Ending death penalty could save US millions: study

news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20091020/ts_alt_afp/usexecutionjustice

This is very much in line with non-partisan studies on the subject, including those done by the very much pro-death penalty Department of Justice.

Imagine how much the government would save if they just turned them loose.

As I said before I am against the death penalty however until the State can lock a murder up for the rest of their life with no possibility of being released so they will murder again I say abolish the death penalty.

BUT!

No country has done this!

So we must keep the death penalty and put these lowlife maddog murderers down!

Here is a good example of why we still need capital punishment:

**Kenneth McDuff **was first convicted for raping and murdering three teenagers on August 6, 1966 — Robert Brand, Mark Dunman, and Edna Louis Sullivan — a crime that became popularly known as the Broomstick Murders. His partner, 17-year-old Roy Dale Green, was sentenced to four months house arrest and five years probation. Although McDuff was sentenced to death, the sentence was overturned when the U.S. Supreme Court abolished capital punishment in 1972. His sentence was subsequently commuted to life in prison with the possibility of parole

As a result of overcrowding in Texas prisons, McDuff was paroled in 1989. After being released, he got a job at a gas station making $4 an hour and took a class, at Texas State Technical College in Waco. One year after he left his job at a gas station and dropped out of TSTC, he began killing again. Upon release McDuff was arrested on a series of parole violations, but he was never locked up for any substantial length of time until he was arrested for the murder of a 22-year-old Texan woman, Melissa Ann Northrup in 1992. He was implicated in at least three other murders, including the abduction and murder of Colleen Reed from an Austin carwash in December 1991… [FONT=Arial]en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Allen_McDuff[/FONT]

Known victims of this murdering &@#*&%

http://www.garylavergne.com/mcduffvictims.htm

Also let’s not forget the Texas Seven who escaped prison and murdered a police officer!

A few weeks ago the state of North Carolina learned that 20 convicted murderers and rapists were going to have to be released despite having been given life sentences. Because of a quirk in the law, it turned out that a “life” sentence actually meant 80 years, which, because of good behavior and other excuses, meant that they had already served their time and would have to be set free. I’m sure North Carolinians are thrilled.

Ender

This isn’t news.

The death penalty has never been shown to have a genuine deterrent effect and has always been known to cost more than life imprisonment without parole.

Non-sequitor examples aside, there is simply no good reason for the death penalty - except that “I feel good at the end of Arnie movies when the subhuman bad guy gets blown away.”

It’s time we let go of that last reason and recognize that such portrayal of sinners in movies is not realistic. Murderers may never be trustworthy enough to let out on the street again, but we can contain them reliably and cost-effectively.

I’m not hugely anti-death penalty, but for me I would probably prefer it to life in prison, so I think it’s probably too merciful. I only think it should be used for the worst of the worst - people who have deliberately killed more than on person and who pose a risk in prison due to such violence. I also think there should have to be extremely concrete, not circumstantial, evidence. I just don’t see the point of being bloodthirsty about it. If someone is a danger, they should be imprisoned, or killed if they pose a danger in prison. But “justice” isn’t really justice - executing someone doesn’t bring the dead person back, make the murderer sorry, or deter anyone, so it’s really just about satisfying our desires for revenge that are understandable but not productive or healthy.

The primary end of all punishment is justice, and the state has the obligation to make the severity of the punishment commensurate with the severity of the crime.

… executing someone doesn’t bring the dead person back…

Neither will prison but you advocate incarcerating them anyway. Yours is a statement against all punishment, not just executions.

… make the murderer sorry…

Rehabilitation is a proper objective of punishment and for some the death penalty causes them to address their deeds in a way that prison does not. It seems to have done just that for Timothy McVeigh.

… or deter anyone…

It seems odd to argue that deterrence works for every form of punishment except the most severe. This is an easy claim to make but a difficult one to support.

