Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Capital Punishment

The use of capital punishment is a continuing debate across the nation.  We used to hang people, then we went to the electric chair or the gas chamber, then we moved to lethal injection. 

Louisiana moved away from the electric chair in 1993.Nowadays, the drug companies don't want to sell us the pharmaceuticals necessary for lethal injection.  The last person executed in Louisiana was in 2010.  Yesterday, the state senate rejected a bid to end the use of capital punishment in Louisiana.

I've heard the arguments on both sides, and many of them are compelling.    I see both sides of the issue.  But, what w have right now is a de-facto ban, because the drug companies won't sell us what we need and the legislature won't change to law to make it easier to either; 1)  obtain the drugs, or 2) change the method of execution.  So, the argument is going nowhere.  That is probably politically expedient.

I agree that the death penalty as it stands right now is not a deterrent to crime.  A penalty that you are not willing to use is not a penalty at all.  And, I agree that maintaining a death row is horribly expensive.  But, then again, keeping a person in prison for many decades is also horribly expensive.  Yet, we have predators among us,ad prisons are a necessary part of our society.

The issues are complicated ad the answers aren't easy.


Daddy Hawk said...

I’ve always been puzzled by the argument that the death penalty is somehow a deterrent to crime. I can’t say for sure if I read it somewhere or this is just my own idle speculation, but it would stand to reason that those in prison were not deterred by their sentences from doing what they did if they even thought about it in the first place. I could give examples, but that is not my point. To me, the death penalty serves as the last line of defense for public safety. What it says is that this person has committed a crime so reprehensible that they are beyond rehabilitation and must be executed in order to protect the rest of society from the possibility that they may commit another heinous crime again.

DaveS said...

Building from Daddy Hawk's post, the question that I came up with is whether there is really any substantive difference, in the case that a person has committed a crime so reprehensible that they are beyond hope for rehabilitation, between a life sentence and the death sentence. How does society as whole benefit by incarcerating someone for the rest of their natural life rather than executing them? A life sentence is a pretty clear statement : "We do not want you living amongst us - ever again". A death sentence says the same thing but does not inherently carry the same long term cost burden that a life sentence does.

Les said...

There also is the attendent risk that in the future they will be let loose or escape.

Dave said...

I vaguely recall seeing somewhere that death penalty cases, due to the seemingly endless rounds of appeal after appeal after appeal, actual cost the state more (lawyer time isn't cheap) than it does to lock the average murderous turd up and throw away the key.