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View Full Version : Question about the Death Penalty vs. Life in Prison


bobindashadows
Sep 3, 2003, 07:04 PM
Isn't giving someone Life in Prison, without Parole, also killing them?

The debate with the Death Penalty is whether we have a right to kill people, correct? (feel free to latch on to this and spin it out of proportion)

Isn't the alternative also killing them? The only difference is that they get to spend more time with their family, and a chance to grow old and suffer in their cell until they die of something else, like natural causes, disease, or murdered by another inmate. (or a combination of the above... however that might work)

zimv20
Sep 3, 2003, 07:12 PM
Originally posted by bobindashadows
Isn't giving someone Life in Prison, without Parole, also killing them?


errrr.... no.

IJ Reilly
Sep 3, 2003, 07:30 PM
You might as well say that the person the prisoner murdered isn't really dead, but is actually sleeping underground in a box.

Oy yeh, my head hurts.

bobindashadows
Sep 3, 2003, 08:04 PM
Originally posted by zimv20
errrr.... no.
Yeah, screw it. That was a stupid idea. Though IJ Reilly's statement doesn't make any sense to me.

RobVanDam
Sep 3, 2003, 09:00 PM
There would be a point saying that Life in Prison is more expensive than the death penalty, however for some reason people don't know how to be efficient. Keeping someone alive in prison costs in the range of $10,000 - $25,000 per year. You can kill someone for under $10,000 very humanely (sp I know, I'm too tired to get it checked though).

It could also be argued that life in prison without parole and no way of getting out is torture. So not only would they die in prison, they would have also been tortured on top of that.

Bah, I'm too tired to even understand that myself. If no one understands I'll come back tomorrow after I get some sleep, g'night all.

Ugg
Sep 3, 2003, 09:31 PM
Originally posted by RobVanDam
There would be a point saying that Life in Prison is more expensive than the death penalty, however for some reason people don't know how to be efficient.

Nazi Germany was efficient but there was no justice. Hopefully the US values justice over efficiency?

IJ Reilly
Sep 4, 2003, 12:09 AM
Originally posted by bobindashadows
Yeah, screw it. That was a stupid idea. Though IJ Reilly's statement doesn't make any sense to me.

It wasn't meant to.

Inu
Sep 4, 2003, 02:29 AM
You might see it in a religious way (as it seems, religion has a big place in some areas of the US): If you make a sinner (well, murder sure is, no matter what religion (*cough* 10 Commandments *cough*)) suffer and see the error of his ways, he might get a chance of "getting away better" in the afterlife (be it heaven, or a better shot at reincarting, whatever floats your boat).

From an atheistic point of view, there is no reason to keep the criminal suffering and using up ressources, besides the fact that he could be innocent and his innocence could only be prooved in the years to come (real Criminal shows up, new forensic Methods reveal real Criminal (DNA Tests werent there 10 Years or so ago)). If the (now proven) innocent is already dead... Releasing him wouldnt make sense.

RobVanDam
Sep 4, 2003, 05:24 PM
Originally posted by Ugg
Nazi Germany was efficient but there was no justice. Hopefully the US values justice over efficiency? How hard is it to execute people fairly while giving them a fair trial and cheaply? The actual execution should cost well under $1,000. The judges and such pay shouldn't really count because they'd most likely be at work if the appeal was made or not. That would leave the only cost to a public defender, which would not even be close to the cost of incarceration for say 30 years ($300,000-$600,000). Where's all this extra cost coming from?

Ugg
Sep 4, 2003, 05:47 PM
Originally posted by RobVanDam
How hard is it to execute people fairly while giving them a fair trial and cheaply? The actual execution should cost well under $1,000. The judges and such pay shouldn't really count because they'd most likely be at work if the appeal was made or not. That would leave the only cost to a public defender, which would not even be close to the cost of incarceration for say 30 years ($300,000-$600,000). Where's all this extra cost coming from?

I'm not sure where your estimate came from but it seems naively low, perhaps you could come up with a source for the true costs of killing someone?. More of a judge's time means fewer trials that he can hear which means more of a backlog or hiring more judges. The same with the prosecutor and the clerk and the recorder, the public liason. Executions have to be staged which requires a great deal of coordination. My estimate is closer to $100,000, excluding court costs. Of course the more people killed by a state, the costs would go down somewhat I would think, on a per body basis.

cc bcc
Sep 4, 2003, 06:00 PM
Originally posted by bobindashadows
The debate with the Death Penalty is whether we have a right to kill people, correct? (feel free to latch on to this and spin it out of proportion)
OK (disagreeing, does that automatically spins it out of proportions?):
I think it's barbaric and I don't get it why a civilised country still uses the death penalty.
I think the usa is the only "civilised" country that still executes prisoners. Too bad it portrays itself as the "one and only" civilised country, the rolemodel for the rest of the world.
Other than that, I think it's wrong to kill to prevent killing, it doesn't make sense. If killing is promoted by a government as a viable way of punishment, some other people might get that same idea. Are there any numbers out there that might tell me it's the other way around?

