- All Debates
- Popular Debates
- Active Debates
- New Debates
- Open Challenge Debates
- My Challenge Debates
- Accepted Challenges
- Debate Communities
- Argument Waterfall
- New People
- People by Points
Your profile reflects your reputation, it will build itself as you create new debates, write arguments and form new relationships.
One may attempt to measure it by the number of elderly people set to rest homes instead of being taken care of by family members.
Sure. Their quality of life is greater due to still being alive from our longevity advantages.
What good is it to grow old, only to be put into rest-homes to live out those extra years?
Better than dieing, most old folks these days would attest.
It’s also asserted to be because the exorbitant cost of the lethal injections. I don’t know if they are actually as high as claimed but it’s a common contention I hear in opposition to the death penalty. Besides, this is an unrelated factor anyway; lethal injection isn’t the only method of execution. Also, the price of lethal injection could be reduced in a society less concerned with profit but could also likely become more expensive depending on the amount of executions and the cost of supplies.
At any rate, I agree that it would be more expensive to house and feed a prisoner then it would be to execute them in most cases.
This IS one of the points offered, but not in and of itself. Lethal injection is far more expensive to administer than it should be, largely due to regulations surrounding the cocktails used- but it's still less than a couple years in prison, no matter which source you find. The sources that demonstrate it to be expensive show this in tandem with the court costs considering the whole process of appeals et al. Those additional costs are a factor in life imprisonment as well, but anti-death penalty individuals never seem to account for that; you could call it a lie of omission I suppose?
Many life sentences are granted irrespective of a person’s ability to live a moral life or improve from rehabilitation. Prison sentences serve three purposes as far as I can see, penalty to a crime, removal of a potential threat to society and an attempt at rehabilitation. The penalty is a type of punishment relative to the crime, the removal is a necessary measure often times, but the criminal’s ability to adjust remains to be seen most of the time. This could lead to some instances where a decent individual is sentenced to life imprisonment without any chance to show that they can live decent lives or be rehabilitated.
Second degree murder for instance, when a person kills in a fit of emotion and immediately recognizes the wrong in it. Many times the penalty is a life for a life irrespective of the person’s potential to lead a decent life.
I agree with you on most of this; I believe these represent valid criticisms of our current justice system. I think we simply disagree on the punsihment point- punishment, in my opinion, should not be a form of retribution/vengeance, but rather a necessary part of rehabilitation; the 'hard learned lesson' as it were. Hence in my description I only had the two points, without separating punishment from rehabilitation.
I don't suggest the death penalty (with the criteria I've stated) as a simple drag and drop solution into our existing system- I strongly believe that the system needs serious reform, for most of the reasons you've noted.
I should note, however, that your note regarding second degree murder is very much the exception to the rule. In most US jurisdictions, Life without parole is not the sentence given for second degree murder. Yes, I know, wikipedia- sorry for that :/ Even within those jurisdictions where life without parole is known to be given for second degree murder, they still generally represent exceptions to the rule.
I think you have a good point about refitting life sentences with a death penalty, but I think the possibility for parole ought to be reconsidered for many life sentences in that case. I don’t think it’s necessary, but it’s a good point.
I agree that parole possibilities, among other things, would need to be seriously re-examined if we were to go in this direction. I would certainly not advocate the death penalty OR life imprisonment for a case of second degree murder, generally speaking. Repeated instances of second degree murder might warrant it, though.
The other reason I’m still in opposition to the death penalty is because other than the points you made, I don’t see any other substantial reason to do it other than to reduce the cost. It seems uncivilized to me to reduce the value of a life in an attempt to save money.
This may simply be a difference in our individual values. Personally, I'm of the mind that life imprisonment without the possibility of parole itself constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, especially considering the conditions in many prisons. To my mind, at least, execution seems a kindness by comparison. At any rate, I don't see it as reducing the value of life to save money; I see it as the most humane way to deal with the situation, taking into account the wellbeing of the convicted, the affect the convicted would have on transient inmates, and the danger the convicted represents to society. I've already conceded that it would not work without serious reforms to our system, though- my apologies if you inferred otherwise from my wording, it was not my intent- I'm getting better at this, but I still evidently need a lot of work on my communication skills.
And even when acknowledging your points, I still don’t see killing them as a necessary practice. The inmates given life sentences could just as easily be transported to separate facilities specifically for them so they don’t affect other inmates’ ability to be rehabilitated.
