This is a blog to discuss philosophy, chess, politics,
C. S. Lewis, or whatever it is that I'm in the mood to discuss.
Thursday, April 06, 2017
Appearing tough on crime, and being tough on crime. Problems for the death penalty
One problem with the death penalty is that if evidence ever arises that shows that an innocent person was punished, then you can let them out of prison. If on the other hand, you have already executed them, then all you can do is put flowers on the grave. Isn't it best to imprison rather than increase the risk of miscarriage of justice?
Also, for the exact reason I mentioned, death penalty defendants get a many more appeals than lifers. So the idea that executing a prisoner is cheaper than feeding them for life in jail is based on a misconception. There is a sense in which families get less closure in a death case, they have to relive their loved one's death again and again every time the killer is on trial.
Sometimes what feels tough on crime really isn't. In my county in Arizona we just got rid of Joe Arpaio, a sheriff who was an expert at making himself appear tough on crime. But appearing tough on crime is different from being tough on crime.