Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Lethal Injections Possibly a Thing of the Past

An article in the St. Pete Times today says that Florida's current lethal injection may cause sociopathic killers undue pain and distress. So the Supreme Court has ruled that these murderers can appeal their method of death. This will tie the court system up in even further appeals.

One of the reasons the current death penalty process is not effective as a deterrant is that there is not a short timeline between the criminal act and the punishment. It's not easy to take the death penalty seriously when convicted murderers are still sitting in Death Row years later.

I realize that some of you are anti-death penalty. But I still believe in justice and retribution. I also don't think that simply serving time among other reprobates is truly the way to punish any criminal when there are three square meals provided, a place to sleep in relative comfort, books, TV, other entertainment and luxuries, and no forced labor.

I've written before about prison reform and there is no doubt it's needed. But that goes both ways. We also need to reform this cushy lifestyle they have grown accustomed to. I truly believe that we need to bring back chain gangs.

As for the lethal injection, the primary argument is that it is alleged that it may cause the average murderer some torment as he dies. Just like his victims. Gee, my heart bleeds for him.


Edge said...

I was thinking about this topic the other day. You know a long time ago people got hung for stealing. I believe this thinned the population out and purged" the wrong doer's from society. Now we are so mamby pamby we let the lawbreakers go, let them breed and then allow them to teach their crime to others. No wonder we have such a problem with society.

Prison should not be about reform it should be about punishment. For instance, killing someone either gets the death penalty or 3 times the number of years of the age of the victim. If the sentence is over 50 years, you get the death penalty or if the victim is under 21 you get the death penalty. Hmmm, how about you get the death penalty in the most painful way possible.


mal said...

fortunately, the ruling is narrow in scope and focuses on the technical nature of the process.

my only question is "how do you prove/disprove the argument"?

mckay said...

amen, saur. i firmly believe our incarceration system is way too cushy. bring back hard labor, eliminate conjugal visits. felons get free medical treatment, free meals, free room and board. Why shouldn't they have to do some good hard labor to pay their way?

...and 20 years of appeals for death rowers is insane. that's 20 more years of living than their victims had.


Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

It says a lot that the US is the only advanced nation that uses the death penalty...

The Lazy Iguana said...

Retribution is not what the American justice system was founded on. The oldest prision in the USA was built by Quakers, who wanted to get away from the torture dungeons so popular in Europe. So they came up with a new idea. Lock people up in solitary confinement, giving them only the Bible, a sliver of sunlight through a narrow window, and food. No human contact at all. This of course drove people insane - but at least there was no guy with a black hood and a hot poker.

And prision life is not as "cushy" as you may think it is. The reality is that your "home" is the size of a walk in closet, and you share it with one other person. There are no doors on the crapper. You are told when you can leave your cell, when you must return, and so on. It is not exactly a vacation to Hawaii.

The death penalty is not effective because it has no deterrant benefit. I might decide not to sell drugs, because I do not want to go to prision, but someone disturbed enough to pick up an axe and chop 20 people to death is not exactly thinking too clearly. They will pick up that axe even if you are shot in the face as soon as the judge says "guilty".

Us Americans like to pretend that our society is all advanced and civilized and stuff. We do not execute people found to be "crazy", only those found to be "sane". But would a sane person pick up an axe and chop 20 people to death? I say no. A sane person would stop after the first person. And among all the nations on the world, we rank with Saudi Arabia and China for executions. Do we really want to be lumped in with these beacons of freedom and democracy? China and Saudi Arabia do not have long periods of time between the sentence and you getting your head chopped off in a public square - so you would think that they would not need to execute anyone because of the deterrant factor. Yet these two nations still do a lot of chopping!

Lastly, what would Jesus have to say about the death penalty?

Justice is one thing. Revenge is another. In the past few years, DNA evience that did not exist 15 years ago has led to many people on death row being proved innocent. Who knows how many people whose last words were "I am not guilty" were telling the truth. Even if it was just one person it is not acceptible.

Ed Abbey said...

Saur, if the US prison system wasn't as cushy as it was now and we saw more hard physical labor and solitary confinement, I think many death penalty advocates would swing back the other way believing that something like lethal injection was just an easy way out. Then maybe I would be back in a majority on this topic.

Scott said...

