's too late. People, witnesses etc can make mistakes and once the death penalty has been don it can't be undone.
So I do believe in caital punishment for murder (not self defence or accidents etc) if the person committing it is of sane mind and just pure evil.
I believe that the death penalty has been abolished in this country (and many others) for a reason. Primarily because innocent people have been, and still are, sentenced to death.
In my eyes there is only one pro to capital punishment and that is that vile human beings are no longer a threat to others. But the cons are endless for a start if someone commits a crime that is serious enough for the death penalty shouldn't that individual be made to live with that crime for the rest of their lives, the way in which the victim or family has to?
Then there would be the whole debate on what crimes are serious enough, I mean we have seen some cases where paedophiles are getting shorter sentences than those who have committed petty car offences. Abuse upon a child is in my opinion one of the worst kinds of crime although I doubt very much that if we had the death penalty it would be used correctly.
No one will take pity on a murderer etc, but what about their family? However vile the offender may be they will still be part of someone else, who is perhaps having a hard enough time coming to terms with what their loved one is capable of let alone having to deal with their death as well. I know this is quite controversial, but not every crime is clear cut, for example in the cases of 'real' diminished responsibility etc.
Do two wrongs make a right? Another question that will cause much debate, will it ease the heart ache of the victim and their loved ones... no. People may think it will but how can it when the damage has already been done.
I don't think it is fair for criminals to ask for forgiveness and I think the best form of punishment and the right thing to do is to live with the consequences of their actions until the day they die. In horrific cases they should be made to relive the event over and over taking a life time of abuse from the victim etc.
I don't think the problem is the fact that we no longer use capital punishment, I think the problem lies within our criminal justice system. There is no punishment, our prisons are full because they chuck just about anyone in there apart from the real criminals, for example what is the point in locking someone up for 3 mths for non payment of council tax surely a community service would be more appropriate.
They have too many luxuries, which is probably why some offenders re-offend. Serious crimes should result in serious punishments.
I have never had to deal with the devastating loss of a loved one as a result of someone elses actions nor have I been a victim of a serious crime, maybe my view would be different if I had to deal with such a heartache, but for now I do not think that the death penalty is an option for this country and sincerely hope it is banned all over the world, especially where the methods are extremely unethical and inhuman (especially for those who are innocent).
Thanks for reading
When I was younger, I had quite strong views that if someone was indisputably guilty of a heinous crime, such as murder of an adult or a child, then they should face the death penalty because why should they live when they have taken away the life of another person and ripped a family or families apart?
It was not until I dated a barrister in my twenties and had discussions with him about how he could defend people that might be guilty and why he was opposed to capital punishment if DNA evidence was matched to the perpetrator. He put the following scenario forward as an example as to why he was against it:
Imagine a woman walking home late at night, passing under a subway when she is attacked and raped by a stranger, we will call him A. After he has left, another man comes along, we will call him B and murders her without leaving any DNA evidence (I know, this girl was really, really unlucky in this hypothesis wasn't she?). However, there are a myriad of possibilities how this could actually happen in one guise or another. Not a nice scenario granted but you get the point trying to made?
So the girl is found, the DNA points to A and although he carried out an awful crime, he did not murder her - B did, but a jury might well convict him on the basis that his DNA and no one else's links him to the murdered girl. And so, you guessed it, if capital punishment existed then this scenario is not so far fetched that a man innocent of murder could be sentenced to death, whilst the true murderer remains at large.
I could see his point and it did make me rethink my views somewhat. You also have some very disturbed people in this world, people who need psychiatric help who will confess to murders because they crave the attention or notoriety or have been convinced by self-serving others, taking advantage of their condition, to put themselves forward without really understanding the consequences they face and therefore another way, a wrongful death might occur.
However, I do believe that there are those cases whereby it really is irrefutable that a person has callously, deliberately and with forethought committed crimes, including murder against an individual and I think in these cases, it should be up to a judge, with all his or her experience, to decide whether the case warrants the death penalty or not.
At the very least, people who commit murder should be confined for life in the least comfortable circumstances that human rights will allow so that they do suffer for what they have done to some degree because the life they have snubbed out can never return and the pain they leave behind never ends for the relatives of victims so why should it end for them?
A lot depends on whether you think some people are truly evil or whether they must be mentally ill to do the things they do. I am torn on this issue as I know that there is a strain of research that indicates many, serial killers for example, often have impairment or damage to the frontal lobe area of their brain and so conscience and feelings of guilt or empathy are affected. Should these people be punishsed if it is a malfunction of the brain that causes their actions or does some element of evil exist in them that when mixed with the medical issues, pushes them over the edge to commit the crimes? Perhaps that is the basis for a whole other review though.
