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THE DEATH PENALTY
by John Albert
In capital conviction cases, where the death penalty is invoked, the fundamental unfairness ...
The Death Penalty
THE DEATH PENALTY
by John Albert
In capital conviction cases, where the death penalty is invoked, the fundamental unfairness of the criminal justice system is especially evident. During the past century there have been at least 415 cases of wrongful capital punishment convictions as documented in the book, "In Spite of Innocence," by Michael Radelet, et al. These are only a sample of the cases among those where the miscarriage of justice has already been discovered and proven. The Economist Magazine reports that of the 5,000 cases since 1977 where the death sentence was imposed, 2,000 of those were overturned because of the incompetence of the defense counsel alone. There are no statistics of the total number of such miscarriages of justice. It is impossible to know the volume of undiscovered cases and the U.S. Department of Justice maintains no records of the known, proven cases.
One of the problems with the death penalty is that it is irreversible. Of the 415 cases of wrongful convictions cited above 23 people were proven not guilty too late, after their executions had already taken place. In 1993 the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the discovery of new evidence which might prove the innocence of a death row inmate is not to be considered a bar to execution. Once the sentence of death has been invoked it is more important to protect the system that produced the wrongful conviction than to correct an injustice and save a human life.
If the Congress were to draft legislation that would standardize the criteria for application of the death penalty based upon the manner in which the death penalty is currently applied it would specify the following requirements:
1) The defendant must be indigent (90% of the time).
2) The victim must be white (82% of the time).
3) The defendant must be black (53% of the time).
4) The defense counsel must be incompetent (40% of the time).
5) The prosecutor must be a sadist.
6) The defendant must be uneducated.
7) The jury must be unmerciful.
Imagine the sadistic malice of a killer who notifies its victims in advance that it will surely kill them sometime within the next ten years or so, in order that the victim shall contemplate its own pending death while incarcerated in prison awaiting this terrible, sure fate. Such a monster has never been seen except for the criminal justice system itself. Society should recognize that prosecutors who utilize the death penalty are such monsters.
It is commonly thought that only impartial, fair-minded and unbiased judges and juries impose the death penalty. That is not so. The death penalty is imposed solely by the prosecutor. It is then ratified by the jury and sometimes by the judge, but only the prosecutor has the power to make the decision to ask for the death penalty. Prosecutors are not necessarily always objective. They have conflicting concerns, political goals, being reelected or reappointed, advancing their careers and wanting to be seen as tough on crime. They generally believe in the moral justification of the death penalty. That bias alone raises questions about their ability to make rational, fair and unprejudiced decisions about the application of the death penalty.
Less than one percent of all murder convictions result in the death penalty and it is only the prosecutor that chooses which murderers are to receive that ultimate punishment. Any murderer, regardless of the viciousness of the crime, who pleads guilty is automatically saved from the death sentence. It is only those who protest their innocence and require the prosecutor to prove the case in court that are exposed to the death sentence. The prosecutor's decision as to whether to call for the death penalty or not is necessarily always arbitrary, capricious and biased. Prosecutors are not required to have the essential independent impartiality to make unbiased decisions. And they are not answerable to an impartial higher authority for their decisions. The power they wield is largely unchecked.
There are two outstanding examples of this abuse of prosecutorial power, one in Texas and the other in Pennsylvania where over 50% of the state's death penalty convictions come from one single county (Philadelphia) because of the bias of that local county prosecutor. In Texas 33% of the state's death penalty convictions are from Harris County (Houston) which has only 16% of the state population. Texas and Virginia are the two highest ranking states in the nation in death penalty sentences per capita and Texas has three times the death penalty convictions as Virginia. It is conclusive evidence of arbitrary, capricious and unequal justice.
The decision of the jury, whether or not to ratify the ultimate punishment of death, as requested by the prosecutor, is largely dependent upon the persuasiveness and demeanor of the prosecutor. Whether the prosecutors have actually proven the case for the punishment of death or not is not as critical as whether they have gained the confidence of the jurors. An ordinarily skillful prosecutor can motivate a jury to feel a rage against the defendant which can only be assuaged by a verdict of death. That is what many prosecutors conceive their job to be. Any prospective juror who holds the opinion that the death penalty is wrong is not allowed to serve on the jury.
