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Capital Punishment/Death penalties.
Do you accept it, or are you against it?
To be clearer: Can you see good or bad outcomes of this? Both? Also, if you're pro capital punishment, where do you draw the line between lifelong sentence and DP, and if you're against, what should happen with the prosecuted instead?
I have my own opinion in this matter but I rather wait for a debate to start before getting involved because it's easier for me to express myself in that way, therefore I apologize for not posting my personal thoughts regarding this in my topic.
Well, I received summons for jury duty several times and twice it involved a case where the defendant killed someone. The Judge asked, If anyone was against handing out capital punishment (Death Penalty). I raised my hand because I was against it.
I don't really have anything against those who are for it, but for me... I don't want to have the death of someone hanging over my head forever.
First, some logical points against Death Sentence:
-The monetary costs of a death sentence is higher than of an average life imprisonment
-misjudgements are unreversable from a certain point on
-huge moral issue, necessary debate all the time if death sentence exists
-it's a huge burden for judges and executors
My personal point:
I've a favorite example why I think that such punishment is absolutely wrong:
I guess most of you know a (usually fictional) story of a person with a full amnesia. The main character doesn't remember anything and starts living without prejudices and is a helpful, friendly member of society.
Then, some day, he is identified as having commited a murder (or other major crime) before the amnesia.
Usually everyone reading this story will have the opinion that the person does not deserve punishment at all, since his mind is totally unrelated to the crime because it's been "reset" since the amnesia. There is no guilt to that person's mind, which would suffer from the punishment, only his "body" commited the crime but bodys don't get punished. Punishing the body would be like attempting to punish a fallen tree for having smashed a car.
Ok, now usually criminals don't get amnesias like that and I don't mean to suggest to attempt to delete their minds. What I wanted to show is only the most extreme case of getting rid of guilt.
However, our society and legal system (speaking of Germany here though it's the same for most countries) is based on the logical assumption that the human mind is possible to change. Someone beeing always told "Every foreigner is our enemy and deserves to die" since birth can easily be influenced, but can change as well, for example. That person's character is formed by one-sided information and might change once he gains more information.
Final punishment (death sentence) would denie any possibility of changing for some.
A murderer who truly changed might regret his crime and become a different character than the one commiting the murder, just like the person with an amnesia. Punishment would be futile then because it wouldn't be a punishment for the character commiting the crime anymore.
So the assumption of people beeing able to change is closely related to the need of offering every criminal the possibility of changing and redeeming themselves. Death sentence would be a direct accusation to a person that it would be absolutely unable to change.
My opinion also bases on the thought that people are beeing shaped by their background and social surroundings and do not choose their own character and way of thinking. Social drama defines the thug as a sick person, made ill by his social background. People in an environment where trust is seen as weakness will easily become people who don't trust others anymore for example, what can easily result in a wicked character and twist the person's way of thinking in a way that he won't be able to seperate right and wrong anymore.
Well, I know that this mentality allone can't result in a working legal system since it's impossible to totally understand a person's mind and things like regret aren't measurable but fakeable. Still, death sentence totally clashes with those ideas I just listed and is totally wrong in my mind.
I rather stick to the idea "I'ld rather let go of a hundred criminals than punishing one innocent", short version of the presumption of innocence which is base for legal systems compatible to human rights.
How is the monetary expense greater than letting them live?
And please provide sources.
These situation are not always easy to judge from an outsiders point of view, dealing with crimes or the resulting punishment's like death penalties, that stem from the cause of that, etc.
Although circumstance and situations may vary with various incidents, deciding to take someone life or being involved in ( deciding - like in a jury ) it is a huge deal. At least for me. Again I'm not against capital punishment, I just dont want to be involved in deciding or a deciding party in such an ordeal.
Different people will give different opinions, thats how society works.
Last edited by Charlie; September 15, 2010 at 03:35 PM.
I have mixed feelings on the death penalty. I hate the idea of killing someone regardless of their crimes. The thought of someone's life ending, especially if I was on the jury that convicted the person, almost makes me sick to my stomach, however, I do see beneficial aspects to it.
I really, REALLY hate to be this guy, but the most beneficial aspect to a state (or country) using the death penalty is simply cost. When people are sentence to life in prison, they almost always deserve to spend their life in those (hopefully) awful conditions BUT it is murder on tax payers, especially when the prisons are filled with people serving similar sentences. If someone has willfully taken another's life and has received life in prison without parole, it only makes sense to just put them on death row. I hate the idea like I stated, but, especially in America with how far in debt we are, the benefits of the government paying less money to support criminals who are never gonna get out anyway just makes the death penalty seem like the proper course of action.
Again, I too hate the idea of killing someone else, and I'm sure many of you will disagree but that's just how I feel about it.
Source http://www.deathpenalty.org/article.php?id=42 (found via english wikipedia entry):
Actually they have quite an interesting text there as they partially referr to official studies.
This one isn't official but I guess LA Times isn't a bad source:
For rough comparison, imprisonment in germany costs around 30.000$ a year, guess the expenses here shouldn't be too far away from US standards. The number is approximately as old as that report.Quote:
With additional costs of 90.000$ per inmate in death row, it's four times as expansive as a usual inmate regarding to those LA Times numbers. Given that inmates in death row often are imprisoned for a long long time, they will most likely often be at least imprisoned 1/4 of the time of someone with a life imprisonment what would equalize the costs of imprisonment only... not to mention all those additional things like extra trials and instances and so on.
Last edited by Roflkopt3r; September 15, 2010 at 10:25 PM.