Thanks for reading. x
also on ciao under ryanellaxx
The following is to be written as a dialog between two opposing people on the argument of capital punishment. The names I have chose have no significant meaning, I just fancied using Greek names to make it look more like something you'd find in Plato's book the Republic, I also fancied writing it a bit different to how others do, and if people like this style you might see Tamas and Agatone coming back for another argument.
Tamas - I turn to you now Agatone to discuss the role of capitol punishment in our society; I for one believe that it should be reincorporated into our system as it serves the purpose of justice, any man who has taken a life shall expect nothing more than for his own to be taken in return, this I see is the only logical outcome in a just world.
Agatone - Is that so Tamas, so what you say is if a man is to kill, in return his left is to be taken?
Tamas - Indeed
Agatone - And who is to take that mans life?
Tamas - The state
Agatone - And then what of the state? Does the man who takes the wrong doers life expect the same? Or his he just?
Tamas - He is just, he is merely doing his job to restore justice
Agatone - I see, but then what of the public? Surely the role of the state is to lead and teach the masses, thus taking a life of a member of the masses surely does not teach lawful citizenship? How can a state expect an obedient, law abiding public when the state itself is breaking the laws it commands?
Tamas - Fair to you Agatone, but answer me this, what would you do if the love of your life was taken away? Would you want justice to be done? Or would you want the man to be freed after his time has been served? Would you want revenge?
Agatone - admittedly Tamas I would be angered, any man would suffer under his own feelings if a loved one is to be taken, but to ask the state to take that mans life would be unjust and thus make me as bad as the man I wish to kill.
Tamas - But this is simple to say when you remain happy, with loved ones intact, your feeling may change if something was to occur.
Agatone - My feelings to justice and morality are far stronger than those of another person, one life for another should never be the case, as where would it stop, if a man was to steal from you would you steal something in return? Surely any man should wish to live a moral life?
Tamas - But is killing in revenge immoral?
Agatone - Any man who wishes that another's would end and acts in a manner to make it happen is immoral
Tamas - What of war?
Agatone - War is different, of course war serves no logical purpose, the only reason why war continues is because we are powerless in our own state to stop it, the interests of the bourgeois outweighs that of the common man, and hence they are used to fight the battles of the rich so they can earn more, but this is far from the point of capital punishment.
Tamas - Agreed.
Agatone - Capitol punishment was only introduced as a method of fear, people would be publically hung to scare the remaining people into obedience, now the state has several other methods to get the public scared, terrorism, disease and war, this is just the few used in our country, if you look to the west you will see even more, as we all know the US is the most feared state, not only by the outside masses but also by those who live inside, everyone constantly scared by the state, outside forces and even members of their own society, simply because the government uses methods to drive fear home, capitol punishment is just one of many used in this case.
Tamas - But surely capitol punishment is used for justice and not fear?
Agatone - Maybe they believe it is used for justice, but are people still afraid of the ultimate punishment?
Tamas - I would say that they are
Agatone - So surely bringing this back would instil more fear in a free country?
Tamas - Only for those who wish to murder
Agatone - Where does it stop though? What if a government deems an act by a member of the public a crime punishable by death, when others would deem it as an act of freedom? Surely a punishment such as death takes away our freedom of speech and expression?
Tamas - the state only acts in the interest of the people
Agatone - Dose it Tamas? Think of the laws this country strictly upholds, who are they in favour of? Us or the powerful?
Tamas - Both, laws of stealing protect all, as do laws of murder
Agatone - Yes but who has the most to lose when it comes to theft? The poor homeless man or the rich powerful CEO? Of course that question is simple hence the poor man is not gaining from that law; surely the law should be that he has a house. How can a moral state allow its own people to suffer whilst others live in luxury? If every man was rightfully homed and lived a comfortable life with all basic needs the rich would have far less than they currently have, but instead of men being equal you have those who can afford to spend millions of one house when that money could be used to house several others.
Tamas - What does this have to do with capitol punishment?
Agatone - Everything Tamas, as any law that is created is made in the interest of the ruling class, hence if capitol punishment was introduced it would be in the interest of the powerful, it would be exploited and any who oppose them would be subject to this law.
Tamas - But surely people would see what is going on and oppose the state if this was to occur?
Agatone - If that was the case then surely they would be opposing the government now? You believe we live in equality?
Tamas - Of course, every man has the same opportunities
Agatone - I love your idealism Tamas, but this world is far from equal and that is how they want it. You seriously think that if capital punishment was introduced your idea of justice would occur? If a the CEO of a wealthy international company was to 'accidently' kill a member of staff, or if the incidence of Bhopal was to reoccur you seriously think they would be trialled for capital punishment, as surely you would see this as justice being served?
Tamas - Well no man is above the law, any found of causing death shall result in death
Agatone - Tamas, the law as it stands isn't always just, so what makes you think bringing death into it would create more justice? The rich will always get away, some men, I'm afraid, are above the law, we should not look into making new laws to kill those who have killed, locking them away will suffice, we should look into corporate crime, issues like this are more important and more damaging to society as a whole than one man who has killed, yes that man has caused damage but nothing compared to that of the corporations.
