Saturday, 2 October 2010

The Death Penalty.

I've been thinking a lot recently about the death penalty.
I discovered a copy of The Green Mile by Stephen King in an Oxfam bookshop a couple of weeks ago, and on a whim decided to buy it (despite never having heard of either the book or the film, but only of the author).
I started to read it, and then as a matter of coincidence we started talking/learning about the death penalty in rs at school...

It's a topic I've always known my opinion on, but now I feel so strongly about it, that I can and will debate with anyone about it.

To some, it may seem like an efficient way of clearing society of danger, clearing prison space, and acting as a deterrent, but this isn't true. It's proven that the threat of the death penalty does not act as a deterrent - average crime rates in England actually decreased after it was abolished here. As well as this, the death penalty removes all chance of reformation and a second chance for the offender, and prison isn't the only option for minor offenders, so prison space does not necessarily have to be limited.

But primarily, the reason for my feelings against the death penalty are actually because it such an inhumane and cruel way to die. Despite the fact that these men/women may have committed horrible crimes, they are humans too. The torture of knowing that they are waiting to die is a concept that most of us can barely even consider, never mind imagine. And as for the last few hours, as they consume their last meal, and say their last prayers or take their last counseling, and as they walk their final steps to their final destination of a large reinforced chair, or a noose, the emotions which must surely curse through their veins are horrific. And yet they are induced by members of their own species.

It's so hard to put into words, especially when writing, but although people on death row (and equivalents) may have made terrible mistakes, I believe that it is our own terrible mistake to allow such things to happen.

And as for when innocents happen to become mixed up in such occurrences...

In the end, more lives are taken. In most cases, the life/lives of the original victem(s). And then we add more injury, but taking the life of the original offender. We are as bad as they. Even for putting up with it, or supporting it.

The human race (including myself) sickens me.