Yeah I completely disagree on this one. I believe that the death penalty should be abolished, and I certainly do not believe for a second that people who are on death row or have committed serious viloent crime have a cushy lifestyle in the prison system. You should look into life in a Supermax prison. It is horrific, as it should be for violent offenders. I don't think that the prison system should be about vengence it should be about punishment and accountability. It is a terrible thing to commit murder and people do need to stay behind bars for the rest of their lives. Murdering them is not the answer.

There needs to be prisons that do effectively rehabilitate those who are going to be released back into society or you will have a continuance of their crime.

Jef's answer pretty much scares the heck out of me.


Grant said...

Sometimes I think executions should be done as humanely as possible, not for the benefit of the poor murderer, but because their actions don't excuse any cruelty on our behalf. On the other hand, we're missing out on a great opportunity.

I think they should be given a limit on how many appeals they should get (no more than a year), then they should be publicly executed on TV in the most horrific manner possible. You could run a contest to decide who's idea is implemented, but I think I'd go with rabid weasels with cute little chainsaws. This would draw a huge TV audience, and would have the added befefit of showing the consequences of criminal actions.

Ed Abbey said...

There has been 123 people freed from death row since 1978. Almost 1000 people have been executed in that time frame. That means since 1978, we have had a 12.3% chance of getting it wrong. Those numbers to me are unacceptable. Would you (pro death penalty advocates) be willing to stake your life on those odds?

D-Dub said...

If you take a life yours should be forfeit. No excuses. Call it revenge or justice. The murderer has taken away another persons future - they have no business breathing.

With DNA evidence we should be able to avoid "innocent" people being executed.

Ask yourself honestly: If your child was murdered - would you want the killer sitting in prison?

EmmaSometimes said...

WELL said D-Dub!!

With DNA evidence being used now, I think it would be wise to get the OVERLOADED cases with such evidence taken care of instead of sitting on a lab shelf somewhere while someone rots on death row.

I don't like my tax money being used to house death row inmates. Period. Working my butt off for them to sit for years in prison. They need to meet their maker. I'm sure God knows who is who.

EmmaSometimes said...

by the way, anyone who wants to fork over their wages to house a criminal that has taken the life of your father, your mother, or sister? helpless child? To takers? Anyone? Please, Raise your hand.

green said...

I'm for the death penalty. Murder is wrong, yes, but there is also that Biblical adage that says an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

I have no sympathy for a convicted murderer who may suffer a little bit of "discomfort" before dying from a lethal injection. Perhaps the method they used to murder should be used on them. Think of all of the "discomfort" they gave their victims and the years of the victims families dealing with a loos of a loved one.

If you shoot somebody then you should be shot. If you beat someone with a crowbar then you too should be beaten with a crowbar, etc.

I also have a problem with my tax dollars supporting prison inmates on death row.

Perhaps we as a society have gotten too soft on death row inmates. I say bring back the electric chair or perhaps the gallows.

lazy iguana wrote: "But would a sane person pick up an axe and chop 20 people to death? I say no. A sane person would stop after the first person."

I reply: "A sane person does not kill anyone at all. Even one murder puts the killer's sanity at nil.

Senor Caiman said...

Go Saur, Go Saur.

Bryan said...

You're preachin' to the choir with me, Saur. I couldn't agree more.

On a different angle though, the U.S. also has the highest percentage of people incarcerated than any other country in the world, and some, no doubt, don't belong there. This is indicative of a burgeoning police state, which is also disturbing.

Reverberate58 said...

And Old Sparky didn't hurt them? Me a nice needle in the arm and a dream seems like a lot better than the chair!!

I feel that since we have a law for the death penelty we should uphold that law and in a timely manner. Not 50 years later!! Nuff said!

Jenn said...

Beheading is a lot grosser, but it happens so fast I doubt it hurts. Maybe we should bring back beheading.

Ellen said...

I weigh in with the "fry the scum" crowd on this one... and for all the same reasons they gave.
It's be proven over and over how these "reformed" criminals are often repeat offenders, usually to the weakest of the species. It's time we take a stand and rid ourselves of these rabid humans as we would a rabid dog.

R2K said...

I sure do agree about the chain gangs: criminals should work to try and pay some of the bill they ring up as inmates. What is it, 50,000 a year per person for death row?

One problem with the issue of time is that we have a very safe legal system which requires that every chance be afforded for this person to defend themselves. Sure we could just shoot them as soon as their first trial ends. But that would not be fair. So how do we decide when is right and when is not? It is very complex.