Tamas - So you say we should ignore murder and focus on corrupt business men?
Agatone - I never said to ignore murder. Those who commit murder serve their time; I admit the criminal justice system needs vast improvement but it will suffice for the time. Instead time should be taken to educate others of what happens around them, because if we do not do something soon who's to say what will happen. What you don't realise is that the rich have more power than anyone else, if they wish they could make a drug and give it to the working class, this drug could lead to mass deaths, but they will not get trialled, they will not fall to justice.
Tamas - This will never occur so is largely farcical
Agatone - who's to see what is to happen within the next many years; with times as they are my friend I can see every outcome, a fictional tale could become a reality, that's why we need to educate the present to prepare for the future.
Tamas - And what to those who do not fit? We shall look them away for the rest of their days? Or shall we have them killed? What is really the difference between the two?
Agatone - The mere fact that the government would kill someone who, by their say, is 'faulty' and does not 'fit' society is ludicrous. What then, may I ask of you, do you think of those who are sufferers of mental conditions and struggle to fit with society? What if they were to kill? Then what?
Tamas - Those who are not of sane mind should not be killed, for it is not their fault
Agatone - But surely any man who kills is not of sane mind? What if one moment of adrenaline leads to an outburst and a murder? He could surely not help the rush?
Tamas - Of course he could
Agatone - What you fail to see here Tamas is the endless variants that could excuse someone from death, the mere fact that it cannot 100% be proven, thus you could kill a just man, is suffice not to bring this law in and also the act of killing another human being is surely against morality? Any logical human being does not wish to kill and should see no purpose in murder, for if we all thought this way we would all live in harmony, yet it is the state apparatus that keeps spirits low thus people resort to such actions as theft and murder.
Tamas - Surely we are not addressing capitol punishment here
Agatone - admittedly we have gone off at a tangent
Tamas - So what you are saying is that I should oppose capitol punishment?
Agatone - I say that you are right in saying what you wish. But just because a man has a voice it doesn't mean he knows what he is saying. I may not be able to change your views Tamas, but I hope one day you too will see sense, for this country needs solutions not more problems, why are we even discussing something that has been long forgotten? If the US wishes to continue then so be it, I am not American and so it is down the people of the state to change that law, American is developed enough, its time we start work on other counties problems, as well as our own, thus to make this world a more just place, not less
Tamas - What of those who have life sentences? Surely it is a waste of time looking them up for the rest of their days? At least use them for labour?
Agatone - Slavery was abolished a long time ago Tamas, I do not believe that should be reintroduced.
Tamas - Granted. But people need to atone for their sins.
Agatone - You are right my friend. But to how we do this is a more suitable question and we may discuss this next time we meet.
Tamas - Thank you Agatone. And if I am to change my thought then I would owe it to you. But my mind still remains puzzled over crime and justice.
Agatone - You are not the only one Tamas, the idea of fairness in justice and what crime deserves what punishment is always up to debate, for the justice system is always going to be biased, unfair and unjust to those from a lesser position, unfortunately this is the truth of our society, the police are patrolling areas known for underage drinking rather than monitoring the rich, crime rates are rising, not necessarily because more crime is being committed but because the police are looking for it more. We will discuss other laws again Tamas as for now I shall leave. I bid you a good day and farewell until we meet again.
Tamas - Goodbye to you too Agatone
Right then, thanks for reading, I don't know if I made a point throughout all that, I enjoyed writing it, although I did go off a bit a few times, but I think you get the message that I disagree with capitol punishment and I can't ever see it coming back, but I understand why those who want it do want it. You see crimes of horrific nature, of mass murders etc, but do we really have the right to kill them in return? Of course we all have our own views.
Well thanks for reading, hope you learnt something or enjoyed it.
Gosh, this is such a complex issue.
I've always been in two minds about capital punishment. I used to be dead set against it, it's such an awful thought that life can be snubbed out just like that, legally - and that people are allowed to watch it happen as if it was some sort of sideshow.
It also seems to go against the morals we are taught as kids, from an early age, teachers and parents will tell us that 'two wrongs don't make a right' and we are taught that life is precious, and are encouraged not to drink too much, not to smoke, not to take drugs, to look after our health - all to prolong life.
We also have to consider, that sometimes the law gets it wrong - and it's been proven time and time again that innocent people have been found guilty. It's a terrible thing when an innocent man goes to jail, losing years of his life - but to kill an innocent man and then find out someone else was responsible for his crime, it's uncomprehensible - but it has happened and probably will again.
However...more recently I've been thinking about the other side of the argument. I'm now starting to believe that if there is absolutely no doubt that someone has commited the crime - for example they were caught doing it by many witnesses, or there is unrefutable DNA evidence, then some crimes are definitely worthy of such a strong punishment.
