It is time to get rid of the death penalty

In an earlier post of mine on Free Will and Determinism, I argued that it seems clear to me that the justice system should allow rehabilitation to take precedent over retribution.  The strongest example of where this approach needs to be taken is in the most serious of crimes, where certain countries or states seek the death penalty against the defendant.

Now the New York Times is reporting that the American Law Institute, which developed the framework for capital punishment in the US, can no longer endorse this project:

“The A.L.I. is important on a lot of topics,” said Franklin E. Zimring, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley. “They were absolutely singular on this topic” — capital punishment — “because they were the only intellectually respectable support for the death penalty system in the United States.”

A study commissioned by the institute said that decades of experience had proved that the system could not reconcile the twin goals of individualized decisions about who should be executed and systemic fairness. It added that capital punishment was plagued by racial disparities; was enormously expensive even as many defense lawyers were underpaid and some were incompetent; risked executing innocent people; and was undermined by the politics that come with judicial elections.

Hopefully this will help continue the landslide away from capital punishment in the US, though the problem still rages on in areas like the Middle East.


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