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Death penalty back in HM Prison

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kinell | 11:14 Wed 14th Jan 2009 | News
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Its a shame that it is only on St Kitts presently.

They take a welcome lead in re-introducing the ultimate penalty for total wasters in their society.

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The 'no deterrent' argument is rubbish - taking that to its logical conclusion you could argue the threat of a custodial is no deterrent either and therefore we shouldn't bother having prisons at all.

State sanctioned 'murder' is also rubbish. This is a weak argument trotted out using an emotive term to force home a wrong point. If it is state sanctioned, and therefore legal, it cannot be 'murder'.

Rehabilitation should only ever be a by-product of the punishment - the first job of a prison is to punish. Plus, of course, some people cannot be rehabilitated and therefore we shouldn't even bother trying (Huntley, Nielson, Whiting etc...).

Despite the above, I am fervently against the death penalty, not because it is not a deterrent (because the deterrent argument doesn't hold water), not because it is state sanctioned 'murder' (which it is not), but simply because there would be innocent people killed.

An appeal proving non-guilt when you are already six feet under, may be nice for the relatives, but bloody useless to the victim of the miscarriage.

Plus, of course, there are the mentalers to consider - if somebody is genuinely suffering from nuttery and they were not responsible for their actions, then I fail to see how they can even be guilty of murder, much less die for it. Although of course we would need to do a Bradley and keep them locked-up in a lunatic asylum.

However, I do believe, in cases such as Huntley, where the crimes are so breathtakingly evil, that life should mean life and the term should be served in a cold, dank, damp cell with just enough basic rations to survive.

But this would be a violation of human rights I hear those of a Guardian disposition nasally whining - well so bloody what?
Someone genuinely suffering from nuttery wouldn't be convicted of murder so the death penalty isn't a problem for them. They'd be convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and sent to a secure unit, rather than the gallows.

You're right to say that 'murder' was a wonky term. It was merely shorthand for taking life. But you're right to point out it's inappropriateness. What's daft is the idea that we abhor the inherent wrongness of taking of human life and yet some want us to respond to it by doing the same.

The no deterrent argument should be recast as 'no more deterrent than prison'. The idea that someone would happily commit a murder if it meant them spending decades in prison but would only call it off if faced with the death penalty is farcical. It staggers me that people still believe that.

The four main justifications for punishment are rehabilitation, deterrent, protecting society and retribution. I'd put them in that order personally. There can't be many better symptoms of a functioning, progressive society than turning the scum into worthwhile, useful members of society. But it's all a matter of taste.
Its interesting isn't it that we can both agree that the death penalty is wrong, while at the same time be at polar opposites.

My four main justifications for prison are in the exact opposite order of yours, being retribution, protecting society, deterrent and finally rehabilitation.
The cost to keep one prisoner for one year to the tax payer is �65,000

we could get rid of the real baddies and make a bit more room for some more crims to serve sentences..

The real baddies - like multiple murderers and people who are convicted paedos... they would never be re-habilitated into our society
'The 'no deterrent' argument is rubbish - taking that to its logical conclusion you could argue the threat of a custodial is no deterrent either and therefore we shouldn't bother having prisons at all.'
At least with prison sentences you�re not ending a potentially innocent person�s hope of being freed.
I will never support the death penalty until we have absolute God like knowledge and an incorruptible investigative force looking at the crimes committed. Until then, it�s just us and we are not justice if it is death at the end.

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