I think it's since becoming a parent, that I have come around to this way of thinking. I would do absolutely anything for my children, I love them so much I would die for them. And when you see people like the austrian Franz Polzer who held his daughter captive for 24years and fathered 7 children with her - he doesn't deserve to live, or terrorist bombers responsible for killing so many innocent people. These people can't be allowed to ruin so many lives, and have the right to live in a clean prison, being fed, clothed, even educated, and possibly be released in the future.
I think it's a case of the punishment fitting the crime, maybe the bible has had the right idea all along 'an eye for an eye' - a life for a life. But there absolutely has to be no doubt that the person has commited the crime they have been tried for - this is where I think the problems lie within this argument - can you ever be sure?
Capital punishment is such or should I say one of the top 3 controversial issues of all time. I see the validity of both arguments...Opponents of the death penalty say that it has led to the execution of innocent people, that life imprisonment is an effective and less expensive substitute, that it discriminates against minorities and the poor, and that it violates the criminal's right to life. Supporters of capital punishment, believe that the penalty is justified for murderers by the principle of retribution, that life imprisonment is not an equally effective deterrent, and that the death penalty affirms the right to life by punishing those who violate it in the strictest form.
I conclude that clearly we need a more credible and accountable criminal justice system first, for the people by the people. So we can have peace of mind., sleep at night, knowing justice will be served and acts if..you totally do wrong, you pay a true penalty for your crimes and importantly show intelligent remorse, whereby they don't claim to be on a"sickie" ( mentally ill ) when they commited the crime. Life should mean life not getting out with a reduced sentence, because you want to be a good boy or girl all of a sudden. In short premeditated murder in no uncertain terms, criminls should stay in prison if they are clearly a threat to society...
...Or as the judges do on X-factor, perhaps we should go to "Deadlock" on Capital Punishment, and have a referendum, and let the public decide, no ?
~ A Polite Notice For Those of a Nervous Disposition~
Now this is going to be hugely controversial, so if you work for social services, live down a tree lined avenue, smoke a pipe, strongly approve of the human rights bill, and think we have a wonderful criminal justice system, then PLEASE stop reading now.
I believe a review on "how wonderful everything is when viewing the world through rose coloured spectacles" has just been posted, so you might want to go read that please.
~A Controversial Idea for Justice, for free thinking Individuals~
I am not sure at what point in history, the justice system suddenly became called the Criminal Justice System. I am also not sure at what point, the name became rather ironic, in so much that the only people these days who do get "Justice" are in fact Criminals.
If you commit a crime, and you plead guilty. Why should your sentance be reduced, just because you have pleaded guilty? Is that Justice?
If you are sentanced, why should you be released early for "good" behaviour. Is that Justice? To whom exactly.
Surely, like most of us, if they had behaved in a "good" manner, they wouldn't be in jail in the first place.
Is is Just, that an old age pensioner, gets less "benefit" from having spent a lifetime of paying taxes, and working hard, than a prisoner does for commiting a crime.
Is it justice to be incarcerated in a cell with access to television, a play station, be put in a prison equipped with media, education, free priority dental servies, a prison with security so lapse, that prisoners can obtain drugs, in most cases freely. Is that really justice.
So when it comes to the most serious of crimes, crimes which are in fact off the scale, crimes which strike against the very core of being civilised and human. Should we bestow these same criminal rights to those individuals too? In line with the current system, then yes we do.
~So what would I do?~
If in some bizarre parallel universe, I was Prime Minister, the criminal justice system, would be entirely overhauled.
Firstly all sentances would run their course, 10 years, would be 10 years, to the day. No reduction in sentance for pleading guilty etc. Why should remorse affect the sentance. It shouldn't. Repeat offenders will get extrememly long sentances, a life sentance will be reserved for the most serious crimes, but will literally mean life.
Prisons will be stripped of all non-essential services, and entertainment and no VISITORS will be allowed. If you wish to keep seeing your friends and family, and want to be entertainined and enjoy life, do not break the law.
It is quite simple really. Don't expect any of those in Jail while you are serving a sentance.
In addition ALL crimes which fall into the category of crimes against humanity, would result in the death penalty.
No long death row, no appeal system.
Although the final decision I would leave to the victimes families, who may well choose to opt for a life imprisonment rather than an execution, that however would be their choice. In lieu of this interject from victims, execution would be the default.
So that means, any rapist, any murderer, any peadophile, will be treated the way they have treated others. Since they chose to have no regard for human rights, in my view of justice, they have forfeited their own human rights.
At this point, there are going to be scores of people screaming about "the few" who in the past have been found guilty, but later found to be not-guilty.
Well that simply will not happen, in todays scientific age with DNA evidence, the Orwellian network of CCTV we have more than ample undisputable evidence to convict in the majority of cases. Does anyone doubt the Soham case? Does anyone doubt the evidence in the case of Sarah Payne? The teenage Chavs which beat to death Sophie Lancaster. Kicked to death by ferral teenagers. Is there undipsuted evidence in these cases. Not at all.