We cannot claim that murderers are good prospects for psychiatric rehabilitation. They are certainly less so than other less violent criminals. There are some murderers who are so seriously psychotic that they are beyond hope of any remedial psychiatric treatment. They should never be released from custody. Some of those extreme cases receive wide attention in the media so we have the impression they are numerous. They are, however, a small percentage of murder cases. The existence of these hopelessly psychotic murderers does not justify giving up hope of helping other criminals. Even those cases, as hopeless as they are, do not justify the death penalty. Those cases are hopeless because the murderer is seriously mentally ill and we should not be about killing the mentally ill because we are incapable of treating their insanity.
The legal concept of "insanity" is altogether misguided. The line between sanity and insanity from a psychological point of view bears no relationship to the legal definition. The law has improperly redefined what should be a definitive psychological term in order to serve another purpose. The law claims that if the criminal knows the distinction between right and wrong they are legally sane. It may be legal but it is not reasonable to consider that a psychotic person may be legally sane. All criminal behavior is to some degree dangerously neurotic or psychotic and demonstrates a lack of complete mental health. It should be obvious that someone may be capable of distinguishing between legal right and wrong and still be mad or insane. Consider that at the instant when the murderer commits the crime, they may know that it is legally wrong but in that moment of madness and compulsion they also believe the murder to be fully justified. Under the influence of drugs or alcohol or in the throes of passion it is easy for the mentally ill murderer to become momentarily convinced of a justification for the act of murder. Then our courts decide that if the criminal is aware that the act is legally "wrong" they are therefore "sane" enough for society to wreak its ultimate vengeance upon them. Similarly, society has convinced itself that killing under the death penalty is justified because the murderer is legally sane. Society operates under the influence of a sadistic lust for blood vengeance just as wrong and unwholesome as the killer's compulsion.
As for the standard of equality before the law, of the more than 3,500 prisoners currently on "Death Row", 40% are black and a total of 53% are minorities. The treatment of African-Americans by our police, prosecutors and courts in our society is one of moral bankruptcy. For blacks the odds of receiving the death sentence are 3.9 times higher than for whites for the same crime according to a study by law professor, David Baldus, and statistician, George Woodworth. A black defendant convicted of killing a white victim is eleven times more likely to receive the death sentence than a white killer. Since 1988, 90% of all Federal Court death penalty prosecutions were against black defendants. All of the federal convicts approved for the death sentence by Attorney General, Janet Reno, during her term have been African-Americans. And going back to 1930, half of all death penalty executions since then have been blacks according to the ACLU. Capital punishment is aimed at black men. It is a remnant of slavery.
The death penalty as a method of fighting crime and protecting society does not work. A 1995 poll of police chiefs across the nation reveals that the majority do not believe the death penalty to be an effective law enforcement tool. There is no evidence that the death penalty deters crime. The evidence in fact indicates that the opposite is true. According to the FBI crime statistics the murder rate in some states that use the death penalty is almost twice that of some other states that do not execute. Between 1976 and 1985 almost twice as many police officers were killed in the line of duty in death penalty states as in non-death penalty states. "The death penalty actually hinders the fight against crime," according to Robert M. Morgenthau, District Attorney of Manhattan. The death penalty not only is ineffective in reducing crime, it actually encourages crime. A society which has so little regard for the human rights of its citizens and the welfare of the mentally ill encourages violence by cheapening the value of human life. Legal executions encourage crime by demonstrating society's approval of killing.
There is no rational justification for the death penalty. All of the arguments offered in support of the death penalty are facetious and unsupported by evidence. Of the average 25,000 murders committed each year less than 1% result in a death sentence. The sentence of death as applied in our court system is arbitrary and capricious, it is mean and cruel and vengeful. It is immoral and discriminatory, and worse, it is unwholesome for the mental health of society. It confers the status of legality on revenge killing. It is bloodthirsty and bloodthirsty laws make bloodthirsty people. It is an exercise in sadism requiring human sacrifice. To claim that it is useful to society to kill criminals is absurd. It is uncivilized and barbaric. There is no animal in nature that kills out of vengeance except for the human animal.