… so it’s really just about satisfying our desires for revenge

Inasmuch as the Church supported capital punishment for nearly all of its first two millennia, suggesting that she did so because she couldn’t suppress her desire for revenge is probably not a strong argument. The reason she did so was because of a desire for justice (not “justice”). That and the fact that she has always accepted the command in Genesis that: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.

Ender

I don’t claim to be scholar, but I’ve personally seen several account of studies done between similar communities/demographics in states that DO have the death penaly versus states that didn’t have it. Consistently, the studies showed that there was NO reduction in murder rates in the death penalty states compared to the life prison ones. The pro-death penalty advocates are the ones who wave hands and have no scientific data to back their claims.

The Church does not inherently oppose the death penalty. It is not intrinsically evil. It IS supposed to be a last resort when there are no other practical means for protecting the innocent populace. It is only fairly recently in history that governments have been strong and consistent enough and technology has made it practical to protect the populace without resorting to the death penalty. In centuries past, long term prison sentences were inherently a death sentence due to the nature of prisons. Not so much so today (though surely still a risky and unpleasant place).

I find it strange that so many catholics trust the Church to be their moral guide on matters they already agree with, but so willingly disregard her clear instructions when it requires a submission of the will. What’s up with that?

Catechism of the Catholic Church

**2266 **The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to people’s rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation. Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and protecting people’s safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of the guilty party.

2267 Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of **the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. **
If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”

How bad is the Death Penalty Information Center?: A response to the DPIC’s "Smart of Crime: Reconsidering the Death Penalty"
Dudley Sharp, contact info below

-The DPIC cost reviews are, extremely, misleading.

   1) A representative example, is their highly inaccurate description of death penalty costs in North Carolina. In reality, the study shows that life without parole is considerably more expensive than the death penalty. (1) This is typical of DPIC and infects their entire report. 

   2) If all relevant states wanted to improve death penalty efficiency, they would embrace the Virginia model: executions occur within 5-7 years, 65% of those sentenced to death have been executed and only 15% of their death penalty cases are overturned - a protocol that would be much less expensive than life without parole. (2) In a bad economy, most of us look at improving efficiency, the DPIC only looks at highly inefficient, irresponsible death penalty systems, or mischaracterizes cost studies. Standard, for them. 
  • It is likely that the police chiefs are unaware that there have been, at least, 16 recent studies, inclusive of their defenses, which have found for the deterrent effect of the death penalty. All prosepcts of a negative outcome deter some. There is no exception, inclusive of the most serious criminal sanction, the death penalty. (3)

  • This newest DPIC report is in keeping with their well known penchant for misinformation, so well documented in their most significant disinformation campaign, that of the 138 “exonerated” inmates from death row. (4)

  • The death penalty SHOULD be at the bottom of police chief’s priorities, with regard to reducing violent crime, because capital murders represent, thankfully and by far, the fewest of all the violent crimes that police must deal with.

  • But, the DPIC should ask police chiefs if they believed the death penalty was appropriate for murdering police. I bet about 90% do.


(1) Duke (North Carolina) Death Penalty Cost Study: Let’s be honest
prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2009/06/duke-north-carolina-death-penalty-cost.html

(2) "Cost Savings: The Death Penalty"
homicidesurvivors.com/2009/05/07/cost-savings-the-death-penalty.aspx

(3) a) Articles on death penalty deterrence
cjlf.org/deathpenalty/DPDeterrence.htm

   b) "Deterrence and the Death Penalty: A Reply to Radelet and Lacock"

homicidesurvivors.com/2009/07/02/deterrence-and-the-death-penalty-a-reply-to-radelet-and-lacock.aspx

   c) "Death Penalty, Deterrence & Murder Rates: Let's be clear"

prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2009/03/death-penalty-deterrence-murder-rates.html

    d) "The Death Penalty: More Protection for Innocents" 

homicidesurvivors.com/2009/07/05/the-death-penalty-more-protection-for-innocents.aspx

(4) The 130 (now 138) death row “innocents” scam
homicidesurvivors.com/2009/03/04/fact-checking-issues-on-innocence-and-the-death-penalty.aspx

So we must keep the death penalty and put these lowlife maddog murderers down!