Backtothemac
Sep 4, 2003, 07:39 PM
No, it is different. To die of natural causes while locked up is one thing. To be led down a hallway, strapped to a chair or table, and have your life taken is another. Not nearly the same thing.

RobVanDam
Sep 4, 2003, 07:53 PM
Originally posted by Ugg
I'm not sure where your estimate came from but it seems naively low, perhaps you could come up with a source for the true costs of killing someone?. More of a judge's time means fewer trials that he can hear which means more of a backlog or hiring more judges. The same with the prosecutor and the clerk and the recorder, the public liason. Executions have to be staged which requires a great deal of coordination. My estimate is closer to $100,000, excluding court costs. Of course the more people killed by a state, the costs would go down somewhat I would think, on a per body basis. My estimate came from common sense knowledge. You give me even $100 at noon, by midnight I'd have a reasonable form of execution that does not cause pain. Many things in government are overdone, the death penalty being one of them.

Ugg
Sep 4, 2003, 08:11 PM
Originally posted by RobVanDam
My estimate came from common sense knowledge. You give me even $100 at noon, by midnight I'd have a reasonable form of execution that does not cause pain. Many things in government are overdone, the death penalty being one of them.

Not long ago I read that Saudi Arabia has an official executioner. He uses an axe or a sword to behead and behand (?) people. Of course there is a lot of so-called Muslim justice involved and the sword is specially made but I doubt even his costs run under a $100 per event.

I'm sure you could kill someone for under $100 but the issue is, would justice be served in the manner you chose?

I think part of the problem with the cost of state-sanctioned killings is that it brings out the ghoulish side of people and the cost of having observers must be substantial.

I agree with you that the death penalty is overdone. It does not serve as a deterrent nor is it a sign of an enlightened society.

RobVanDam
Sep 4, 2003, 08:24 PM
Axes and swords are very inhumane ways of killing though, seeing as in many cases people don't die on the first hit.

I mean there are plenty of reasonable ways to kill someone humanely and cheaply, it just takes a little know how. I don't quite understand though what you mean by "would justice be served in the manner you chose?"

zimv20
Sep 4, 2003, 08:30 PM
Originally posted by RobVanDam

I mean there are plenty of reasonable ways to kill someone humanely and cheaply, it just takes a little know how.

using cost as an argument for capital punishment is boorish.

RobVanDam
Sep 4, 2003, 08:36 PM
I bring that up however because I often hear things like "killing someone costs as much money as it does to incarcerate them for life."

zimv20
Sep 4, 2003, 08:55 PM
Originally posted by RobVanDam
I bring that up however because I often hear things like "killing someone costs as much money as it does to incarcerate them for life."

then incarcerating someone for life is just the cost of "doing business." having a civilized society incurs costs and that's something we just have to accept.

when we start talking of killing people who incur too much cost, i'd say we've lost our civilized society.

Backtothemac
Sep 4, 2003, 09:17 PM
Originally posted by zimv20
then incarcerating someone for life is just the cost of "doing business." having a civilized society incurs costs and that's something we just have to accept.

when we start talking of killing people who incur too much cost, i'd say we've lost our civilized society.

I have to say that I think killing them should be an option for the most violent criminals especially those that kill children.

mactastic
Sep 4, 2003, 09:23 PM
I've always thought that it would be pretty hard to argue cruel and unusual punishment if you gave someone a massive dose of heroin. Pretty cheap too. I'm still morally opposed though.

pseudobrit
Sep 4, 2003, 09:56 PM
Originally posted by RobVanDam
My estimate came from common sense knowledge. You give me even $100 at noon, by midnight I'd have a reasonable form of execution that does not cause pain. Many things in government are overdone, the death penalty being one of them.

Wow, you can find a flock of lawyers, judges and court staff willing to work hundreds of billable hours for just $100?

What happens if your bargain basement execution goes awry? You can get a medical examiner and enough guards and personnel for an execution for $100?