The United States ranks along with China, Iran and Iraq in its uncivilized use of the death penalty. No other country in the western world is so barbaric. Even in the rest of the world only Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen execute children under 18 years of age as does the United States. There are currently 69 juveniles on death row in the United States. As recently as 1989 the U. S. Supreme Court upheld the execution of 16 year old children. Twenty four states allow the execution of children under 18 years of age. Thirty eight states have capital punishment. The United States Supreme Court has also upheld the execution of mentally retarded convicts. The majority of judges on the Supreme Court of the United States refuse to recognize that the death penalty is arbitrarily and capriciously applied. Or that it is cruel and unusual punishment. That it is racist and discriminatory. That it is a violation of human rights, it denies due process of law and it is clearly unconstitutional. It is embarrassing to live in a country where the decisions of the highest judges in the land are so irrational, so unenlightened and so lacking in human decency. The Supreme Court justices ought to lead society in setting the highest moral and ethical standards for the country rather than dragging society back into the middle ages.
As long as the general public continues to ignore the issues involved in the practice of executing criminals this gross violation of conscience will continue. The criminal justice system is not capable of correcting its own errors and it is not capable of leading society to adopt a more civil and enlightened policy. The only way to bring about change in the policy of execution is for broad public discussion and education. The evidence available is overwhelmingly persuasive that this is a wrongheaded policy of mad vengeance and that it is fundamentally harmful to society. No one is safe. There is a very real exposure for innocent people to become falsely accused, arrested, tried in court, convicted and sentenced to die. It is happening here and now. An enlightened society would not tolerate such an injustice.
Friends in your life are like pillars on your porch.
Sometimes they hold you up and sometimes they lean on you.
Sometimes it's just enough to know they're standing by. ~~"My tears do not compromise my strength"...~~
An excellent essay except for one thing.
The death Penalty is not, nor has it ever been, about justice or the justice system.
The death penalty is all about revenge...nothing more and nothing less.
Until we agree what the death penalty is really about then we will not be able to deal with it in a sane and sensible manner.
Just my thoughts.
An eye for an eye and soon the whole world is blind!
Here are a few articles I had published in Denmark and USA magazines (human rights) just thought I would share them while this topic is showing (smile)
A RIGHT TO HUMAN RIGHTS
How can people be in favour of human rights, be against torture in all cases, be genuinely shocked to learn about countries where the state attaches wires to some prisoners and applies electricity until these prisoners are in terrible pain – and yet find it both acceptable and even desirable that their own country has states such as Florida that until recently put wires on prisoners and put up the electricity so high that those prisoners literally fried to death?
Human rights are an issue all around the world and a nation like the United States of America sees itself as a leader in the race to promote foundations for fairness to ALL human beings – well not exactly ALL of them because prisoners in their own country don’t seem to count!
American prisoners are facing cruel and unusual punishment daily, the crimes continue and the crime rate is way out of hand. To make matters worse, the legal system over looking these problems is nothing but a mess.
The powers of America are calling for tougher punishment, they insist that speeding up executions and building even more prisons will eventually bring them the answer. If things go on the way they are then America will become a nation of prisoners and their keepers. Death rows will start to overflow with juveniles as well as those of limited intelligence; it will be far too out of control for correction.
Only five countries besides the powerful U.S.A are known to have executed juveniles in the past decade, they are Bangladesh, Pakistan, Barbados, Iraq and Iran – what good company for the mighty U.S.A to be keeping!
Money talks in America and that’s why the prisons are full to bursting, that’s why the crime rate is growing so fast. Years of appeals are needed for those on death row otherwise even more innocent people would be killed. These appeals cost billions of dollars, cash that could be spent helping those who really need it.
Building more hospitals and schools instead of prisons would be a very good place to start. Offering support and education on many subjects such as abuse and drug problems would lay good foundations; even rehabilitation for those who have been in prison would be a step in the right direction.
