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View Diary: The Disturbing Obliviousness of Kossacks About an Impending Execution: An Innocent Man Will Die (317 comments)

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  •  In theory death seems to be a reasonable (10+ / 0-)

    course. I used to be for it, with extensive judicial review. The scores and scores of DNA based acquittals should be enough to convince ANYONE that we are kidding ourselves about the quality of our justice system. With those kinds of errors abounding, we cannot compound the problem by killing convicts, thereby excluding them from ultimate justice.

    Life in prison is good enough as an ultimate penalty. We need to get over our bloodthirsty insistence on the death penalty.

    In 2000, a criminal became President. In 2004, we failed to remove him.
    American Democracy, 1787-2004, RIP

    by davewill on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 11:47:16 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  As someone who (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wiscmass, hungrycoyote, lemming22

      has vacillated on this issue, I can agree but we have to take steps to make sure prison is good enough. here's what I suggest:

      1. Life in prison, no parole. Life in prison should mean life, not 20 years or until someone decides you served enough time.
      1. it should be hard time. No prison college course, no work furloughs.
      •  What is wrong with rehabilitation efforts? (8+ / 0-)

        The bread and water arguments smack of thirst for revenge, too.  It's punishment enough to be deprived of liberty for the remainder of one's life; let some good come of it, too.

        I have seen the fnords.

        by rhubarb on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 02:09:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As I see it, rehabilitation ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ... is fine, so long as there's somewhere they're going to eventually be rehabilitated to.  But if they've got life without parole, what's the point?

          •  I see it as having intrinsic worth (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sberel, wiscmass, lemming22

            to improve one's self even if there is no hope of parole.

            I have seen the fnords.

            by rhubarb on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 04:37:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Perhaps. (0+ / 0-)

              But there's something wrong about providing people in jail with opportunities which wouldn't be provided to them for free outside of prison.

              •  That's one way to look at it (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rhubarb, sberel

                Another is that those opportunities will help them become more productive members of society and avoid recidivism when they get out -- and the vast majority of people in prison will get out eventually.

                A good friend of mine who teaches criminal justice says that without those opportunities, any reputable criminologist would tell you that sending someone to prison is like sending them to get their doctorates in criminal behavior -- when they get out, they'll commit more crimes, more destructive crimes, and they'll know better how to avoid getting caught.

                As for the ones who will never leave, you might argue that it doesn't matter for them. Of course, one of those opportunities they might not have provided for them outside of prison is healthcare. Another might be adequate nutrition. Another might be shelter. Another might be clean water. It would violate the Eighth Amendment to deny any of those things to our prisoners, so unless you're willing to kill them all, which is not a defensible policy, where do you draw the line?

                •  I guess that begs wthe question (0+ / 0-)

                  of whether the should get out. Again, my whole premise is that someone getting life with no parole shouldn't be allowed out ever, absent extraordinary circumstances.

                  •  By definition... (0+ / 0-)

           without parole means they never get out. But the vast majority of people sent to prison don't get life without parole, and they will get out eventually. So when they get out, do you want them to be more dangerous or less? That's what it comes down to.

                    And for those who will never get out, do you want to kill them all? That's not defensible. Do you want to deny them the basic necessities of life? That's no different from killing them.

                    I think people forget that we send people to prison as punishment, not for punishment.

                    •  We are going in cirlces (0+ / 0-)

                      Yes, I know most people in prison don't  spend life there. Most people in prison aren't there for murder, either. My  argument is that if we want to abandon the DP, then I think Life in prison, no parole is a viable alternative. That being the case, I would propose that life mean that, and not 20 years. If someone is goign to spend the rest of his life in prison, what is the point of giving this person things like occupational training for a career he will never be allowed to practice?

                      •  Four reasons (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        1. It's an incentive to get inmates to behave. With no such incentives, there's nothing to stop them from rioting all the time, thus making guards' jobs far more dangerous.
                        1. Prison industries are a byproduct of vocational training. They bring in a lot of money, too, and it's that much less funding that prisons have to get from the taxpayers.
                        1. Because even people who are never going to get out can be rehabilitated and do some good from behind bars.
                        1. Because the Supreme Court has ruled consistently that absent the death penalty, denying inmates the conditions necessary for rehabilitation constitutes cruel and unusual punishment and therefore violates the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.

                        If you want to talk about denying inmates cable TV and gourmet meals, fine, we agree -- they shouldn't get those things. But the vast, vast majority already don't. As for the rest of it, taking away such things will endanger guards and violate the Constitution.

                        •  That's what I am talking about (0+ / 0-)

                          No cable tv, no gourmet foods. I am not talking about feeding them bread and water, denying them  exercise,  tv, law libraiesy, literacy programs, prison mininstries etc.

