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The Death Penalty - Time To Bring It Back To The Table??

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Initial post: 11 Apr 2010 15:14:58 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 Apr 2010 15:17:18 BDT
Adam Jackson says:
Are any of our main parties ever going to have the guts to at least debate this?
Almost every person I have ever spoken to has expressed a desire for Capital Punishment for the most heinous of crimes and yet not one of our prospective governments will go near it!
I know there are moral concerns and well placed concerns over miscarriages of justice but how long can the innocent & decent people of this country incl. women & children suffer at the hands of the abusers, rapists and murderers out there with no effective deterrent and little in the way of REAL punishment.

Peter Hitchens of the Daily Mail once said that how can we as a society NOT execute those who take lives in cold blood! And I can see where he comes from as how else can you ever gain any justice for the victims & their families than by taking way from the convicted that which they so vilely took away from an innocent??

Have we turned so far to the Left that this can never return no matter how much violent crime may escalate??
Will the dogooders & apologists continue to stifle all debate on this as if somehow a discussion alone at parliamentary level would return us to stone age times?
How can vulnerable children be starved and tortured to death as seen so often of late and their tormentors continue to live??

Posted on 11 Apr 2010 16:20:22 BDT
"Peter Hitchens of the Daily Mail"

Says it all really.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Apr 2010 17:24:33 BDT
Diziet says:
Don't think it's really a left/right issue given that the death penalty is used in China, Russia and the US. You might want to check this link:

Don't really see how you can say that we've 'turned to the left' either, given that all three parties support neoliberal economics and neoconservative morals.

Posted on 11 Apr 2010 18:04:39 BDT
ezpz says:
Its out of our hands...

A moratorium on the death penalty is a condition of membership in the Council of Europe.

The Council of Europe is the oldest international organisation working towards European integration, having been founded in 1949. It has a particular emphasis on legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation.

Posted on 11 Apr 2010 19:40:41 BDT
S.R.J says:
So let me get this right (no pun intended) Adam, if I am opposed to the death penalty I'm do-gooder am I?
There have been numerous instances of people killed by the state who have subsequently proved to be innocent, one is one too many.

Posted on 11 Apr 2010 20:19:45 BDT
Jonboy says:
We already have the death penalty. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis were murdered in cold blood by the US and UK, and this hardly troubled the conscience of any member of the Labour Cabinet. Yet propose executing an evil individual who has murdered, say, a police officer, and they suddenly develop a conscience.
Not that I'm in favour of capital punishment - you can't condemn the taking of life and then do so yourself, especially as when the State does it, the very act undermines civilisation in a quite chilling way. Also, why should the family of the murderer suffer - they are as innocent as the victim and victim's family? Having said that, some of the murders we see now are so callous that I'm prepared to change my mind.

Posted on 11 Apr 2010 20:21:04 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 11 Apr 2010 20:21:33 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Apr 2010 22:02:01 BDT
Subotan says:

Next populist, blood-baiting proposal please.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Apr 2010 23:39:42 BDT
Liammons says:
Actually Adam capital punishment and the corresponding debate are quite regularly discussed, its actually one topic the PC brigade have never fully censored. I'm going to surprise you by saying i am fully against the death penalty. One only has to look at th USA where the majority of those on death row simply could not afford a good enough defence to get a plea of mitigation.
The only possible way i would accept it is if the suspect in question requested it and thats not very likely to happen. Too many mistakes.

Posted on 12 Apr 2010 16:00:09 BDT
The first thing to remember is that we can't bring back capital punishment and remain part of the EU. Poland has the same problems. To bring back execution you need to work out how we can get out of the EU first without bankrupting the country. Thats another debate and not one I want to start. Thats why no major party will debate the issue.

The next thing to remember is that Fred West and Harold Shipman succeeded in killing themselves in prison, Ian Brady wishes to starve to death (we're keeping him alive with tube feeding) and Ian Huntley has tried killing himself three times. If they WANT to die is executing them a punishment? I've no problem executing people like Huntley for purely financial reasons (a hanging is a damn site cheaper than feeding him for the next 40 or 50 years- the oft quoted stat that it costs a zillion quid to execute someone is a US stat based on 20 years of appeals) and I've no problem with people wanting vengance as long as they're honest enought to say they want vengance and not B.S us with 'justice'. Revenge is a perfectly human desire.