As to the pain and suffering, I also have no ethical problems with hurting people. But it is clearly illegal to cause any excessive pain. Unless that law changes, I have to support the law. I do not know the question about lethal injection, but I understand why people are no longer hanged or are not stabbed to death, or crushed by rocks: these are all slow and painful.

Because all of these issues do not have a simple solution, may I suggest that punishing people is not really the best way to fight crime? It certainly isn’t the most cost effective. I have to humbly suggest that we focus the most effort on preventing people from becoming criminals in the first place. Sure there will always be some background level of crime, but as a New Yorker, I know that it can be reduced a great deal. I now live in a very safe city, but just 20 years ago it was one of the worst. And I assure you it isn’t because the punishment got any more painful.

Meow said...

Hey there, just droppin by to say hi. Hope all is well in your world. Take care, Meow

Mr. Althouse said...

I whole heartedly agree. Actually, there is evidence of this as I posted a similar opinion after Michael Morales was granted not one but two last minute reprieves because some judge bought into the argument that some pain may be involved.

I don't care. What I do care about is paying for a system that does not function. I'll not repeat my rant here for I know you read my post back in February. If anyone else is interested, they may find it here.

~ Mike

PS: Hope things are looking up for you.

Lee Ann said...

Exactly! Wow, it is hard to believe people argue about this.
I also wondered why they go to the trouble of sterilizing the needle!
I really don't want to sound insensitive, just practical.

michelle said...

Hubby told me you two talked a little about this. He says you two were definatley on the same page. I bet he was even more blunt than you??

Ed Abbey said...

Ask yourself honestly: If your child was murdered - would you want the killer sitting in prison?

No. I would want them breaking rocks with a 20 pound sledgehammer for 16 hours a day and locked in a concrete bunker with absolutely nothing else for the other 8 hours.

R2K said...

"Ask yourself honestly: If your child was murdered - would you want the killer sitting in prison?"

No, you would want them to be tortured and killed. But what an emotional victim of violence wants is hardly the way to make the law. As cold as it may sound, this victim is the last person we should ask about how to punish: they only care to act out of revenge, or fear.

I think bootcamp is a great idea for rehab. It seems to work best. Bootcamp and hard work.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Alex, true, and not so true. I think often it's very easy to clinically discuss a situation, or "compassionately" dismiss it, if we aren't a part of it. But you do have a point, families often prefer to go for the jugular.

Ed, IF that would happen, it would be a good thing. But then we'd probably go back to the "cruel and unusual punishment" argument, sadly.

Michelle, *LOL* Yeah, he was blunt. We're on the same page. Thanks for lending him to me these last couple of days. I'm finally getting stuff down around the house! And I have NEW CEILING FANS! Whooooo hooo!

More in a little while. Phone's ringing off the hook...

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

To those that are pro-death penalty I ask you to consider why the US is the only advanced nation that still uses it but has the highest crime rates and highest prison population.

It doesn't work, conservatism doesn't work when it comes to crime.

And for all those 'eye for an eye' lunatics, two points:

1. Are we not supposed to move above the act of the criminal rather than repeating it but for alleged justified reasons?

2. An eye for an eye leaves us all blind.

Badoozie said...

i think we should take all of the people on death row, and set them loose in the UK

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I think you should close the equality gap in the US and there'd be less people on death row.

Badoozie said...

i think we should send all the mean people to mars, for an experiment, tell them they'll win a million dollars, it'll be like a "survivor" except on mars. and then just sort of forget to pick them up. this would solve numerous problems, AND justify all the money the US wastes on exploration of mars, instead of feeding the hungry people in our streets. cause you know, we wouldn't want to take care of our own, that would be un american

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I think that's non workable.

You must be a republican.

Badoozie said...

my god, can't you just take a freakin joke? can i be sarcastic and funny, and not be taken for an idiot? and why do you have to argue with things that don't need to be argued with. if you can't tell that is a joke, you must be a communist. hows that for an idiotic judgement.


Badoozie said...

and i'm talking to YOU DANIEL, just in case anyone is confused.

EmmaSometimes said...

non-workable to send criminals elsewhere? tell that to the former Englishmen living in eastern Australia in the 1780s.

Aside from that, if you punish someone ENOUGH for doing something wrong they will stop, isn't that what 'justice' is for? Making people accountable for their actions? How many legitimate inmates are on death row for multiple offenses? TOO MANY. I say, kill them all, let God sort them out. (um, that was a joke)