Kids in coffins

Kids on death row, I don’t like it.

It says so in the Bible so it’s okay!


Kids on death row? That just… sad. Even if they do somethign horrible, seems like they should get a chance to grow up and change.

The Catholic Church is actually against the death penalty.

There is no difference between executing a highly developed 16 year old and a mentally undeveloped 18 year old. Most arguments for abolishing the juvenile death penalty rely on studies finding that brains continue to mature after age 17. This is an inane argument, willfully blind to the fact that brains change from birth through death, and that people generally become tamer and more disciplined with age. I could just as well argue, “25 year olds should not be executed, because around age 30, they will begin to slow down, and become less impulsive and dangerous. Why not just imprison them till then?” If the only goal of the death penalty is to deter the offender, then certainly, prison time works just as well.

The real purpose, of course, is general deterrence. Prison for life is a daunting sentence, but for the sort of person who commits life offenses, it comes as a relatively soft blow. A gang member who goes on little food and less that is healthy, lives in filth, has “friends” that thrive on cruelty, and must risk his life trafficking drugs or robbing stores to get his money, does not lose so much when he goes to prison. In fact, his life and health are probably safer in prison than outside, and the average workday is only six hours. It is a dismal life for the likes of Bernie Madoff, and the threat of prison certainly deters business-types, but for violent street criminals, the fall is hardly so far.

This is the value of a death penalty looming in the background. In the United States, it is employed so rarely, and the procedure is so unwieldy and expensive, that it would be cheaper to simply imprison a capital offender for life. But for the most dangerous criminals, knowing that if they go one step too far, they may be put to death – for murdering two victims instead of one, or raping and then murdering, or murdering a minor – the death penalty is the only powerful deterrence available. The U.S. puts to death about fifty people every year. The chances of getting capital punishment are absurdly small, even for the worst offenders. On the other hand, in states like Texas, where it is common knowledge that the death penalty is employed, there is real evidence of deterrence.

Given that only aggravated murderers can be constitutionally put to death, that every defendant gets multiple trials that last years, and that evidence shows that less murders, robberies and serious felonies happen as a result, I think the death penalty is warranted and has real merit. I do not see why a mentally developed 17 year old constitutes a special case. Perhaps an unusually juvenile 17 year old does not deserve the death penalty, but that is already a factor that courts must consider. A teen killer may mature and become less dangerous, just as a killer in his twenties, or thirties, or forties. That is no reason to give 16-17 year old killers immunity.

But as long as people mistake their epicene impulses for enlightenment, maintaining blind faith that the death penalty is outmoded, blaming its existence on misguided fundamentalists, I suppose there can be no reasonable discussion on this.

i am very much against the death penelty

No there can not be; the death penalty is nothing more than state sanctioned murder. Also I was referring to the fellow in the video whose entire reason for the death penalty was that it was in the bible.


Why not put them in a chain gang and force them to work eighteen hours a day instead? That’d be a lot more productive. If you kill them they’ll be dead, and the dead cannot feel remorse; and to kill them you employ a prohibitively expensive procedure that is no more effective and only slightly more humane to than a guillotine, so you can’t even argue economy and efficiency. You could argue deterrence, yes, but really, how much of a deterrence is it to the sort of people who get the Death Penalty?

Except the bible and many other holy books explicitly say “thou shalt not kill” as one of the defining rules of the religion. Even a soldier becomes a sinner if they have to kill for their country. As do executioners. The whole “just following orders” defense doesn’t work, otherwise we should offer all of the Nazi War criminals amnesty/pardons (even posthumously) because they used the exact same defense.

Chain gangs aren’t looked upon well in the USA because it’s free labour, therefore “communist”. Though I’d agree with you that they are far more productive. Put them to work fixing or building things unpaid for 20 or so years while giving them educational resources to learn a trade. It’s better than killing them.

To be honest, even if incarcerated young, it would be far less expensive to just keep them alive in jail than to give them the death penalty. That’s one of the major arguements against it in my book.

It’d be cheaper if we just shot them.

True. Sadly, the one thing I do agree with on the Death Penalty is the right to appeal, all the way to the highest court possible.

I don’t know of any legal challenges to chain gangs, and I know they were re-introduced briefly in the 90s, but I’m willing to bet that eighteen hour a day forced chain gang labor would be likely to be struck down as cruel and unusual. XWing might know more about that for I assume he has had CrimPro.

As for your concern about deterrence, Nul, you’re making a fallacious argument. Deterrence does not seek to eliminate crime entirely. Rather, deterrence is better suited to lower the likelihood that crime will be committed. Yes, there are still murders despite the fact that doing so can mean death. However, what XWing pointed out was that in states which have actively used death sentence paradigms, there appears to be a lower rate of crime warranting death. The argument then goes that because there are lower crime rates, it DOES deter those that would get death. It just doesn’t deter all of them.

I’ve heard data to the opposite, of states with laws warranting death getting more people committing crimes that apply to it. Of course, politicians on either side like to make up data to support every claim they make. I’m willing to bet the answer lies in the middle.

I thought I heard the prison systems were getting full. Everyday in the newspaper I read about offenders getting slapped on the wrist and less-than minimum time in prison --even repeated offenders. The city doesn’t have the money to put up new prisons around here. As soon as the prisons get full, then what can they honestly start doing?

Send them all to Australia?

My dad talked about the time he spent teaching in a Catholic private school. He once asked his students to write a persuasive argument either for or against the death penalty.
Most of his students were against it. The reason being that it was too nice to the convicted.

I was arrested for a felony and convicted of a misdemeanor with a 200 dollar fine

On the other hand, if one thinks prisons should aim at rehabilitation -if not why should courts allow for extenuative factors as long as guilt is ascertained?-, the death penalty absolutely fails on that front, as it promotes a punitive/deterring view . Furthermore, granting to the State the power to take one of its subjects’ life can be denied on liberal, anarchistic, Christian and humanistic grounds.

If a prosecutor seeks the death sentence and the defendant is found guilty, the options are generally “death” or “life without parole.” Neither one allows the rehabilitation of that criminal. These criminals wouldn’t have a chance to rehabilitate anyway.

You could argue life without parole should be banned too. Let’s say the maximum sentence were 50 years. A 25 year old multiple-murderer gets 50 years without parole. When he comes out and doesn’t commit any crimes, can you really call that “rehabilitation”? Whether or not he was persuaded to be a better person, the fact that he’s a weak and worn out 75 year old would obliterate both his impulse and ability to commit murder. Is there some deep merit in preserving our worst criminals to old age, so they can try to start over in an utterly unfamiliar world as old men?

Furthermore, granting to the State the power to take one of its subjects’ life can be denied on liberal, anarchistic, Christian and humanistic grounds.
These are all buzzwords, not arguments. I find that people invent concepts like “human dignity,” claim without evidence that it exists in some metaphysical way, then argue that certain behavior offends human dignity and thus should stop. This mind-boggling approach to morality is totally circular and illegitimate.

To put it differently, you can argue against behavior (1) on principle, if you have evidence that those principles matter, but the only way principles matter is if (2) violating those principles has negative effects. Saying the death penalty offends human dignity is step one. Step two is showing why that matters. Therefore “liberal, anarchistic, Christian and humanistic” arguments ultimately must be “practical” arguments anyway.

They just shut down the prison in the town where I grew up. They let more than 80% of the prisoners go home with a ankle bracelet to monitor them.