In this country we pride ourselves on being ‘fair’ and we abolished the death penalty due to calls from human rights supporters. We saw that if it was possible to execute an innocent person then abolishment was the only way for us to go.
When I first started to become interested in the death row issue some ten years ago I read about 47 known cases of people being sent to death row for crimes they did not commit and at least 27 of those were eventually executed and later found to be innocent. Our country hasn’t suffered by abolishment and neither would America. The right to life comes first and foremost – without this basic right all other rights have no real meaning.
EXECUTION IS NO SOLUTION.
Death Rows are cruel; many men don’t even get to walk in the fresh air because their cells are actually underground. Amnesty International have tried for many years to get something done about the standards of life on the rows but American politicians will never admit they are wrong.
Prisoners can be punished for their crimes but it should NEVER be forgotten that they are human beings first and then they are prisoners. In this country we don’t get to hear about the cruel punishment dished out to these men and women. Prisoners are the only ones to suffer because those in control of the country make sure they keep a tight grip. U.S.A has the highest prison population in the world, infact correctional institutions are very big business indeed but human rights concern us all.
Crimes must carry a punishment but executing at random is not the answer. Holding thousands of men and women on Death Row is not the answer, everything has a core and the core of crime is society.
EXECUTIONS ARE NOT NEEDED
by Maureen Timmins
People who support the death penalty do so because they feel that the killer must be made to suffer as much as the victim – yet once the deed has been done and the killer is dead, the suffering continues for those left behind.
Life without parole is one way to keep killers off the streets, it also ensures a life of hardship for the guilty ones and it is a lot cheaper than executions. Most of all it stops any chance of innocent people being killed for a crime they did not commit. Making a killer wait for death to come to him is far better than setting him free from the burden of guilt, should he feel any!
Life on Death Row is hard but these days we need to look for a solution to the long standing problem of rising crime all over the world, killing a select few does nothing to change the awful facts.
Most of us know very little about the Death Row issue, we accept that for a really bad case of murder a person will be given the death penalty, then in time justice is done. This is not the case, because the death penalty is a poor mans punishment, you will never find a rich man or woman on Death Row. People who can pay for the best get the best; the rest of it is just a hit and miss affair making the death penalty a lottery. If your name comes up you will be executed; can that be fair when we hear about serial killers that aren’t even on Death Row? No it isn’t fair but it has become an acceptable way of dealing with things for the American people.
Even when a person can prove himself or herself to be innocent this isn’t always enough to stop them from dying at the hands of the state. You wonder how can that happen but it does –something is very wrong with the laws that guide our lives, in this country thank heavens we have seen the light. But for America the killing goes on and it now has to look for a new way of fighting crime.
Building more and more prisons cannot be the answer, a leading country it might be but America still has the highest crime rate along with the highest child abuse rate. Billions of dollars could be saved just by abolishing the death penalty if favour of life without parole. That cash could be put into helping children, giving them new values to life, more love and understanding but most of all a decent education.
The children are our foundations for the next generation and if the circle of hate continues to be fuelled by the hand of revenge then the outlook is very bleak. Prisons full of children, maybe even regular executions of children. Death Row is a waste of human life, prisoners are not allowed to work, not allowed to give anything back to society and that is very sad.
With so much hate and anger in the world today shouldn’t the ones who have done wrong be given the chance to put something back into society? Nothing can make up for the death of a loved one but taking a life for a life isn’t getting us anywhere.
I believe that the time has come for us all to step back and look at the flaws in our legal systems. None are perfect but the American legal system clings onto the death penalty – how can that be classed as civilised?
Things are not going to change over night, corruption is knee high and still rising but it can be done. It must be done and it must be done before the execution process gets right out of hand.
They say NOBODY is perfect so just call me NOBODY
PRISONERS ARE HUMAN BEINGS
Today prisoners sitting on Death Row’s all over America have turned into faceless numbers waiting to be disposed of by the state.
Yet we must never forget that each faceless number is a human being with a family and friends just like the rest of us. All of those family members have become the forgotten victims – their sentences are equal to that of the prisoner if not worse. Having a loved one in prison is bad enough but to have a loved one condemned to death is nothing but prolonged and cruel agony.