Yet these "humans" are serving sentances at a cost to the British taxpayer, money which could be better spent on the rest of us. In fact in the case of the latter, they will be free men in their 30's.
In a small number of cases where there is "uncertainity" or a heavy reliance upon DNA only evidence, or any suspiscion, or the assailants are under 16, then the sentance will default to a life prison term. Does anyone disagree that the Bulger killers, should have NOT been released the way they have?
Been given a new life (overseas if you belive the rumours), all at a cost to the taxpayer?
No, in my overhauled system, they would have spent the rest of their days locked away, with no prospect of release.
~The Return of the Coliseum~
To most this is going to sound utterly revolting. However, we have to accept that as humans we do have a blood lust.
I am quite sure that if at the time, there was a planned public execution of the Soham girls murderer, we would have filled Wembley stadium twice over.
Or for example the Nursery peadophiles recently. Maybe three times over.
So why not use that, I would propose monthly executions in Wembley stadium or similar venue, in a modern day styled Coliseum. The money raised could partly go to the families concerned, and to fund more prison places, and community projects.
Given that hanging is too good for some people, the choice of execution would be left to an audience to decide from a range of choices, I can't see why a rapist for example, can't be despatched by being introduced to a young female lion.
Perhaps some paedophiles might like to fondle some young grizzly bears with their mother present. That would seem ironic.
If we queue and pay money to see perfectly innocent bulls, slaughtered in a Spanish bull ring, why not bestow this fate onto humans who have decided to stray from humanity.
Ok, i'm not expecting the return of the Coliseum to ever really occur, nor am I advocating barbarism. However at the moment we have a ridicolous situation where justice is not being served.
A situation where we are spending more money on housing prisoners than is being given to Pensioners or needy families on welfare.
I think we have to face the cold reality, that some people do not deserve to exist, and we should have a means of being able to deal with them.
This is such a controversial subject, no matter what I write, I'm sure someone will agree and someone won't so I'm going to present my opinion and feelings as best as I can.
When you say capital punishment I think about execution i.e hanging, electric chair, lethal jab. I personally think that the electric chair is really sick and isn't appropriate as a way to punish a crime. The others however, I think are adaquete and reasonable.
I think that only people who are definitely guilty should face death as a punishment. If they admit to it and there is evidence then I think they should recieve capital punishment if their crime is severe enough.
It's tough to say what crimes would deserve capital punishment. When you think of this, you instantly think about murder. I think anyone who has murdered someone with intent and clear evidence should be given the capital punishment.
As a parent myself, I certainly think that anyone who murders a child should certainly face capital punishment. It's costing the government millions to keep prisoners alive with food and toilets and electricity when they have killed someone. Why should they get such privilages?
It makes me sick to think about Ian Huntley sitting in a cell with television and walking around when he took the innocent lives of the young girls, Jessica and Holly. He doesn't deserve to be walking around and breathing!
I think if they did bring capital punishment, it would be awkward to establish who should recieve it and who shouldn't. I definitely am against public executions like the olden days when they would hang people or electrocute them infront of an audience, I think that is downright sick.
All in all, I think it should be brought back, but I think great care should be taken not to punish anyone who isn't definitely guilty because it's not exactly a reversible punishment. Capital punishment could bring justice for many families who have lost loved ones to murderers like Ian Huntley or the boys who killed that young lad, Jamie Bulger. There's some evil that doesn't belong on this earth.
I definitely think capital punishment is a good idea, if the crime warrants it. However, I think it should only be used if there is absolutely no doubt that the convicted person is the person that committed the crime. If there is any level of doubt, incarceration should be used instead, either until more evidence can be bought before the courts (which would involve a reshuffle of the whole "only being tried once for any crime" system), or the convicted person fulfils their sentence.
The only real downside to this system is that there would be a lot fewer confessions to more serious crimes, meaning gathering the evidence would be that much harder. As the law stands at the moment, if someone's arrested on a murder charge, they can admit guilt, the courts sort it out quickly, and the family of the victim can go home happy (not really the right word, but you get my drift) that justice has been served. However, knowing that saying "yes, I did it" will result in your life being drastically shortened to a few more weeks at most will stay the vast majority of confessor's tongues, and obviously this will make the police's job more difficult.
Also, it should only be used in the most severe cases. Some people will say paedophiles should be executed, but for them a more worthy punishment would be living the rest of their life in a prison where everyone knows why they're there. The only times I believe capital punishment should be used is on terrorism charges and the like (don't get me started on the idiots shining laser pens (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/lancashire/8297650.stm , you might need to remove a space)) into airliner cockpits when they're landing. I'd put snipers in the ATC towers to deal with them), and in some murder instances (Ian Huntley, anyone...).
