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Monday, August 28, 2017

On Capital Punishment - Part III

I firmly believe that every human being is ultimately responsible for their own actions. I also believe that human beings are social creatures, and in a Platonic way the whole of society is present within every person.

We are a collective.

According to this logic, every society that produces a murderer bears some responsibility for that murderer.

We can never disown our criminals. We have a collective responsibility for them, and that is why the death penalty is out of the question.

The death penalty is ritual murder.

Increasingly it is only justified on the grounds that it brings satisfaction to the victims of criminals.

The death penalty does not deter anything.

No-one has a right to this kind of satisfaction.

I grew up on the streets. I know many criminals. I know that that when people are involved in criminal life the last thing they are thinking about is the penalty that they will pay if they are caught.

They do not believe that they will be caught, or they do not care. They have no appreciation for the consequences of their actions.

Many studies have been published regarding the capital punishment system in America, pointing out its critical flaws. I find it amazing that a national moratorium on the death penalty has not been enacted.

Many reputable politicians, and thought leaders have called for such a moratorium, but not enough, they are only a minority.

Key issues of unfairness in cases involving the possibility of the death penalty involve the defendant having inadequate representation at trial, an inadequate appeals processes, inadequate sentencing alternatives for juries, and inadequate evidentiary requirements.

Statistics show that a disproportionate number of poor and minorities are ever even considered for the death penalty.

In America, poor people and minorities are more likely to be stopped by police, more likely to be arrested when stopped, more likely to be charged with a crime when arrested, more likely to remain in custody when charged with a crime while they await their trial. They are more likely to be found guilty, and more likely to receive the highest punishment, including the death penalty.

This disproportionate justice is not just reflected in our capital punishment system only, but in our system of criminal justice as a whole, in a prison population that is larger than any other prison population in the world.

This is a sad state of affairs and a stark indictment on our own society.

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