And when we accidentally kill an innocent person…what?

Are you suggesting that mistakenly imprisoning an innocent man for life is actually any more moral than mistakenly putting him to death? There are many men who have been innocent, tried and convicted and then spent their years in jail until they died. In my mind innocent is innocent but we can only do what we can do to minimize the fact that a very small number of innocent people get convicted and locked up. Some forever, a very few are put to death. Its always wrong but we can’t throw out the whole system of justice for those rare exceptions.

Look at the news, just yesterday a black woman recanted her claims that she was gang raped by a group of white guys (all of whom are now in prison). She said she made up the whole story to get back at her boyfriend :eek:

Now I oppose the death penalty BUT I have to admit that as long as we release dangerous criminals back onto our streets I’d rather we keep the death penalty on the books, and perhaps occasionally use it, than let the criminals back into society to prey on the innocents.

See my Death Penalty Information Center post, re murder rates and death penalty.

What’s up with that is that the Church has a lot of problems:

Some thoughts: The Death Penalty & the Catholic Catechism

The foundation of the death penalty is found in Genesis and is, based, specifically, upon “shedding blood”.

The Catechism got rid of the"bloodless means" language that was, originally, in the Catechism and which was, specifically, referenced by Pope John Paul II(PJPII) in Evangelium Vitae (EV) in the context of the non amended Catechism.

Context suggests “bloodless means” was removed in the amended Catechism because of its obvious and embarrassing conflict with the Genesis passage.

The Catechism was amended, allegedly and specifically, to insert PJPII’s death penalty comments within EV, yet “bloodless means” was specifically removed from the original Catechism, even though PJPII referenced it in EV.

It appears that the amendment was used as a convenient method to remove the improper “bloodless means”, even though an amendment, truly based upon PJPII’s EV, would have required that it remain.

The 2267 amendment replaced it with "If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person. "

“Non-lethal” is simply a conspicuous way to avoid using “bloodless means”, but it is the exact same meaning and therefore, irreconcilably, contradicts Genesis.

Catechisms should not have such nonsense within them.

In addition, the “more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person.” are a humanist base, not a biblical one.

Biblically, theologically and traditionally, the death penalty, certainly, is in keeping with “the common good and with the dignity of the human person.”

Even humanistically, we can see how execution is more in keeping with the common good and more supportive of human dignity.

More on that, below.
In 2265 we have “Legitimate defense can be not only be a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm.”

To repeat: “the common good” “requires” that an unjust aggressor be rendered “unable” to cause harm."

With individual murderers such requirement is only met with the death penalty. Only dead murderers are incapable of causing harm - a rational truism.

In 2266: “The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to people’s rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good.”

The requirement is that the “common good” “requires” an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm." Again,with individual murderers such requirement is only met with the death penalty.

2266 continues: “Legitimate public authority has the right and the duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense.”

Biblically, we know the death penalty is proportionate to murder.

2266 continues: “Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation. Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and protecting people’s safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of the guilty party.”

Expiation, though a gift from God, must be seized by the guilty party. It is arguable, as per Aquinas and Augustine, that the death penalty is better apt to provide that correction and is, therefore, more in tune with the eternal aspects of the wrongdoers salvation. (See also, paragraph, numbered 3, within Reference (1), below)

From 2267: “the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.”

That is, most certainly, not the traditional teaching of the Church. Such teachings include , among others, that when committing murder, the offending party has forfeit their right to live. (Reference 1)

In addition, there is a major conflict between 1) “the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.” and 2) the “common good” “requires” an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm."

(1) states that use of the death penalty is just “if it is the only ‘possible’ way of defending human lives against the unjust aggressor”

contd

contd

but

(2) “requires” the death penalty as it is the only method of rendering an unjust aggressor unable to cause harm.