I am a firm believer that people are by-products of their society.
I don't think that there is any escaping that some people genuinely are born as sick individuals who will become rapists/murders/criminals regardless of their upbringing.
However, I do think that this is in the minority, and that how people grow up and turn-out is generally a reflection on society as a whole, and their background closer to home, and indeed, within the home.
This does not mean I am trying to insinuate that the parents/guardians are always wholly culpable either, as the reasons behind criminals becoming criminals is often due to a multitude of events, occurences and experiences and is far more complex than I could possibly begin to explain.
Essentially what I am trying to say here, is that becoming a criminal is not necessarily a person's fault, and they haven't done it on purpose, but at the same time, society teaches them to distinguish between right and wrong and all criminals, with the exception of those with motor-learning/mental deficiences, fully understand the consequences of their actions.
So I believe it to be unfair, not to mention hypocritical, for a person to be punished with death as a result of their actions which their society has ultimately determined.
However, due to the fact that they can still determine right and wrong, a murderer should forfeit any human rights they have if they kill someone, and should therefore be forced to serve life in prison. And life should mean life. And a prison should be somewhere where the quality of life is as low as possible, and not a place which people would relish going back should their sentence be leniant enough to allow them freedom.
There is also the hypocrisy factor to consider with the death penalty. You are killing someone for killing someone... how does that work?
And finally, despite the huge advances in forensic technology, there are still some flaws in forensic science, meaning that you could be potentially sending an innocent person to their death.
I can see and understand the arguments for reinstating the death penalty, notably for deterring crime, but there are other measures which can be implemented to do so.
Reinstating capital punishment would be a step backwards in the judicial system in my opinion. A step forward would be to increase sentence length, and decrease the comfort afforded in prisons.
Capital punishment i.e. the death sentence, state execution.
The arguments against:
To execute somebody for committing a murder is the highest form of hypocrisy. A society cannot on one hand say that taking a life is wrong and then in the same breathe sanction the taking of life by the state.
What if the conviction is wrongful and an innocent person is executed? It is bad enough that an innocent person be imprisoned but it is unthinkable that an innocent is mistakenly killed.
Many would agree that sentences meted out by the judiciary (especially in Britain) can be far too lenient but that instead of execution the option should be life imprisonment i.e. the offender does literally spend the rest of their life behind bars (not being let out on licence as they usually are).
The arguments for:
When any person is handed down a sentence by the legal system there are three main reasons for this:
1. Punishment - to teach the offender a lesson.
2. Deterrence - to deter people in future from committing crime.
3. Protection of society - whilst an offender is in prison they cannot further harm society by committing more crime.
The only true way to punish a person for murder is to take their life and anything less is not suitable punishment: "an eye for an eye".
The death penalty is the ultimate deterrent as there is nothing greater an offender can fear losing.
I do not believe that the death penalty can be justified on the grounds of punishment or deterrence alone. The reason that I would advocate the death penalty is to protect society - quite simply if an offender is executed they cannot ever commit crime again - the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few i.e. an individual's right to life is secondary to the good of society as a whole. Although I would go further to say that when a person voluntarily commits such an evil and harmful act they abandon all their human rights.
I must also explain that I believe the death penalty should be handed down to serious sex offenders (rapists and paedophiles) as well as murderers. The reason for this being is that after murder sex offences are the most serious. In addition sex offenders have one of the highest re-offending rates of all criminals i.e. a sex offender will not just commit one offence but will offend continually until stopped.
The strongest argument against the death penalty, for me, is the alternative that an offender is imprisoned for the rest of his life as this would also stop them ever re-offending. The reason I would reject this argument is money - it costs an estimated £81 000 a year to keep a person in prison. All the liberals I hear cry "you cannot justify ending a person's life just because it is too expensive to keep them alive". I strongly disagree with this - anybody guilty of such offences is not worth keeping alive.
On 13th July 1955, a fine summer's morning, Ruth Ellis, a 28 year old nightclub manageress convicted of murdering her lover, David Blakely, sat in the condemned cell at Holloway Prison with a priest and her guards as the clock approached nine o'clock. She was given a large tot of brandy to calm her nerves. Thirty seconds before the appointed hour, the state hangman, Albert Pierrepoint entered with his assistant, Royston Rickard, asked Ellis to stand and bound her hands behind her back with a leather strap. At the far end of the room, a wardrobe was wheeled away to reveal a previously concealed passage leading through to the execution chamber.
Ellis was marched through and positioned squarely on a chalk mark on the floor, her feet straddling the crack between the two large trapdoors of the gallows and the fatal noose dangling in front of her. As Rickard bound her legs together with a second leather strap, Pierrepoint swiftly removed a white hood from the breast pocket of his suit and placed it over Ellis' head.
