...having supported them throughout their short lives of idle pointlessness, why should the taxpayer now continue to stump up the money to clothe, feed and cage them?Ah. This would be my cue to raise my hand and say that I don't consider myself a bleeding heart but I don't agree that the death penalty is warranted. I'll quote my own comment in reply to JuliaM.
After all, even the bleeding hearts can’t object that there’s that ‘shadow of doubt’ here over whether the death penalty is warranted.
Certainly, none over whether the right men are in the dock…
JuliaM, I have to disagree on one point. I wouldn't shed a tear if I heard that they all carked it inside... [but] I'm very uncomfortable with the state killing prisoners on our behalf. ...they've fucked it up in the past and executed people that really shouldn't have been, and bringing back capital punishment would virtually guarantee that it would happen again. And that's just wrongful executions through ineptitude. With the fuckwits in Westminster as an example of the political class would you trust them to have the death penalty back and not abuse it in the future? There's some worry about the potential for abuse with the Civil Contingencies Act and the Legislative And Regulatory Reform Act, and the bastards have already begun by misusing RIPA and the Proceeds Of Crime Act. ... would you really want the power of life and death to be put back in the hands of government? I wouldn't, and that means if I want to be sure I'm not legally murdered by the state in the future I have to support protecting the even most vile criminals from the noose now.I meant all of the second paragraph, so I hope that shows my opposition to capital punishment is coming from a not-at-all-bleeding-and-not-remotely-heart-shaped point of view. I didn't go into it there but I have some sympathy for the argument that state sanctioned killing of unarmed and helpless prisoners makes our society little better than the scum we're ushering into the beyond, but my biggest concern is that I don't fucking trust governments, full stop, end of. And on that basis the last thing power I want them to have is the power of life and death, even over the worst kind of criminals and even when their conviction is beyond doubt. JuliaM responded:
That doesn't mean I'm a bleeding heart. I don't give a fuck about their oomin rights, I wouldn't lose sleep over rock breaking or making rego plates, I'd object to taxpayers funding help to get off their drug of choice and would rather they went cold turkey, I don't want them to have games or toys or fun distractions, I'd give them 5 minutes of personal/social phone calls per month ... [etc]. In fact the only "nice" thing I think should be on offer is the opportunity to reform themselves, which should be the only alternative to three decades of mind numbing and dreary routine. I'm all for real punishment and treating this shitebags like the animals they are, but I'd be really worried if the state began wasting them for my convenience and safety.
First they came for the crackheads and street thugs, etc, etc.
I take your point about the possibility of wrongful executions (though with strict safeguards on the cases applicable, and the increasing use of DNA, I think that could be massively improved), but it would be the judiciary, and more importantly, the jury, that would have the say, not the government.Although I did leave a reply I think this needs a bit more space than normal for a blog comment.
I quite like the 'penalty phase' idea they use in the States, where the sentence is 'seperate' from the capital aspect. I think this would be a useful safeguard, rather than applying the previous 'blanket sentence'.
Of course, it's all moot anyway, since we are in the EU!
Minister: Can we release a few more of the minor criminals early?Advisor: Sorry Minister, that's political suicide.Minister: Alright, what about speeding up the death penalty procedures and executing more of the worst criminals? Surely that would be popular?Advisor: Well, we could certainly streamline the process a little more.Minister: Only a little?Advisor: To be honest Minister, after removing the right to a final appeal for clemency to the Queen there's no that much scope left beyond processing the paperwork more quickly.Minister: Right, do that then. Anything else? Could we extend execution to other serious crimes?Advisor: Such as, Minister?Minister: Well, what have we got now? Murder, obviously.Advisor: Yes, and terrorism, rape and sexual assault of minors.Minister: Okay, then we just need to know what the papers are baying for blood over at the moment. You take The Daily Shriek and I'll look through the Gnash Of The Teeth..........Advisor: People seem very concerned about drugs again Minister.Minister: Okay, shall we say any second offence of dealing Class A?Advisor: I can draft it this afternoon, Minister.
*Coming at it from the other direction I recognize that deaths can and do occur where a killer has been released only to kill again. Many won't of course. Crimes of passion are sad but unless prompted by mental illness (in which case indefinite care in a secure hospital obviously makes more sense to me than "care in the community") seem unlikely to be the work of a repeat offender. Nor are crimes of passion deterred by the death penalty - think red balls in Minority Report. But going back to the killer who is let out and kills again the solution needn't be execution when you can as easily chuck the key away. More expensive, yes, but it also offers the opportunity for genuine reformation. That may be small but would we be civilized if we wrote someone off as utterly worthless and beyond redemption? Hmmm, probably a whole new argument to blog about on another day.