Posted by: thescoundrel | October 20, 2009

The Death Penalty – Time to Fix a Costly Defective Process


I have previously discussed my distaste for the death penalty. My personal feelings on how to deal with criminals found guilty of murder wavers constantly. I have also previously explained some aspects of why I have been solidly against the death penalty since my college days. I think that the manner in which the death penalty cases are managed by the legal system is a defective process.

There are just way too many uncontrollable variables that can taint evidence and/or the process. Way too often we find that we have convicted someone for crimes that they did not perpetrate. And I think this indicates that our justice system contains too much structural weakness that creates risk of sending innocent individuals to death for crimes that they did not commit. It is not fair to the defendant, or to make those involved in the operational dynamics of the legal system or even society responsible to put even one innocent man to death. As was displayed in my last post justice is rarely, if ever, handled in a fair and balanced effort.

Nor will we ever come to a nationwide consensus about what constitutes a humane method of executing someone found guilty. The facts are there is no humane way to execute a person. Killing any creature is a grisly operation at best. The best we can hope for when we execute a person is a quick clean death; but there is never a guarantee of a quick clean death in any manner of execution.

And finally in what has been talked of for years and once again displayed by a recent study – the cost factor involved in trying to assuage all our concerns about acting in a honorable manner when it comes to arrest, trial and executing an individual we deem guilty of murder, has become astronomical to the public. An article by Bill Mears lists a 130 million dollar per year cost just for California. It also states that Florida costs average 24 million dollars a year per execution. The death penalty, which is a flawed system at its best, is costing us all way too much money. Basically some people are getting rich off a society’s desire for a revenge killing.

I am not saying that we need to get soft on criminals. No, anyone that personally knows me can tell you I think we have let criminals and crooked lawyers’ takeover our justice system. I am not even saying that we need to completely do away with the death penalty. What I am saying is that we need to rethink how we punish criminals on the whole. I do believe that we should limit the death penalty much further than we do now — perhaps to the point that it only includes mass murderers. I also think we need to make prison punishment for all crimes less like advanced schooling for criminal activities. That probably means redesigning our prisons as well as the system to include a higher percentage of isolation for violent criminals. Whatever the answer we are breaking the banks of States by staying with our current crime and punishment applications of justice that involves the death penalty. Our states are already so overtaxed with cost burdens; many prisons let criminals out early just to make room for the influx of newly convicted criminals. I said earlier in this post there are way too many fractures in the justice system to fix. But it is time to rethink, reorganize and fix what parts we can of our justice system before we become overrun by prison system costs that gambles/endangers society by freeing criminals early. A good start would be eliminating the death penalty and thus saving the extensive costs we have created surrounding the execution process.

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