ludichris wrote:I actually support the death penalty for extreme crimes and if it is more cost effective for the tax payer it is a viable option. Who would want to live next to a released serial killer or child rapist for example?
I personally hold the view these days that the #1 priority for prisons should be rehabilitation of offenders - for "extreme crimes" (by the way, what would you deem an "extreme crime"?), and by exception, I would support a whole life sentence.
I can't get on board with the "eye for an eye" view - I posted this earlier this year on this subject:
The death penalty is the ultimate proof that an "eye for an eye" doesn't work when it comes to deterring serious crime.
The US is probably the best example of a developed nation whereby an "eye for an eye" just does not work. This is completely off topic but anyway - I've just spent some time looking at the capital punishment rates per state. 31 US states have capital punishment in place for murder:
The highest murder rate of those 31 is Louisiana with 10.3 murders per 100,000. The lowest is New Hampshire with 0.9. No other state that allows for the death penalty has a murder rate of less than 2.0. The median murder rate for all 32 states is 4.5 per 100,000.
Of the 19 remaining states that do not allow capital punishment for murder, the highest murder rate is in Maryland with 6.1, with the lowest murder rate of 1.6 in Vermont, Maine and Minnesota. A further 2 states have a murder rate of less than 2.0 per 100,000 - Hawaii at 1.8 and Iowa at 1.9. The median murder rate is 3.1 per 100,000.
The murder rate in the UK is 0.94 per 100,000 - so significantly less than the US (the figures above are 2014 figures). And we haven't used the death penalty since 1964. There's a tonne of other factors to consider of course and I don't presume to make a case based on numbers alone but is telling that even in the US - states that use the death penalty have a 45% higher rate of murder than those that don't.
The death penalty does not solve crime - the death penalty is an emotional response to a sense of loss; it might gratify the victim or the victims family/friends for about 5 minutes but it wouldn't solve their problems. Their personal loss would still be there.
Resources should be invested in prevention, education, social support, training and when somebody does wrong, in punishment also. But that punishment, except in exceptional circumstances (i.e. the most serious crimes where no rehabilitation is foreseen), should be as much about rehabilitation & reintegration and trying to understand why they did wrong as it is about depriving them of their freedoms, family and lives.
But society has to accept that a criminal can be reintegrated first.