However capital punishment is NOT a deterent and never has been for the simple reason that no criminal ever REALLY expects to get caught (in the same way no smoker really expects to get lung cancer). Even Albert Pierrepoint agrees with me on this.

Posted on 12 Apr 2010 19:36:08 BDT
Adam Jackson says:
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Posted on 13 Apr 2010 12:53:59 BDT
drifter542 says:
The death penalty is a pretty final solution to the problem of murderers, but of course there is that slight niggle that someone innocent may be executed, but then again, they will be dead so they can't complain, can they. The other alternative of locking people up for x number of years is that it costs quite a lot of money and the prisoners generally have access to amenities that we poor saps in the outside world have to pay good money for or we don't get them. I suppose the amenities do stop the prisoners from killing each other, the prison officers and destroying the prisons, but it's still annoying.

Some years ago I read a novel by Phillip Kerr, called A Philosophical Investigation, set in the fairly near future. The sentence for murder in the novel was for the killer to be put in what was called a 'punitive coma', essentially being kept alive but unconscious for a specified number of years. That might be one solution the government could consider. It would keep the killers off the streets and without the added expense of all the present amenities they now enjoy.

Posted on 13 Apr 2010 16:20:21 BDT
Hi drifter542. Slight problem with that is that an intensive care bed costs about 10,000 a day. We do use medically induced comas as a form of medication and its eye wateringly expensive to do it. You get other side effects such as muscle wastage.... someone in a coma for a couple of years will have so little leg muscle they'll be unable to walk when they come out of it and will need yet more physio.

As an ex-soldier I've always liked the military prison system. Contrary to what you may think a military prison is like the reality is quite different. The army only sends soldiers it wishes to retain to military prison (those it doesn't want it discharges and they serve their sentence in civillian jail). The max sentence is 2 years. While there the regime is very like basic training... lots & lots of fitness training, cleaning, kit inspection and basic weapons training. Prisoners are kept very busy indeed and return to their units fitter than they went in. Re-offending rates are a fraction of those seen in civillian jails.

Posted on 13 Apr 2010 19:02:23 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Apr 2010 19:04:38 BDT
An objection to the death penalty voiced by more than one contributor here is that courts are not infallible, and now and then innocent people may be wrongly convicted and executed.

However, surely this objection is largely met if no one is executed for a single crime, however terrible, only those who have previously served a sentence for a serious crime who commit another one. E.g. execute a murderer if he has previous convictions involving serious violence.

One conviction may occasionally turn out to be a mistake (mix up in forensic evidence or whatever) but the chances that two or three convictions on separate occasions are all mistakes is remote, and the chances that society is better off without this person are high.

Even if you are generally of a liberal persuasion and believe that in many instances the criminal justice system should do more to rehabilitate rather than merely punish criminals, consider: surely public opinion is more likely to understand this, and not perceive it as 'do-gooders being soft on crime as usual' if it were accepted that we did execute serial rapists turned murderers, and other persistent serious violent criminals, who have already had their second or third chance.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Apr 2010 20:42:56 BDT
C. Gardiner says:
In case you didn't realise Russia is not left wing, and China is only left wing in some principles. Left wing is THE opposite from the authoritarian government of China, i.e. left wing means free media, free speech, little or no government etc. It would be more fitting to call china state sponsored capitalism, basically Stalinism.

Posted on 13 Apr 2010 20:48:28 BDT
C. Gardiner says:
drifter542 said "The death penalty is a pretty final solution to the problem..." I think you summed it up with final solution, the death penalty belongs to the brutal ages gone by and should be scrapped everywhere on the planet, we know of how many hundreds of thousands of people who have been killed and are still being killed every year for nothing because a totalitarian government took over and decided it didn't like certain sections of society. 1940s Germany being jewish was enough to deserve the death penalty, the idea that somehow it would be void of abuse by a government and justice system so corrupt that the majority of eligible voters won't even bother is absurd and quite frankly I can't believe were even having this discussion.

