Capital Punishment: Unjust and ineffective….

So, Guido Fawkes and a gaggle of frothing-at-the-mouth Conservative MP’s want to bring back capital punishment. Guido is launching a campaign to collect a 100,000 signatures and thus force MP’s to consider the issue through one of the more gimmicky schemes this government has launched.  I suspect that, even if Guido is successful, MP’s will duly consider the matter and bin the petition and they would be right to do so. The death penalty is one of those issues that it’s easy to whip up a storm of sentiment over but even a cursory consideration of the facts shows, no matter how emotionally appealing it may seem, it’s a singularly bad idea.

Firstly, it violates core principles of justice which are not, contrary to popular prejudice, purely about ‘punishing the wicked’ but also about restoration and reform of offenders. Restoration of a pre-crime state for the victims is impossible in the case of most serious offences (you can’t ‘un-murder’ somebody, for example) however reform of the offender is possible and a pivotal part of a healthy system of justice. Of course, there is also the issue of innocents who are tried, convicted and put to death and the guilty who are guilty but are more likely to be sentenced to death because of their social or ethnic background, or who are mentally ill and therefore not fully culpable for their actions. In it’s arbitrary finality the death penalty is a perversion of the core principles of justice.

Secondly, and this is the kicker, it simply doesn’t work as a ‘deterrent’. This is one of the great lies perpetrated by the pro-death penalty lobby. Name a society you think is particularly violent/dangerous and the odds are these are societies are ones in which the state can legally murder somebody (which is what the death penalty is, legalised murder). They are violent, in part, because the state does commit legalised murder, not the other way around. In America, the states which have capital punishment generally have higher homicide rates than those that don’t. Rationally, it staggers me beyond belief that people insist the prospect of dying would deter anybody determined enough to kill.

Guido and his Conservative lackeys are not reflecting popular will but are in actual fact fanning the flames of popular ignorance and blindness when it comes to this issue. No principled or rational case exists for the restoration of the death penalty; the only case is the one-made by unprincipled demagogues and those who are blinded by emotional responses to an issue which demands emotional detachment, lest the innocent and most vulnerable suffer the most horrific consequences.


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7 responses to “Capital Punishment: Unjust and ineffective….”

  1. gillig says :

    I would like them to debate wether they should have to turn up for a debate.
    Led by Gordon the World Saver.
    Only if they do it on their own time of course.


  2. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Lol, start a petition then……


  3. allison says :

    totally agree
    well written, thanks!


  4. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Your welcome. Thanks for the comment.


  5. john reid says :

    the state shouldn’t kill, it owuld also lead to people on a jury who feel that someone is guilty beyond reasonable doubt ,finding htem innocnet (even if tehy agree with the death penalty) as they wouldn’t want someo one executed if there was a doubt at the back of their minds that they could be only guilty of manslaughter not murder,
    Similar cirmes of passion, it’s still murder if someone kills their husbnad through years of verbal abuse and then plans it the next day,
    the Link to the U.S.A isn’t quite right though as not all states have the death penalty ,but life does mena life their
    At the end of the day, most murderers think the’yre gonna get away with it ,so it’s not a deterent ,but there must be some who wonder if I’m caught I’ll face teh death penalty so I better not do ti
    But in the U.K of course if you want to kill someone ,You just run them over ,plead guilty and can be out within a year (as long as no one works out this was your plan) this is of course a fececious remark, but people have knocked down driving people they know ,and dislike and have got a year in priosn in,recent years.


  6. darrellgoodliffe says :


    I agree, it shouldn’t. It’s also worth mentioning that people who murder are unlikely to be deterred by the threat of extinction because they have already taken a decision to kill which shows they have rather left the arena of rational persuasion (in the case of pre-meditation). In the case of involuntary killing they are most likely not thinking straight in the first place either. The argument it acts as a deterrent didoes stand up to rational examination or the established facts.


  7. john reid says :

    also with the with the abolition of double jeopardy ,that the state could try to frame someone A second time, Now I now this implies that all trials, where a “not guilty verdict is reached”, be that aquital, means that their was an attempt to frame the first time ,and framing only consists of Attempting to prevert the course of justice or perjury,

    , Yes if the accused adimits guilt, you are relased earlier, and the Bigmingham 6 had guns put to their heads to make them sign confessions, But not all aquitals are due to false evidnece,
    Barry george in the Jill dando case has’t had compensation the way that Colin sttag has, GEORGE DAVIS HAS ONLY NOW BEEN FOUND TO HAVE BEEN CLEARED OF THE Armed robbery, rather than just not proven, Same as the step dad found guilty the cleared of bashing his step daughter to death after she had made a mess painting in her garden, surley it’s the socal services fault if your relased and not given National insurance contributions rather than the judiciary, there can be mental anguish if your falsely accused of something and it is dificult to prove innocence, rather than be just let off,and it does take along time,but theres not always the case of false evidence, it can be that someone is cleared through the evidence being sent to a retrial, same as someone can be found guilty a scond time of a similar charge a second time ,witness the brothers being found guilty at a second trial,for the murder of daminola taylor,

    But if someone faces a re trail under double jeopardy the jury is biegn given the impression that they did ti ast tie but we didn’t have the right (enough)evidence so heres a second go and then to put someone up for a new trial where they might be put to death, if found guilty with the jury thinking the proseuctors think they did it before “so I better find them guilty” would be even more tragic,


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