This is actually a good idea, though without reforms to the system it would require numerous additional prison facilities; at minimum we'd need 68 additional facilities- one for each of 50 states, one for each of 16 insular territories, one for Washington DC, and one federal one. Additional facilities may be needed for some of these jurisdictions as well. Alternatively, we could reform the laws regarding jurisdiction and consolidate life inmates from multiple jurisdictions into shared prisons, which should cut down on the number of new facilities needed significantly. Either this plan or mine would also have the benefit of alleviating overcrowded prisons somewhat. I'm still of the mind, though, that it's kinder to simply kill a convict than to lock him in prison with the knowledge that he'll only be leaving in a box. Ultimately, I believe that point to be the source of our disagreement on the issue. Even if I thought it likely that I could, I'm not inclined to try and sway you to my subjective viewpoint there :)
I support the death penalty under very simple criteria.
I'm working from the premise that our criminal justice system is intended to both 1) rehabilitate criminals and re-integrate them into society, and 2) Protect law-abiding citizens from further criminal activity by the convicted.
This is a rather shaky premise, mind you, and our criminal justice system does not adequately represent these goals, but I believe that this is a problem with current execution (no pun intended) rather than the intent of the system. Another debate entirely.
So, with all that groundwork laid down, I would support the death penalty only in the event that a criminal is deemed unable to ever re-enter society. Basically, I would apply the death penalty to those cases where, in the absence of the death penalty, a criminal would serve a true(1) life sentence.
My reasoning for this is that we've already established that the individual cannot be rehabilitated and/or will represent a significant danger to others should he or she be released. Furthermore, given the current prison climate- often referred to as college for criminals- those imprisoned for life hold the de facto role of tenured professors. There is nothing to be gained by exposing criminals who could potentially be rehabilitated to criminals who could not, and much to lose if rehabilitation is the goal. Inmates who have 'nothing left to lose' have been demonstrated to be more dangerous to other criminals, and said dangers are a factor in inmates 'adapting' to prison conditions to the point that they cannot successfully re-integrate into society.
This would serve to both improve the ability of our system to rehabilitate 'salvageable' criminals, but would also lower the costs involved in imprisnment. Many disagree with the cost-saving notiong; it has been said that it costs more money to execute a criminal than it does to imprison him or her for life, primarily due to the numerous appeals, etc that are made when a death sentence is issued. This stance, however, acts under the assumption that criminals sentenced for life would not go through the appeals process themselves- reality does not bear out this assumption. Any way you slice it, X (years imprisoned before/during appeals) + Y (appeals) and a final execution is still less than X (years imprisoned before/during appeals) + Y (appeals) + Z (remainder of life after all appeals fail).
1- By 'true' life sentence I mean that the convict is to be imprisoned for the remainder of his or her life, with no possibility of parole. A 'life sentence' in some jurisdictions is actually defined as a specific period of minimum time, eg 15 years, 20 years, 25 years, etc- before becoming potentially eligible for parole. I would not substitute the death penalty in these cases; only the case, as noted, where the convict is to be imprisoned permanently without possibility of parole.
It's one thing for the person to be unaware when the situation is first observed, but don't you think it's a bit of a stretch to assume that the person will remain completely unaware of the approaching train until it's within range to become the pestle to his mortar?
It'd work better, I think, if the situation could be contrived such that the one person was immobilized on the second section of track in some way.
Although, even if he were unrestrained and could feel/hear the approaching train, we could be talking about a section of track that never gets used that the person walks on regularly- in that scenario he may completely ignore the sound and vibration out of habit.
...except probably not kill him.
The thing about trains is that even modern, quieter ones are LOUD, and if you're standing on the tracks you can feel them vibrate as the train approaches.
I would divert the train onto the other track, and hopefully the unaware individual will respond to either the noise or the vibration without needing my input. A certain level of situational awareness should be expected of somebody walking on train tracks, I would think.
On the other hand, there isn't much the 5 people could do at all.
I would personally feel morally obligated to take this action- I find the 'bystander effect' to be reprehensible.
Murder is strictly defined as a human illegally and intentionally taking the life of another human. Even a human taking the life of another human is not always murder; we have terms like manslaughter (voluntary or involuntary) and other terms that we use when killing the victim was not the intent, and we also differentiate between premeditated murder and crimes of passion as well. It's also not murder when a soldier kills an enemy soldier in wartime.
But ultimately, it comes down to the first line- murder is strictly defined as a human illegally and intentionally taking the life of another human. As noted, not all cases of humans killing humans are murder. Exactly zero cases of humans taking the lives of non-humans are murder, by the very definition of the word.
I understand the emotional zeal that is felt by those who consider killing animals to be abhorrent- I really do. But making claims like 'meat is murder' doesn't help your case at all- if you're hoping to sway meateaters, painting a portrait of them alongside some of the worst criminals of mankind doesn't help anybody- it's abusive and puts them on the defensive.
Less offensive terminology used against minorities have been considered hate crimes. Think on that before you start throwing labels around. If you're really hoping for change, being militant about it is only going to enforce the 'crazy vegan' stereotype that is already out there. Better to attempt to garner compassion than try the route of personal attacks.