Many families affected by the ‘Death Row’ issue turn and walk away because the pain is just too great and the pressures are too many for them to live with – but no matter what happens they will always remain the forgotten victims. VICTIMS because of the original crime and VICTIMS of an uncaring legal system that offers them nothing – no support or rehabilitation of any kind.
The death penalty was re-introduced in 38 states for the most heinous murders, only in practice it’s now become some kind of grotesque lottery with very high stakes. These day’s death rows do not house the worst offenders, in reality they house poor scapegoats with bad lawyers. 98% of those on Death Row were abused, often severely abused as children. U.S.A should hang its head in shame because it has the highest murder rate and highest child abuse rate in the world – yet those running the country refuse to believe that the law itself could be the problem. Murder is murder but not every case of murder results in the death penalty, back in 1993 in the state of California there were over 3,000 murders yet less than 1% got the death penalty. Today those figures are even higher – where is the justice in all of that?
Capital punishment belongs to the Middle Ages, we should know better these days, but every year there are still over 200 people a year added to the Death Row population. Britain formally abolished the death penalty on 18th December 1969 and nearly all other Western democracies have also abolished it without any ill effects but in the U.S.A executions are gathering speed.
It makes no sense to argue that since killing another human being cannot be allowed the punishment for that crime will be killing still another human being. Murder is wrong whether it’s committed by an individual or by the state – even more alarming is the execution of innocent people. Yes it can and does happen, infact it’s happening more and more these days. On average 4 entirely innocent people have been convicted of murder in U.S every year since 1990 – just how many of them end up on Death Row and even more worrying how many of them are eventually executed in the name of justice?
Death Row is nothing more than a waste of human life; prisoners sit for years unable to give anything back to society. In most prisons they are denied physical contact with their loved ones – that act is a violation of human rights. There’s no question that the whole exercise is to punish, and society must be protected but not at the cost of each and every family member. Imagine a mother saying goodbye to her son for the last time, knowing that he is about to be executed – yet rules insist that she cannot hug and kiss him. Rules cannot sever the bond of mother and son. Why should the mother be punished and denied one last hug and kiss? There is no sensible answer to that question.
Small children cannot understand rules that prevent kisses and cuddles with their fathers [or mothers], they don’t understand what prison is all about because nobody bothers to try and explain it to them. Children need help to deal with such an experience because life as they knew it can never be the same again. Building more and more prisons is not the answer; money should be spent on child abuse awareness and prevention, prenatal care and education. Our children are our future – mess up the foundations and we have very little worth building on so it’s time to make a major investment in those children.
Imagine the impressions made on a small child when visiting the prison. First there is an average of 2-3 hours waiting around before being processed for the visit, this is usually in the early morning, no heating when the weather is cold and no fans when the weather is hot – most of all nothing for a child to do. Children quickly become fed up and miserable, this in turn makes the adults tenses and on edge. Rules dictate what type of clothes can be worn into the visiting rooms – silly little things like dressing according to institutional policy, but even that changes almost daily depending on the mood of the officer on duty for that shift.
Most visitors now take changes of clothes just incase, then once inside the visiting area the family unit is under constant surveillance. The mood of the officer in charge is what matters most because one might accept a little more than another might. Where there is contact visits children and not allowed to sit on their father’s knee or to hug and kiss them. Prison should not be a happy place it’s a place of punishment but it should not be the end of the road for all families involved either. It’s a known fact that a prisoner who has a loving and supportive family is less likely to be involved in or cause trouble.
Death Row prisoners should be able to keep their relationships alive as best they can, they should be able to express the love they have for their children and partners. This is NOT a luxury it’s human nature, emotions shared by all of us as human beings. Deprive a child of love and that child eventually turns bitter, it can’t grow in a constructive way or hope for a normal well-balanced life. Death Row is a very cruel place, its rules were made to cut off as much contact as possible with the outside world – now its time to make a stand against this barbaric treatment.
Abolishing the death penalty will be a step in the right direction, and then we need to look into rehabilitation. Juvenile crime is spiralling and it would be so sad to look into the future and see Death Row’s full of kids waiting to die at the hands of the state. If things don’t change soon such a prediction will become fact.