(1) deals with “possibilities” (2) with “requirements”.

In addition to the fact that “the only possible way” has virtually no support, requirements rule over possibilities.

This obvious conflict shouldn’t exist within the Catechism and shows how poorly considered this topic was.

To make more of a mess, 2267 continues: "Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm–without definitively taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself–the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity ‘are rare, if not practically non-existent.’ (NT: John Paul II, Evangelium vitae 56)

More of the “possibilities” nonsense, connected to the “possibilities” addressed in (1), above.

It is such a poorly considered prudential judgement as to negate its “prudential” moniker. All jails, all prisons, all cities, all states, all countries have widely varying degrees of prison security. Even in the US murderers escape, murder in prison and are given such leeway as to murder, again, because of mercy, leniency and irresponsibility to murderers, who are released to causes catastrophic losses to the innocent when they are harmed and murdered by these repeat offenders.

Absent from the discussion is the harm to “innocent” murder victims and potential murder victims and the effects on their earthly and eternal lives.

Again, the only way to, humanly, make a criminal “incapable of doing harm” is to execute them. Rationally, there is no other way.

Then there is this: “without definitively taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself”.

The Church is, hereby, stating that the death penalty is “taking away from him (the executed party) the possibility of redeeming himself”.

The death penalty is God invoked. The Catechism is stating that this God invoked sanction takes away the possibility of redemption. Think about that. There is nothing to defend such a claim, in such a context.

All of our sins have us die “early”. Is there a case, whereby God has erased the possibility of our redemption, solely because of our earthly and “early” deaths? I suggest that such an interpretation is, in context, flatly, against God’s message and cannot stand.

The universal blessing that God gives us is that we all have the same opportunity of redeeming ourselves “before we die”. The death penalty does not take that away anymore than does a car wreck, cancer, old age or any other “early” death, meaning all deaths, because of our sins. We all die “early” because of our sins. Therefore, the Catechism, wrongly finds that all “early” deaths negate the possibility of our redemption. Absurd, if not worse.

In God’s perfection, we suffer an “early” death, because of our sins. The Catechism wrongly tells that our “early” deaths takes away the possibility of our redemption. In God’s perfection, that would seem absurd.

Furthermore, a unique benefit of the death penalty is that the offender knows the day of their death and therefore has a huge advantage over the rest of us and, most certainly over the innocent murder victim.

“. . . a secondary measure of the love of God may be said to appear. For capital punishment provides the murderer with incentive to repentance which the ordinary man does not have, that is a definite date on which he is to meet his God. It is as if God thus providentially granted him a special inducement to repentance out of consideration of the enormity of his crime . . . the law grants to the condemned an opportunity which he did not grant to his victim, the opportunity to prepare to meet his God. Even divine justice here may be said to be tempered with mercy.” Carey agrees with Saints Augustine and Aquinas, that executions represent mercy to the wrongdoer: (p. 116). Quaker biblical scholar Dr. Gervas A. Carey. A Professor of Bible and past President of George Fox College, Essays on the Death Penalty, T. Robert Ingram, ed., St. Thomas Press, Houston, 1963, 1992

St. Thomas Aquinas: “The fact that the evil, as long as they live, can be corrected from their errors does not prohibit the fact that they may be justly executed, for the danger which threatens from their way of life is greater and more certain than the good which may be expected from their improvement. They also have at that critical point of death the opportunity to be converted to God through repentance. And if they are so stubborn that even at the point of death their heart does not draw back from evil, it is possible to make a highly probable judgement that they would never come away from evil to the right use of their powers.” Summa Contra Gentiles, Book III, 146.

References

  1. Death Penalty Support: Modern Catholic Scholars
    prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2009/07/death-penalty-support-modern-catholic.html

  2. Pope John Paul II: Prudential Judgement and the death penalty
    homicidesurvivors.com/2007/07/23/pope-john-paul-ii-his-death-penalty-errors.aspx

Protection is a valid objective of punishment but it is a secondary one; the decision to use capital punishment should be based on the primary end, which is justice.