Putting someone to death isn't quite as simple as putting your old dog down at the vet, you know... :rolleyes:

...if you were on death row or had a loved one who was, you'dn't want a $100 execution. Why should that change just because it's someone else? Do unto others... judge not lest ye be judged...

It would be invariably dangerous (might not work right away, might hurt others, etc.), cruel, inefficient and imprecise.

pseudobrit
Sep 4, 2003, 10:02 PM
Originally posted by bobindashadows
Yeah, screw it. That was a stupid idea.

I'm glad you quickly saw the fallacy of your original argument.

It's a sad day for our society when someone who's been killed by their state is found innocent.

It's a wonderful day for justice when someone who's been "killed" (sentenced to life in prison) is found innocent and set free (or guilty of a lesser crime, or found to not have recieved a fair trial and gets a new one with a new, fair sentence), which happens at an alarming rate.

Ugg
Sep 4, 2003, 10:03 PM
Originally posted by RobVanDam
I bring that up however because I often hear things like "killing someone costs as much money as it does to incarcerate them for life."

You've got that one wrong, it costs more. Life sentences are rarely appealed, death sentences always are, even when the person to be killed doesn't want an appeal. That is part of justice, making sure that there are no mistakes when handing out the ultimate in sentences. Of course, there have been plenty of overturned sentences proving that justice is rarely just especially if you are a black person who supposedly killed a white person.

Why this obsession with the death penalty? It seems morbid to me, wanting to see another person killed.

zimv20
Sep 4, 2003, 10:26 PM
Originally posted by Backtothemac
I have to say that I think killing them should be an option for the most violent criminals especially those that kill children.

and that's a whole different discussion. a much more valuable one ("does their act merit continued life?") than the cost argument ("it's cheaper to kill them than house/feed them").

i'm morally opposed to capital punishment, but i think you know that.

RobVanDam
Sep 4, 2003, 10:38 PM
Originally posted by pseudobrit
Wow, you can find a flock of lawyers, judges and court staff willing to work hundreds of billable hours for just $100?

What happens if your bargain basement execution goes awry? You can get a medical examiner and enough guards and personnel for an execution for $100?

Putting someone to death isn't quite as simple as putting your old dog down at the vet, you know... :rolleyes:

...if you were on death row or had a loved one who was, you'dn't want a $100 execution. Why should that change just because it's someone else? Do unto others... judge not lest ye be judged...

It would be invariably dangerous (might not work right away, might hurt others, etc.), cruel, inefficient and imprecise. The DA's are already working, judges often have many cases to look over nowadays.

Guards aren't paid much more for an execution, if they are paid more at all. ME's aren't that expensive, overall under $1,000 is very reasonable. But is it possible to execute someone for $100? Yes, shoot them full of tranquilizers while they're in their cell to the point where they go into a coma, then you could kill them via rifle shot to the heart. If that doesn't work, then it is truely an act of god as someone would survive a probably overdose of tranquilizers, while having no heart.

If I had a loved one who was on death row, would I want them to have a $100 execution? Sure, it's cheap, effective, and doesn't cause any pain if executed correctly (like the above method which is basically idiot proof).

pseudobrit
Sep 4, 2003, 10:46 PM
Originally posted by RobVanDam
The DA's are already working, judges often have many cases to look over nowadays.

So you think it's cheap afterall? Where do you get your ideas from? The legal process is the most expensive part.

Guards aren't paid much more for an execution, if they are paid more at all. ME's aren't that expensive, overall under $1,000 is very reasonable. But is it possible to execute someone for $100? Yes,

So you think you don't need the ME afterall? Which is it? $1000 or $100? Who's going to declare him medically dead and give the legally required notice that the sentence has been carried out?

shoot them full of tranquilizers while they're in their cell to the point where they go into a coma, then you could kill them via rifle shot to the heart. If that doesn't work, then it is truely an act of god as someone would survive a probably overdose of tranquilizers, while having no heart.

What if they're allergic to the tranquilizers? What if the tranquilizers aren't as effective as you thought? What if you can't find a vein? Do you think introducing a gun into a emotionally charged affair inside a prison is a good idea?

it's cheap, effective, and doesn't cause any pain if executed correctly (like the above method which is basically idiot proof).

You're ignoring Murphy's Law.

IJ Reilly
Sep 4, 2003, 10:56 PM
Originally posted by zimv20
using cost as an argument for capital punishment is boorish.