I really like to watch crime-fighting hosting channels in TV. I like the portions where forensic investigators discover the killer/perpetrator of a certain crime (like murder). Most often than not, when the judge's verdict sentences the killer to death penalty, I feel a little glee deep within me - probably the contentment of seeing a murderer be brought to justice.
I don't know... but I feel glad whenever the judge declares a death penalty. My God, am I a sadist? I guess that gives away my point - I am in favor of death penalties.
Why? Because we want to "teach" future perpetrators a lesson not to commit any more crimes in the land. I know its harsh, but only through punishment will those kinds of stubborn people learn.
A murderer doesn't think about it like "for 20 years I'll kill him, for 25 years maybe, and for death penality I won't", that's not how a crime works. It's not about logics at all.
Also, I thought most people would've gotten that information from the genre of the social drama already, it's not like a criminal choses his character, rather most can be seen as "degenerated" by their circumstances imo. They rather need a treatment than beeing killed.
My opinion on this still is, that the goal should be to give even criminals the chance to change themselves. As I posted in an earlier post here, I'm absolutely sure that it is the best way.
At the same time, I can understand vigilante justice as well as long as it hits the right person. It's a totally different thing if someone takes direct revenge or if an overpowering governmental body orders a punishment.
Furthermore I guess that all those demands for death penalty actually only are made to achieve revenge. Nothing else than that. And I don't think that revenge has a good place in society, just look what it turned the middle east into, and Afghanistan, and Iraq. It doesn't work well, it doesn't improve the situation. It's an immature, obsolete and archaic concept these days in my opinion.
By the way, crimes which are punishable by death penalty are heavy crimes (like murder, for instance). Of course, minor crimes like stealing and are not to be punished by such (that's wrong for me.) I am referring to heavy crimes.
For me, the government is only doing its part to ensure a crime-free community. I know, capital punishment is killing someone, but the grounds for killing that someone is a justifiable act. If this is the means for warning future criminals to step back and know their place, then I agree with the government's decision.
I think that it's been proven by many studies that death penalty does not help in reducing crimes. Murder and awfull crimes will always occur whatever the sanction is. Hence I rather see the suppression of death penalty as a demonstration of the evolution of a society wrt moral issue.
nowadays, most of us consider slavery or torture immoral whereas they where not a few hundred years ago. The same think will happen with Death penalty
PS : I didn't do it on purpose but Robert Badinter (the minister of justice when France abolished death penalty) used the same argument
Reminds me of a point I derivated from this video:
It's about the ability of emphathy, how it developes in growing children, where empathy is located in our brain and how it affects our judgements.
So, it contains a study:
So, to bring in a link to the discussion about death penalty:
I have the feeling that people pro death penalty rather judge a crime on the outcome. They will say things like "Such a disgusting crime has to have suitable consequences" and so on.
On the other hand, contra death sentence rather argues focussed on the criminal: "There might be a motive/reason behind this" for example.
There have been quite a few cases of questionable death sentences in the past, where it seemed like the criminal's motives or other reasons were left out.
However, my point: Could it be that people pro death sentence -in average- lack empathy, and possibly have an underdeveloped brain region (RTPJ) for this?
Well, it's not like we have underdeveloped brains for this. For me, it's a matter of regulating the society into what is right. I know it contradicts my belief of life preservation as a Christian, but I can't help think that no matter how many times we put their cases off, they'll always commit the same crime over and over again.
For me, the government (in my country, that is) should pursue its law of capital punishment. In that way, at least a small number of crimes would be lessened.
Just recently there was a huge article about norwegian prisons and their extremely liberal penal system - which produces terrific results!
So, the concept is: There are camps made to accustom criminals to a normal live, for example on an island (Bastøy) which served as a prime example in the article. The Island looks like this:
-Prisoners from normal prisons can apply to go to the camp after they were in prison for a while alredy
-There are approx. 100 prisoners
-There are some guardians, too, but they don't wear uniforms and are completely unarmed
-The prisoners may do as they please, or rather: Have to. There is no force to them. They can work normally, have a supermarket, a gym and stuff, but have to organize themselve themselves completely.
-There is no fence or something like that. The island is extremely close to the coast and escaping would be absolutely no problem. There even is a ferry bringing prisoners to the coast when they for example have to buy something which isn't available on the island. The ferry itself is also operated by prisoners.
Results: Not a single prisoner has tryed escaping so far - and there were really extreme guys on there, like racist murderers and so. A noteworthy amount of prisoners gave up on living there and wanted to get back to prison actually! Simply because they were absolutely unable to lead a normal life...
1/3rd of all Norwegian prisons follow a similar open concept like Bastøy. Of prisoners who spend the rest of their punishment in Bastøy, only 16% commited another crime after serving their sentence. In all of Norway the average quota is 20%. In Germany, as a comparison, the quota is 50%!
Last edited by Roflkopt3r; March 01, 2011 at 01:12 PM.
@steelwingcrash1 I somehow doubt that it would decrease the number of crimes - maybe slightly, but only just.
I've recently read a newspaper article regarding this and the cost that goes into keeping prisons running. To be honest, I'm divided on the subject. I'm uncomfortable with the idea of killing someone (i.e. death penalties) no matter what they have done - jail for life to me, seems more fit. But if I put my shoes into a victim's family, I can't even imagine how they must feel. Perhaps the feeling of wanting a death penalty for the murderer would exist, who knows. At the same time, I think a person's life shouldn't be decided by some monetary value or what society believes to be 'Justice'. Divided.