Friday, October 03, 2008

Do Executions Make US Safer?

Former Warden of San Quentin says no.
clipped from

Death row realism

Do executions make us safer? San Quentin's former warden says no.
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1 comment:

dudleysharp said...

What Ms. Woodford forgot, or didn't know, some important issues.

The death penalty actually protects more innocents.

To state the blatantly clear, living murderers are much more likely to harm and murder, again, than are executed murderers. Although an obvious truism, Ms. Woodford overlooked the enhanced incapacitation benefits of the death penalty over incarceration.

No knowledgeable and honest party questions that the death penalty has the most extensive due process protections in US criminal law. Therefore, actual innocents are more likely to be sentenced to life imprisonment and more likely to die in prison serving under that sentence, that it is that an actual innocent will be executed. That is. logically, conclusive.

16 recent studies, inclusive of their defenses, find for death penalty deterrence. A surprise? No. Life is preferred over death. Death is feared more than life. Some believe that all studies with contrary findings negate those 16 studies. They don't. Studies which don't find for deterrence don't say no one is deterred, but that they couldn't measure those deterred. What prospect of a negative outcome doesn't deter some? There isn't one.

Regarding costs.

Ms. Woodford seems to have forgotten true reform. California should simply copy the Virginia model, whereby they have executed about 65% of those sentenced to death, with the average time on death row about 9 years, prior to execution, making the death penalty, very likely, less expensive than life without parole.

Regarding respect for life.

Societies imprison criminals because they value freedom so much. A sanction is only a sanction when we take away that which is valued. Therefore, the most severe sanction is reserved for that which we value most.

Ms. Woodford, that is why some societies reserve execution for murderers.

(1)"The Death Penalty", by Romano Amerio, professor at the Academy of Lugano, consultant to the Preparatory Commission of Vatican II, and a peritus (expert theologian) at the Council.

(2) John Stuart Mill, speech on the death penalty

(3) "Catholic and other Christian References: Support for the Death Penalty", at

(4) Immanuel Kant, "The Right of Punishing", inclusive of the death penalty

(5) "Capital Punishment: A Catholic Perspective",
by Br. Augustine (Emmanuel Valenza)

(6) "Defending Capital Punishment" by William Gairdner

(7) "The Death Penalty", by Solange Strong Hertz

(8) "Capital Punishment: The Case for Justice", Prof. J. Budziszewski, First Things, August / September 2004 found

(9) Just Violence: An Aristotelian Justification of Capital Punishment