Frightening is the word I'd use. Maybe we should privatize the courts -- that'd really make the process even more efficient.

zimv20
Sep 4, 2003, 11:24 PM
Originally posted by IJ Reilly
Maybe we should privatize the courts -- that'd really make the process even more efficient.

or give sylvester stallone a flying motorcycle and let him handle it

RobVanDam
Sep 5, 2003, 01:36 AM
What if they're allergic to the tranquilizers? What if the tranquilizers aren't as effective as you thought? What if you can't find a vein? Do you think introducing a gun into a emotionally charged affair inside a prison is a good idea?You shoot them with tranquilizers as in shoot, like the elephant dart tranquilzers. That will knock someone out. You take them either outside with a dirt backstop and tie them down to a chair and shoot them in the heart, or take them into a concrete room, install a make-shift backstop, shoot them in the heart.

You're ignoring Murphy's LawYou give them too much tranquilizer and they die. What else could go wrong? You miss with the gunshot? I'll elaborate on how modern executions by firing squads are handled (last one occured a few years ago in Utah I believe on request.) A chair is set up, a make-shift backstop is installed, 5 marksmen a very short distance away aim for the heart, one or two marksmen have a blank so they don't have to deal with the "guilt" factor. Everyone fires at once, the guy is declared dead because he literally has no heart left. The same thing can be accomplished with one person. The guns are now set up on gun stands, the only way something will go wrong is if they want the person to suffer on purpose and aim for the midsection which would cause death to be prolonged, but the person probably wouldn't feel it considering they are out cold from the tranquilizers.

So basically the only problem can be an OD on tranquilzers, which could kill the person.

zimv20
Sep 5, 2003, 01:43 AM
or, to be even more efficient, wait until about a dozen are to be executed. then tell them they're taking a shower. send them in, lock the Gasdichtetur, errrr... airtight door, and send deadly chemical gasses through the fake shower heads.

see? now THAT's efficient! and -- you save costs on last meals!

pseudobrit
Sep 5, 2003, 02:56 AM
Originally posted by RobVanDam
You shoot them with tranquilizers as in shoot, like the elephant dart tranquilzers. That will knock someone out. You take them either outside with a dirt backstop and tie them down to a chair and shoot them in the heart, or take them into a concrete room, install a make-shift backstop, shoot them in the heart.

Wow. Sounds eerily like how the British murdered the Irish after the Easter Rising in 1916. Their actions then are nearly universally reviled today.

You give them too much tranquilizer and they die. What else could go wrong? You miss with the gunshot?

Um, yeah, for starters. That's the idea of Murphy's Law. And I know how firing squad executions are carried out, so spare me the lecture.

So basically the only problem can be an OD on tranquilzers, which could kill the person.

Or "kill" him to the point where he wakes up in the morgue the next day.

You don't see anything slightly barbaric in the image of a warden firing elephant tranquilizer at a prisoner as he tries to scurry away, then shooting him through the heart?

Inu
Sep 5, 2003, 03:55 AM
Originally posted by pseudobrit

Or "kill" him to the point where he wakes up in the morgue the next day.

You don't see anything slightly barbaric in the image of a warden firing elephant tranquilizer at a prisoner as he tries to scurry away, then shooting him through the heart?

The first guy who wakes up in the morge the next day, finds out he has basically no heart left and only few bits of his lungs, and lives long enough to expresses shock and pain (or even feels it) is basically a medical wonder. really. I cant see your point there pb.

I dont see anything more barbaric in killing a criminal in either way, AFTER you deceided to kill him. When you deceide that a killing takes place, i dont care how it is handled. The act of "barbarism" is already done in the decision, making a big fuss about how much pain the subject feels is just wussy.
I mean, seriously: The man didnt care how much pain he infliced on his own victims and the relatives thereof, do we really care if he expiriences what - maybe 10 seconds of ultimate pain or 1 minute?

mactastic
Sep 5, 2003, 08:05 AM
You wouldn't find anyone to clean up the mess in the cell for under $100.

Inu
Sep 5, 2003, 08:59 AM
Originally posted by mactastic
You wouldn't find anyone to clean up the mess in the cell for under $100.

A disgusting detail you mention there, but it shows that 100$ are too low anyway.
I would aim for about 5'000 to 10'000 depending on location.
Certainly not 100'000 but it never ceases to amaze me what things really cost.

In Switzerland it costs outreageous amouts of cash to keep someone jailed, and they dont work to compensate. Seems to me, if you want to get jailed, come over here.... Better treatment, no death penalty.