Is prison the best place for criminals?

Moreover, it is not clear why governments cannot spend the savings from capital punishment on the education of minors before they reach adulthood when the vast majority of serious crimes are committed. Minors are much easier to program with proper conduct than adults. Therefore taxation revenue would be better spent on the education of minors before they run the risk of committing serious crimes in adulthood, rather than the ineffective and costly reformation of criminals who know that they will never face capital punishment.

Protection of public

It is argued that prisons offer the public protection from criminals especially serial offenders. Certainly, this is the case for the criminal, but again at what cost to society?

Capital punishment is less costly to the society and gives better protection to the public as there is no possibility of prisoner escapes or serial offending.

Discrimination against minorities

It is argued that capital punishment is unfairly applied to minorities who do not have access to proper legal assistance and suffer racial prejudice. This is certainly true.

However, minorities are also significantly overrepresented in prisons, for example, African Americans in the United States, Roma in Central Europe, Aborigines in Australia, and Maori in New Zealand.

Therefore this is an argument for the promotion of racial awareness and understanding.

Lower penalty from miscarriage of justice

It is argued that even in a well-run capital punishment system it is not possible to ensure that only those who are deserving of death are executed. There always remains a small risk that an innocent will be unjustly executed. Prisons avoid this risk.

However, again at what cost to society and the relatives of the majority of victims for whom it is evident that the criminal is guilty? Why should the vast majority of criminals who are guilty be saved at the expense of a few innocents? Why should the overwhelming benefits of capital punishment to society and the injured parties be waived in favour of the cost to a minority of innocents?

Capital punishment is torture

It is argued that prisons avoid the tortuous methods historically used in capital punishment, such as:

  • In Ancient Rome, being hurled from the Tarpeian Rock; being drowned in a sealed bag with a dog, cock, ape, and viper; being forced into gladiatorial combat; or being crucified;
  • In Ancient China, being sawed in half; being flayed alive; or being boiled alive;
  • In Medieval Europe, being “broken” on the wheel; boiled in oil; burnt at the stake; decapitated by the guillotine or an axe; hung; drawn and quartered; and drowned

While this is true, it is not clear why less tortuous methods of capital punishment cannot be devised. Indeed, by the end of the twentieth century many jurisdictions had adopted death by lethal injection.

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