Americans could save well over 90 million dollars per year if the death penalty were abolished tomorrow. That money could be spent on child abuse awareness and prevention – children today will be the citizens of tomorrow. Building more prisons will NOT cut down the number of murders. Building more prisons will NOT stop the rising tide of crime and speeding up the rate of executions is NOT going to make America a better place to live. Death Row is no answer and execution is no solution, it’s not a black or white problem this is an American problem!
Treat a prisoner as a human being with just a small touch of respect and if ever released that person will have a quality of self-worth. Treat a prisoner in a cruel and brutal way and if ever released that person will be looking for revenge for the things suffered.
There are innocent people in prison, innocent people on Death Row, unable to prove anything because they lack the money. For us to really become a civilised society we must abolish the death penalty so mistakes don’t happen. In America money talks, its culture revolves around money more than anywhere else does in the world. But America has double standards – it classes itself as a nation far superior, a nation that speaks out for human rights yet it joins countries like Iraq and Iran in the use of capital punishment. Death Row prisoners are human beings and that’s must never be forgotten.
The criminals of tomorrow are the children of today so if we look for the roots of this problem a solution can one-day be found.
EXECUTION IS NO SOLUTION – ask the widows, orphans and heartbroken parents created by the DEATH PENALTY.
VIEWS OF EXECUTION
After watching some news reports concerning the execution of Texas Death Row prisoner Gary Graham I am left wondering just where all of this hatred will end. I was in contact with Gary Graham some years ago and along with hundreds of other people I believe he was innocent of that crime.
With so many question marks hanging over the case and with his life on the line – why couldn’t he have been given a new trial? If there is any doubt at all about the guilt of a person then no stone should be left unturned until the truth has been revealed.
George W. Bush was the man who finally held Gary’s life in his hands – a man who has authorised more executions while governor of Texas than any other in the country’s history!
Gary Graham didn’t stand a chance.
So now lets look at the facts, Gary Graham is dead, he’s paid the ultimate price but it’s a hollow victory for all those who cling to the death penalty. Has this execution made Texas a safer place to live in? Has this execution really proved anything to anyone about the tough U.S legal system?
All it’s done is to kill an innocent man in the name of justice. OK if the state of Texas was so sure of Graham’s guilt then why didn’t it grant a new trial to bring that guilt out once and for all? That could never have happened because a new trial would have uncovered the flaws of the original trial. Some people would have been proved wrong for their actions and if Gary Graham had won a victory then how many other Death Row prisoners would want to take the same steps?
The situation in Texas can only be described as desperate, there is no state funding for indigent defence, many prisoners sit on Death Row without lawyers to help them, and some have execution dates pending. In addition to that Texas has no clemency procedures for considering claims of innocence, strange, as it may seem Texas prohibits the introduction of new evidence.
The U.S Supreme Court has actually considered how far courts must go to protect against the execution of innocent people; the result was that it set a time limit on getting evidence into court to be heard. If you pass that deadline then no matter what the evidence shows it WILL NOT be heard. This is very wrong but I believe it’s a point that will eventually bring the U.S.A legal system to it’s knees.
George W. Bush has his sights set on the White House and things look like going his way, no doubt for a short while he will relish in the new found power that goes with the job of running the country. Yet somewhere down the line his ruthless actions will catch up with him. Executions belong in the past and the views of Mr Bush belong there too.
Gary Graham fought long and hard to try and get justice, sadly it wasn’t meant to be but his death will be a turning point I feel. Already the American public is moving away from the belief that executions deter crime. They have started to see that a few select state murders carried out behind closed doors in the dead of night will NOT deter crime in any way. The tide is turning – slowly yes but it is turning and the end result will be total defeat for Bush and people who believe in his barbaric policies.
Supporters of Gary Graham will continue to speak up, continue to call for an end to executions, only when that happens can the great nation of America start to heal.
TIME FOR REHABILITATION
You never know a person until you’ve walked in their shoes and the same goes for prison life – until a person has actually served a prison sentence they cannot begin to understand how difficult that kind of life really is.