Posted on 13 Apr 2010 22:00:50 BDT
J Reed says:
Killing is wrong, no matter what. That is why we punish murderers. Therefore, the death penalty, which involves killing a human being, must also be wrong. It is impossible to attempt to logically argue for the death penalty without saying something like "when you kill somenone, you lose your rights." Which, I hope, no one here believes.

Posted on 13 Apr 2010 22:08:46 BDT
Conkerbot says:
When I hear about cases of evil... beings committing atrocious acts I sometimes think that they deserve to die - but it doesn't serve as a deterrent, it doesn't make society less violent, it doesn't allow for appeal and it removes societies moral high-ground.

Posted on 13 Apr 2010 23:27:00 BDT
Ulrome says:
No chance with the existing political system. Governments have abdicated their responsibilities one by one and the opinions of the public are of no interest to them. But of course we are a 'democracy' - just one that habitually ignores what the population wants and pleases itself instead.

The usual deterrent argument is a red herring. It's simply a question of public opinion. I have no idea whether it has a deterrent effect or not.
Have a public debate lasting six months during which all positions can be promoted and then take a vote in a binding referendum at the end of it. Simple isn't it ?

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Apr 2010 08:26:05 BDT
Hi J Reed. Obviously when you kill somone you lose many of your rights. The right to freedom for starters. That's a fairly major human right which we routinely remove, sometimes forever, as a punishment for commiting crime.

Nor is killing wrong, no matter what. For instance police marksmen are allowed to kill if nothing else will save lives (for instance a terrorist has started executing hostages. Legally there's no problem with then shooting the terrorist). International law accepts that uniformed soldiers can kill other uniformed soldiers too.

On a different point anti-death penalty protestors always use the 'what if the person is innocent' argument. I'll turn that on their head. What if the person clearly isn't? Take Fred West who videoed himself abusing his step kids the cemented them into his own basement or Peter Tobin who left bodies in virtually every house he lived in across the country? Tobin even pleaded guilty at the last trial. The 'what if they're innocent?' argument is moot for them.

Incidentally I'm anti-death penalty (just) as I think bringing it back would cause more problems than it solves but I would have no moral problem with executing a select band of prisoners either. I'd be interested to hear the arguments as to why someone like Peter Tobin should be kept alive at the cost of 100,000 a year when that money could be used for so much good (for instance 4 nurses a year)

Posted on 16 Apr 2010 16:18:30 BDT
Ulrome.... sadly not that simple because too many people are very, very stupid. Its why we've adopted the parliamentary system we have rather than the Athenian style democracy you describe. On single issues most people will vote based on whatever the tabloids tell them rather than consider the long term implications. For instance I'd suggest a referendum on 'should we half council tax' would be overwhelmingly YES, without any idea of how the bin man gets paid when you slash the council budget.

If the Bulger case shows us nothing else it should be that the tabloids would happily have us execute kids... not even China does that. It should be a big warning against giving the power to set punishments to the mob.

Posted on 16 Apr 2010 21:59:55 BDT
Last edited by the author on 18 Apr 2010 00:06:42 BDT
Ulrome says:
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In reply to an earlier post on 19 Apr 2010 12:19:36 BDT
We're probably in agreement on that!

Personally I've always wanted a system where you have to pay 1 a year in income tax in order to qualify for the vote. Its always struck me as entirely wrong that people who pay nothing at all in to the system are allowed the same say on how the money is spent as those who pay tens of thousands in tax.

Posted on 19 Apr 2010 13:39:32 BDT
Damaskcat says:
Except that everyone will pay some indirect tax - however poor they are I think.

Posted on 19 Apr 2010 14:50:23 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 19 Apr 2010 14:51:21 BDT]
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Discussion in:  politics discussion forum
Participants:  103
Total posts:  534
Initial post:  11 Apr 2010
Latest post:  2 Dec 2012

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