The noose made of stretched and boiled hemp and sheathed with chamois leather was placed around her neck, and the simple knot secured under her left ear with a rubber washer to prevent it from slipping out of place. Pierrepoint stepped back, removed the cotter pin to release the handle of the fatal lever and took it in both hands. Rickard jumped off the trap, simultaneously shouting "clear!". These were the last words Ellis heard on this earth as Pierrepoint pulled the lever, the trap doors crashed open against their stops, and she plummeted through the trap.
The expertly placed noose broke her neck, severing the spinal cord and causing more or less instant death. The time from when Pierrepoint entered the condemned cell to the release of the fatal trap was under thirty seconds. Such was the brutal efficiency of the state mandated judicial killing of Ruth Ellis.
Over fifty years later this execution still haunts the British conscience. I won't go in to the particulars of the case here, but suffice it to say, this was a crime of passion and the result of sustained provocation and stress. Ellis was probably guilty of manslaughter, but she believed in "an eye for an eye" and felt she deserved to die for what she did. The judicial system effectively obliged by giving her a state-sponsored suicide. She was the last woman to hang in Great Britain.
The case was at least partly responsible for the root and branch examination of the use of capital punishment in this country, and eventually led to the retirement of Pierrepoint, who was deeply affected by the demands of his job and the Ellis execution in particular, and also to the removal of hanging from the statute books for most crimes other than treason by 1969. It was abolished altogether in 1988 when the UK became a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
I am a staunch opponent of capital punishment for two principal reasons: (a) I do not trust the power of the state to be exercised fairly, competently and without political influence; and (b) the execution of a single innocent person is unacceptable - the system has proved itself fallible on too many occasions to be relied upon.
THE ARBITRARY & INDISCRIMINATE POWER OF STATE
The only western country of note to still put its citizens to death - and with alarming regularity - is the United States of America, where the Federal Government, US Military and 38 of the 50 States still have the death penalty on their books. Of these, Texas has the busiest execution chambers, having killed 126 convicts by lethal injection in the last 5 years alone.
The pace of these executions only slowed to allow for issues around lethal injection (relating to the 8th Amendment to the US Constitution prohibiting "cruel and unusual punishment") to be considered by the US Supreme Court in 2008. The court upheld lethal injection as a valid method of execution and several states have since recommenced their schedule of executions.
Putting aside the merits of the individual cases, the final arbiter - and the last resort of any prisoner is the Governor of the State in question. In addition, District Attorneys who prosecute cases and the Judges who preside over trials are political appointees, all with vested interests in keeping their electorate happy to ensure another polling day payday. Politicians who oppose the death penalty or exercise their right of pardon are labelled "soft on crime" regardless of the merits of an individual case. This does not promote the fair use of the state's power in killing.
In the UK, before abolition, the system was arguably fairer, as lawyers and judges had no particular vested interest in keeping the public on-side. However, there were two major flaws in the system:
(a) it was indiscriminate - death by hanging was the mandatory sentence for murder, regardless of whether there were exceptional excusing or aggravating circumstances - i.e. Ruth Ellis was just as likely to be executed as a serial killer; and
(b) the time from conviction to execution was an average of ninety (90) days, leaving very little time for a sensible appeals process or the introduction of mitigating evidence. As in the USA, the final appeal is to the politically motivated Home Secretary.
How many is too many? If one in a hundred executed was innocent, is a 1% failure rate acceptable? What if it's one in a thousand, does 0.01% sound any better? What if that one person was your daughter, your wife, or you? Would it be acceptable then? This is not as far fetched as it seems.
In 1950, Timothy Evans was hanged for crimes committed by his lodger, John Reginald Christie in the notorious 10 Rillington Place murders. In 1953, Derek Bentley, he who uttered the infamous "Let him have it" - was executed for the killing of PC Sidney Miles despite the fact that he was mentally retarded, he didn't actually fire the gun (his accomplice, Christopher Craig pulled the trigger) and he was actually under arrest and restrained at the time. Not exactly the UK judicial system's finest hour.
Timothy Evans was granted a posthumous free pardon in 1966. Mahmood Hussein Mattan, convicted in 1953 and was the last hanged in Wales, had his conviction quashed in 1998. George Kelly, hanged in Liverpool in 1950, had his conviction overturned by the Court of Appeal in June 2003.
Derek Bentley's family had to wait forty-five years - until 1998 - for his conviction to be set aside. Chillingly, the appeal trial judge, Lord Chief Justice Lord Bingham, remarked that the original trial judge, Lord Goddard, had denied Bentley "the fair trial which is the birthright of every British citizen."
This litany of miscarriages of justice is not confined to the UK. In 2002, Ray Krone became the 100th person in the United States to be sentenced to death and subsequently exonerated since the moratorium on capital punishment was lifted by the US Supreme Court in 1973.
