Wednesday, September 07, 2011

A Question about Victim's Families and the Death Penalty

Sometimes we are told that execution, like no other penalty, provides closure to crime victims' families. Many victims' families feel that way when the death penalty is being sought. But, after the executions take place, do they actually feel the satisfaction that they were hoping to feel before the criminal was executed?

Is there any research on this?


B. Prokop said...

I don't know about the closure issue, but was anyone besides myself horrified by the audience reaction (enthusiastic applause) in last night's republican debate to the statement that Gov. Perry presided over more executions than any other person in US history?

One Brow said...

Some of those executions in the face of serious evidence of innocence, no less.

Ilíon said...

"Sometimes we are told that execution, like no other penalty, provides closure to crime victims' families. ..."

Totally irrelevant ... and the sort of irrational thing that a certain sort of woman and all feminized men would say.

If the point of punishment is not justice (*), then then punishment must, perforce, create even more injustice. Really, VR, a C S Lewis scholar ought to understand this truth.

(*) which is likely something that the two foolish "liberal" persons who have already posted from the depths of their pointless sentimentality have no doubt chosen to be unable to understand; until gross injustice discomfits them personally, of course.

Ilíon said...

... moreover, as I have explained before, there are no good arguments against capital punishment, per se. This is because *all* normative laws are at least implicitly backed up by the threat of violence-unto-death; therefore, any argument against capital punishment is *also* an argument against all normative laws. And, really, understanding this fact, one sees at once why it is that whenever "liberalism" gets hold of the levers of state power, social anarchy always ensues.

One Brow said...

Thank goodness we have the manly macho men here to tell us taht as long as the point of punishment is justice, noting that innocent men have been executed in it's pursuit is pointless sentimentality. It would be a shame to let the execution of the innocent stand in the way of justice.

Rasmus Møller said...

I agree (with C.S. Lewis and Ilion) that any retribution must be justified by being deserved, and _only_ by being deserved (by the offender).

Prevention/treatment/closure may be worthy goals, but must never replace desert.

I also agree that a criminal may deserve the death punishment.

However, I find it completely defensible (and commendable) that death sentences never be executed for pratical and principal reasons.

Human justice will always be fallible.

We are not worthy to take a human life, even of the worst scum, at our own discretion.

Mike Darus said...

"Closure" is a tricky term. Some grief counselors what to do away with the idea altogether. They argue that the loss will never be over or completely healed. Others who advocate for victim rights note that victims react in wildly different ways. Some dedicate themselves to the prosecution of the offender even to the point of using their own money to fight appeals. Other families make a point of forgiving the offender. "Closure" will be a poor justification for the death penalty in captial cases. Ilion has a stronger case in the concept of "justice." Here is the real controversy between the risk of letting the guilty off light or the risk of punishing the innocent.

JSA said...

Coincidentally, John D is covering this topic right now.

It seems patently obvious that people who know their loved one's murderer is walking free will feel less satisfied than someone who knows that "justice has been done". That's not the same as saying that the life of the wounded party goes back to normal after the killer is executed.