Many prisoners use a long sentence to their advantage; they start the learning process, postal courses and even just reading books. Things that normally they would have ignored. Some prisoners even find God because for the first time ever they have time to look inside themselves, to meet face to face who they really are. Prison is a challenge and sadly some fall by the wayside, they don’t care about anybody or anything and release their anger when ever possible. For them serving time has a very different meaning.
Why aren’t these prisoners helped, why not look for a solution to their problems rather than just lock them up and throw away the key? Crime is increasing daily and the number of people being sent to prison is getting out of hand, the legal system ought to focus its energy on the cause rather than the punishment.
Poor people are more likely to be sentenced to long prison terms than members of the middle and upper classes. Prisoners are aware that the only reason they are stuck with a long sentence is because they lacked money for proper legal defence. Sentences are not consistent; one man might get 2 years for theft while another will be given 8 years for an identical crime.
In America once you enter the prison system you become the property of the state, you are told whom you can and can’t contact, whom you can and can’t have on your visiting list. When to wake up and when to go to sleep, when to eat and when to shower plus you are subjected to the humiliation of strip searches at any given time.
Rules are changed daily and many young officers allow the power of being in charge to outlaw ‘fairness’. Infact officers are behind many of the fights that start up within the prison system, corruption is alive and well and living on every level!
Rehabilitation for re-entry back into society is non-existent so if a man has suffered at the hands of cruel punishment he will be looking for someone to blame. With such an attitude that man will soon find himself back behind bars and so the circle will continue.
There is no question that people do change after spending long terms in prison, changes come from within and a man must want to better himself. The sad thing is that if you happen to be on death row almost everything is denied you, postal courses, hobby materials, contact visits with loved ones and in some places even recreation with other inmates.
Rules are invented with speed to cut the prisoner off from the outside world, that way control has more of an effect. It must never be forgotten that prisoners have to be punished but the extent of that punishment is something that must be looked into and the sooner the better.
Rehabilitation would go a long way to helping prisoners not to re-offend; it would give them a feeling of self worth and would give them confidence to start up a new life.
Far too much money is being spent on punishment and far too little on prevention – society on the whole has to look for another solution. America has hit a landslide of ‘correction is big business’ but we are also a nation of crime, why do we accept this issue instead of trying to do something about it? Child abuse is on the increase and runs level with crime, both topics are in need of complete reconstruction.
The time of building more prisons should be over with; the time for looking of new ways to ‘kill’ prisoners through painless execution should be over with. We have to look forward, look into a future that offers some kind of healing, some forgiveness and some understanding. Rehabilitation shouldn’t be a stranger to any of us; it can work to change things for the better if only it’s given a chance.
(I hope you didn't mind me sharing these)
They say NOBODY is perfect so just call me NOBODY
Mo, anytime!! I apprecaite your thoughts and respect your views! thank you.
Friends in your life are like pillars on your porch.
Sometimes they hold you up and sometimes they lean on you.
Sometimes it's just enough to know they're standing by. ~~"My tears do not compromise my strength"...~~
I used to think it was unusual for someone to be wrongly convicted on deathrow in the USA. It would take rare cases where well meaning people came to the wrong conclusions.
But it now seems to be really quite common in Texas. Horrifying that new evidence cannot be considered, nor can incompetant to mediocre consul. It look like just passing the bar is enough to count as "capable." But anyone who has ever spoken with an lawyer, will say they are loath to take cases that deviate from thier specialty, and freely admit to being morons outsided of thier chosen areas.
Nor can they handle really espensive cases
unless they can at least hope to cover most of thier overhead. The media often shows vicious thugs in positions of power abroad, but rarely ever at home. I remember during the cold war the often real comical thugs portrayed in Communist countries, who often kllled, imprisoned and served themselves.
We could quite likely give any of them a run for the money right here. The private press does little to help the situation.
We may be devolving into an even worse nation as too many people fail to hold officials accountable. Castro, Hugo Chavez and others have never been able to take anyone's rights away here. It is the very people who claim to support law and order who are doing so.
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