There are many other issues which inform the capital punishment debate - an eye for an eye, as a deterrent, the cost of life sentences to the tax payer, religious faith grounds, and many others - but I don't intend to expound on these. I did not intend this to be a comprehensive argument against the use of the death penalty. It is simply a statement on the two issues at the heart of my position that it should be abolished.
Our judicial system, and those in major developed nations, is amongst the best in the world, however, best does not mean perfect. As long as there is the risk of executing even one person who does not deserve it, and as long as the system is subject to political influence and/or abuse, then it is simply not safe to allow the state to put people to death.
Once sentence is carried out, there is no turning back. The compensation paid to the families of those exonerated after execution does not restore fathers to sons and wives to husbands. It is final and irreversible. In my view, it has no place in a civilised society. Fortunately, the UK saw the light in the late 60's, and our assignation to the ECHR means that there is no realistic prospect for capital punishment to be re-introduced in this country.
The tragedy of Ruth Ellis did not end on the gallows. Her husband, George Ellis succumbed to alcoholism and took his own life in 1958. Her son, who was eleven when she was executed, was badly affected, and having suffered various mental health problems, also killed himself in 1982.
After extensive renovations to Holloway Prison in the seventies, the bodies of all executed inmates were exhumed and reburied elsewhere. Ellis was re-buried at St Mary's Church in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. Her grave is now overgrown and neglected - and her family also collateral damage crushed under the brutal machinery of the State.
So I ask. How many is too many?
© Hishyeness 2009
Personally I think we definately need harsher penalties for crimes overall, particularly sex crimes and homicide. However, lets take a look at other countries which do have death penalties : certain states in america do still hold a death penalty, yet the question really is whether as a percentage, this is any different to our own current stats for such crimes. Will it really makea difference?
The problem is that sane average people would be easily detered from crimes on basic moral levels - those pushed to the edge of sanity may think twice about a harsher penalty, but truly mentally unstable psychopaths will hardly be detered by a prison sentence will they? I very much doubt that the likes of hannibal lecter would actually have ever considered the consequences of their crimes.
Crime is spawned from mental instability or desperation in most cases, people dont want to be bad people, most criminals become bad people as a result of the treatment they receive from others in their lives OR biological and mental influences. This begs the question, will killing them off solve the problem? Sure it definately makes us feel better about notpaying for cold blooded killers and perverts who are unlikely to change as a result of their illnesses - the fact is that we dont understand enough about the human mind to change the way the brain works.
When damage is caused to the brain (however so caused) either certain connections are severed or new connections are created - as a human being develops it is harder and harder to alter this - this is kind of like rewiring a circuit board, without removing old connections. Imagine trying to wipe 40 yr old's knowledge/ability to ride a bike, or attempting to teach a 50 yr old who has been cut off from society their whole life, how to form a relationship. The latter is easier, however the former is almost impossible, you could make someone forget how to ride a bike but only by giving them something different -like a car so that they dont need to ride a bike anymore -they could still ride one but they prefer the car because it's 'nicer'.
Connections in the brain are well established at a mature age and difficult to alter. An example of this is that some paedophiles are victims of abuse. Abused children sometimes deelop attachment disorders affecting their ability to empathise with others. The power some seize back by becoming the abuser can form very powerful and 'positive feeling' connections, despite the fact that they probably remember their own abuse experience. Trying to erase this connection is difficult, but they can learn to empathise and build appropriate relationships. This presents a new problem - now the person has a choice go with the new skill and make new positive connections which over ride the power connection, or stick with the old power connection.
Hopefully someday we will be able to erase these connections -personally i think this is the way forward. We could say that until then we should cull such psychopaths, but then where would be the incentive for researching new methods?
I too fear for my children's safety and am sick to the back teeth about worrying about who i can trust, i want my children to play outside safely. Harsher sentences are definately needed and less comfortable prison life is essential for this, but capital punishment can never take us forward toward a better future, it serves only to make us feel better and safer -but probably wouldnt do much in the most horrific cases.
Perhaps some other countries have lower crime rates not because of the capital punishment systems but because of the adequacy of their social service departments etc whose job it is to prevent children being abused or suffering bad childhoods which create the connections in children's minds which create these cold blooded killers. I work in a school for children with behavioural problems and see everyday how the system fails kids with behavioural problems who need support, how the system fails families who need support and how children can be destroyed by this). I am not blaming the parents - many parents of such criminals were supportive but didnt receive the additional support they required from the system for their child's behavioural condition or were the subject of domestic abuse etc etc etc. Others are affected by other famly members or teachers or friends of the family - I have seen first hand how these problems surface, are not watched properly (despite schools and other professionals screaming for action) and develop into situations which create an adult with criminal potential.
The Child Assessment Framework (CAF) built around Every Child Matters- started in light of the Victoria Climbie case was meant to be databased and linked -as far as i know it is still paper based.
We are all too aware of the failures of our system in this area - this is where i think we need to be working for improvements first - prevention is more effective than cure!!!