Friday, December 22, 2006
Capirtal Punishment ... again....
Due to a recent screw up in an execution of someone in Texas by lethal injection, the question of how ethical capital punishment has come up again.
The other day I was talking to some friends and I was asked "do these people deserve to live?"
My response was "possibly not, but I don't think the government should be in teh business of killing people" or something to that effect.
I have given it more thought, in my opinion actors don't deserve to make millions and millions of dollars for being in films, that dosen't mean I think that the money should be taken away from them.
It seams to me if you are not a religious person, then death is simply the end, and therefore killing someone actually means you let them off the hook of having to live with the guilt of what they have done.
If you are a religious person then you believe that there is an "ULTIMATE JUSTICE SYSTEM" where wether they are executed or not in the end they will face an eternity of damnation.
I have heard it argued a reason for the death penalty is so that the guilty person dosen't have time to grow and repent so that they would be saved from damnation. Any christian who uses this arguement is sick, and dosen't truely understand their faith, to try to cheat God of a truely repentant soul would be in his eyes a biggest crimes.
Ok now I have the theological out of the way, it's time for some hard statistics.
As the chart above shows, States in the US that have the death penalty tend to have much higher murder rates than those that don't.
From the second chart you can see that European countries that do not have the death penalty have much lower murder rates than the US.
According to the FBI as the number of executions decrease in the US, the murder rate also goes down... The murder rate is dropping more in the states that perform the fewest exectuions, and are remaining steady in the states that continue to perform executions at a high rate.
The death penalty is also not cost effective.
Is is estimated that Florida would save $51 million each year by punishing all first-degree murderers with life in prison without parole.
Florida spent average of $3.2 million per execution from 1973 to 1988
Total cost of Indiana's death penalty is 38% greater than the total cost of life without parole sentencesA study by Indiana's Criminal Law Study Commission found this to be true, assuming that 20% of death sentences are overturned and resentenced to life. (Indiana Criminal Law Study Commission, January 10, 2002)
Then there is the obvious arguments about how humane it is, and how many people who were innocent are executed, I have talked about this stuff before, so I won't repeat myself.
So I come back to the question I was asked... "Do these people deserve to live?"
Maybe not, but with the social, financial, and ethical implications and costs, can we really afford to execute them?