Dear 100 Hour Board,
Tipperary's recent question about last meals got me thinking--what do you think about the death penalty, and why? For a while the death penalty was declared unconstitutional, but it was reinstated in 1976, and since then 1500 people have been executed in the US (the 1500th was executed just a few weeks ago, on June 20th). If you're in favor of the death penalty, under what circumstances do you think it's justified? Do you think we should be using it as often as we are? If you're against it, why? Do you think there's a solution?
-Alta, who's very much against it
I would be okay with the death penalty if there were some way to be 100% sure the accused was guilty and 100% sure there was no regret or possibility of rehabilitation. Since that's not possible, I'm against it.
I am very much against it for our society, though I think perhaps there are situations where it makes sense. For instance, if a society is very small and has no means of effectively containing a dangerous person, then the death penalty could be necessary to protect people as a whole.
Overall, I think that the justice system should put a bigger emphasis on rehabilitating criminals instead of retaliating against them.
I agree completely with Luciana. Capital punishment is a big deal, and with no guarantee of guilt, I don't really like the idea of taking someone's life. Plus, a lot of the people who would be given the death penalty actually want the death penalty because it makes them famous, and they don't have to 'pay the price' for as long. Many of them see death as the easy way out, and to me that isn't very just.
I'm against. The current methods of killing people is horrible (as John Oliver explains here) and we've found too many people found innocent after we've killed them. It also removes the chance for prisoners to have redemption. Yes, I know, some prisoners are horrible and have done truly awful things, but I'd rather they spent their lives in prison (and maybe we can improve our prison system to give them the chance to be more productive to society) than killed. Finally, for one of my classes we had to use a computer program to download all the last words of death row prisoners in Texas and make a graph showing those words. It was actually really heartbreaking to read what they said:
The last words of a sociopath who has killed people without remorse wouldn't include those words. Who are we really killing?
-guppy of doom