Saturday, 28 April 2007

Do we need the death penalty?

(Ed: One of my 'news alerts' returned this story. I present it for thought and maybe a discussion starter.)

[...] Maryland has executed five convicted murderers since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. In 2005, the state recorded 522 murders. With a population of 5.6 million, that meant a homicide rate of 9.9 per 100,000 people.

Virginia has executed 98 convicted murderers since 1976. In 2005, it recorded 461 homicides in a population of 7.6 million, 6.1 per 100,000 -- nearly 40 percent lower than Maryland's.

The District of Columbia has no death penalty. Its last execution occurred in 1957. In 2005, the District endured 195 murders, 35.4 per 100,000, a rate more than five times higher than Virginia's. Read more

1 comment:

Daniel Roe said...

Q
Does not "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" leave the possibility of executing someone wrongly convicted – should not life imprisonment be preferred?
A
Exactly – my view is that if we could guarantee that people were correctly convicted then people convicted should be executed
Q
Hmm – but I dare say some folks will argue that life doesn’t work because in practice – well, because it simply isn’t life – I mean you could be sent down for 25 years and on parole in 15 years.
A
As I understand it when the death penalty was abolished in the UK, the deal was that people who would have been executed would instead be locked up for life – that is the principle
Q
The problem is that the courts . . .
A
Exactly – got it in one – the problem is the courts – because the judges seem to be on another planet don't invalidate the principle of life meaning life