                          •  Again... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...the vast majority of prisons in the US don't provide cable TV or gourmet food. That's an indisputable fact, no matter what you might hear from crime control oriented extremists. So it's just not an issue.

                            I keep coming back to this: prison is the punishment. We send people to prison as punishment, not for punishment. The deprivation of liberty is the punishment; piling on by denying all those other things -- and I realize that's not exactly what you're advocating -- is not justifiable. We have to give them the basic necessities of life and the tools they need to rehabilitate, even if they'll never get out. Anything less would be uncivilized, and it would reflect very badly on us as a society.

      •  every time you simplify ... (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tamens, Joe B, sberel, wiscmass, bic momma

        ... you merely insult

        Life in prison without parole? For whom?

        Every state (that I'm aware of) has a well-codified sentencing structure.

        No parole? Really? For whom?

        For a fourteen year-old who's tried as an adult?

        Hard time? Doing what?

        Inside the institutions, trying to make the environment safer for the inmates (and the guards) ought to be of paramount import. How does removing educational opportunity improve conditions inside the institution for people who must be there, whether as an inmate or an employee?

        Seems a sure bet that you're not a DOC employee ...

        it's about biconceptualism ... Obama08

        by wystler on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 02:20:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Everyone (0+ / 0-)

          convicted of murder should do life in prison, no parole, if you have no death penalty or if the jury/judge decides that the death penalty is not warranted. By hard time, I simply mean, no furloughs, no weigh lifting, no chance to earn money to buy nice things in the commissary by sweeping floors. No college courses. What's the point of "rehabilitating" someone, who if life with no parole is to have any meaning, isn't going to be allowed out anyway?

          •  A lot of killers (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wystler, gkn, wiscmass

            come from familys where they have been abused and beaten. The appropriate response to murder it to try rehabilitation and if it don't work - lock them up to keep other people safe, but be humane.

            Your view on punishment strikes me as uncivilized.

            62% of independents, 58% of men and 47% of women say they would not consider voting for her...

            by Joe B on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 03:04:27 PM PDT

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            •  what's uncivilized about (0+ / 0-)

              Making sure someone who has committed the worst crime of all, is actually punished for it? I am not advocating torture, or death here.

              •  Yes, you are... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                wystler, wiscmass

                You are advocating the removal of most, if not all, of the activities that allow a prisoner serving a significant sentence to remain sane.  There is overwhelming evidence that shows massive increases in mental illness amongst prisoners denied basic psychological wellness conditions.  The activities you are talking about denying are in place for prisoner management and mental health maintenance...

                •  Hogwash (0+ / 0-)

                  Plain and simple. College courses are not needed to avoid mental illness. If there were, most of this nation would be institutionalized. Nor is weight lifting necesssary. Some excercise is, but why not allow them other activities to keep their mental and pyshical health up?

              •  let's quibble, shall we? (0+ / 0-)

                worst crime of all:

                a person who, in an ill-formed youth, committed a single murder?

                or a person who deployed the military, ordered tons of bombs dropped on civilians, and invaded a sovereign nation?


                sorry, but my own moral compass has a rough time with a binary choice as above ... the confusion becomes compounded when one examines businessfolk misdeeds ... did the folks in the executive suite at Enron whack anybody? but they ruined how many lives

                sorry, i won't play that game. we have laws that codify punishments for specific crimes, but GTFOOH with your "worst crime of all" balderdash

                it's about biconceptualism ... Obama08

                by wystler on Tue Jul 17, 2007 at 07:38:59 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  apples and bowling balls (0+ / 0-)

                  sorry, but that just a ludicrous comparison. Yes, I think murder is the worst crime of all under our system(s) of criminal justice. What Bush did in Iraq was horrible, but it does not even fall within the purview of our justice system.

                  •  it doesn't? (0+ / 0-)

                    i think you're pulling up short, if you think what Bush did was categorically, unequivocably, and unquestioningly legal ... anybody who's studied law could manage to identify broken federal laws

                    not suggesting that the Justice Department will indict him ... but what Bush has done vis-a-vis Iraq does indeed "fall within the purview of our justice system"

                    it's about biconceptualism ... Obama08

                    by wystler on Tue Jul 17, 2007 at 08:45:04 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  Guess who opposes LWOP? (4+ / 0-)

        Death penalty supporters.  Because they know juries will choose life when they know there is no possibility of parole.

        We just got it here in Texas, I think there are very, very few states without it at this point a handful at most.

        I am with you on furloughs, but I wouldn't take any prisoner management techniques (TV, college courses, etc) away from prison officials.  This is not something we have the background or experience to dictate to them.

        Support the troops (for real)! write to any soldier

        by sberel on Mon Jul 16, 2007 at 02:34:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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