It is only fairly recently in history that governments have been strong and consistent enough and technology has made it practical to protect the populace without resorting to the death penalty.

There is great deal of debate about whether or not this is true but there is no doubt that a judgment on this issue is nothing more than opinion; it is certainly not a moral judgment.

I find it strange that so many catholics trust the Church to be their moral guide on matters they already agree with, but so willingly disregard her clear instructions when it requires a submission of the will. What’s up with that?

What’s up is that the Church’s position on the death penalty is anything but clear, a point made by Cardinal Ratzinger when he wrote in 2004 that “There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty.”

Section 2267 of the Catechism is an absolute muddle. The first paragraph says that the “traditional teaching of the Church” allows the State to "have recourse to*[FONT=&quot][FONT=Arial] the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives [/FONT][/FONT]of human beings effectively*." This statement is quite simply untrue. The traditional teaching of the Church had never tied the use of the death penalty to the defense of society; this was an innovation JPII created in 1995.

Paragraph three is a judgment about the condition of modern penal systems that I discussed above. It is an opinion, nothing more.

Paragraph two talks about the protection of society and the “dignity of the human person” but it makes no reference at all to the obligation of justice which, as it is the primary objective of punishment, is surely more important than the secondary objective of protection.

Regarding the dignity of man, it is precisely because of that dignity - because man is made in the image of God - that killing a human being demands nothing less than the life of the murderer. This is the traditional teaching of the Church - and she has not backed away from it even today, despite what 2267 says.

Ender

  1. And how do you define “justice?” An eye for an eye? The purpose of Justice is restorative. It is no coincidence that Jesus taught us to call God Father. A Father punishes his child because he wants that child to learn to be virtuous and to learn that vice leads to destruction. A Father’s punishment has the PRIMARY purpose of instructing the misbehaving child, not to inflict commensurate damage on the child. I would suggest that your idea of justice is more rooted in John Calvin than Jesus Christ.

  2. Historic catholic teaching on the death penalty is silent on the matter because society and technology simply had not presented the issue yet. It’s not reasonable for you to expect the Church to be precient about future civilizational capabilities like this. Why WOULD teachings from hundreds of years ago say, “well this is acceptable only until it becomes feasible to indefinately imprison them.” Future telling isn’t one of the Church’s graces. Once civilization DID develop the capability to humanely imprison dangerous offenders, the underlying principles needed to be examined and this is what the pope came up with. Remember, that’s HIS job! It really isn’t much different from the whole controversy over the contraceptive pill. The inventor was a catholic who thought he’d come up with something that would be morally OK because it simply harnessed the ‘natural’ hormones present in the woman’s body and made them available to command. Paul VI had to go back the the principles beneath catholic teaching against withdrawal and condoms to figure out how to evaluate chemical suppression of fertility. And again, he did his job.

I’ve yet to find a catholic teaching that I disagree with once I thought about it long enough. Hard yes. Wrong, no. No buts!

I am afraid anyone that thinks the US legal system has anything to do with justice or right and wrong is going to be very disappointed when they realize how it is actually run.

I said I supported protecting the public from violent offenders, so I support imprisoning them for that reason, and to deter. I just don’t think the death penalty is that much more of a deterrent or keeps the public that much more safe.

Amen! and I think the death penalty should be expanded to include rapists and sex offenders. They should be given the choice- swift execution or castration.
This I believe after hearing yet again another 7 year old girl found in a trash dumpster.
When I was seven you could walk home from school safely. Now you can’t let your kids out of your sight.

Excellent post!

As always, we must ask, what would Jesus do? I seem to remember “go and sin no more” and “neither will I condemn you”; I’m having a hard time coming up with instances where He picked up the first stone…

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