Social Question

NerdyKeith's avatar

What would you recommend as a realistic alternative to the death penalty?

Asked by NerdyKeith (5464points) April 13th, 2016

Now I know some people have the view that if someone commits murder; a death sentence is the only form of true justice. Personally I disagree.

But let us ask ourselves, if we had to chose an alternative to the death penalty what would it be?

Personally, I’d recommend solitary confinement.

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26 Answers

jca's avatar

Many states and jurisdictions are now limiting the terms of solitary confinement because of the mental stress that it can cause.

I think life in prison may be a worse punishment than death. Gangs, fighting, dealing with rules and regulations, dealing with limited choices of bad food, all that prisoners have to deal with….

ragingloli's avatar

Rehabilitation. If unsuccessful, life imprisonment.
No one has the right to decide that someone must die.
Not the murderer, not the vigilante, not the cop pig, not the state, not a god.

jca's avatar

@ragingloli: The problem with rehabilitation of prisoners is you don’t know that it’s failed until it’s too late. So the judge sets the criminal free and the criminal kills again. Now it’s too late for the newest victim and too late for the family who just lost their loved one, and there’s a public outcry against the judge who put the criminal back on the streets.

People come out of rehabilitation with glowing reports and wonderful intentions, and then freedom and real life changes things.

canidmajor's avatar

What to do with the irredeemable human.
Think Ted Bundy, who escaped during a transport (I believe to a courthouse to present an appeal) and committed more murders.
How does one remove a person completely from a society in which they have proven they no longer have a right to live?

Seek's avatar

I’m all for banishment.

cazzie's avatar

Even after admitting to killing 77 people and not being killed himself, his sense of entitlement is as Norwegian as ever.

I would like for him to go to the prison in Angola Louisiana.

And made to ride a bull (or be ridden by one….)

elbanditoroso's avatar


The French did it with Devils Island (penal colony in Guiana). The British did it with the state of Georgia and then also sending prisoners to Australia.

Send the prisoners away, let them fend for themselves. Either they day at each others’ hand, or they somehow create a working society.

In any event, they’re out of our hair.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

Solitary confinement is (rightfully) considered torture, which is arguably worse than the death penalty. So, I’d rule that out immediately.

If there are truly people who are beyond rehabilitation, then life in prison seems the only route to go. It leaves open the possibility that future evidence may reveal a person’s innocence, and in the meantime it keeps dangerous people separated from the general population.

janbb's avatar

Life in prison – solitary confinement should be ended as should the death penalty.

@cazzie Michael Moore’s new movie has a segment on the Norwegian penal system. Looks like a stay at a country club compared to our prisons.

rojo's avatar

Televised gladiatorial contests between murderers.

The winner gets to compete again next week.

ibstubro's avatar

There is not good solution in the current state.

If we really gave a shit we’d double-down on mental health research and ways to bring people up out of poverty.
The human population is still rising while resources to support it are shrinking. What happens when we reach the tipping point were humans can no longer afford to support non-productive members of society? Our land mass is shrinking steadily, worldwide.

Look at Trump and the attitude he represents regarding refugees and immigrants. Is it so far fetched that, if elected president, he might turn his attention to the non-productive people confined to prisons?

Trump promises to “relocate” 17,000 immigrants to Mexico per day. How would that not translate into ‘death camps’. When he gets done with the immigrants, how about we empty the max security prisons? Some slums?

Crime and criminals are a human problem as old as the species, and we’re not better at dealing with it than we ever have been.

ucme's avatar

Place them on Murder Island & let them get on with it

SavoirFaire's avatar

The obvious alternative is life in prison without the chance of parole. It costs much more to put a person to death than it does to keep them in prison for life, and this is true at all stages of the process. Death penalty trials are longer. Prosecutors and defenders alike spend more time on them. A death sentence triggers automatic appeals. And maintaining a prisoner on death row costs more than maintaining a prisoner in the general population. So I don’t see how life in prison is less realistic than putting someone to death. It’s certainly more affordable—and more humane.

“But where are we going to put them?” someone asks, “Our prisons are already overcrowded.” Simple. Legalize marijuana and release every non-violent offender in prison for merely buying, selling, or possessing the drug. If that’s not enough, start looking at non-violent offenders in other drug cases.

ibstubro's avatar

In all seriousness, in the age of personal drones, banishment is not an option.

Unless you’re talking about the millionaire’s race to get the fuck off this planet and leave it to the have-nots.
Best of luck.
I hope they remember their affluenza shots.

Jak's avatar

Ayahuasca. Ten doses over a period of a couple weeks.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@Jak interesting proposal, I’m not sure if brainwashing inmates is ethical in my opinion.

Jak's avatar

If you think ingesting aya is brainwashing then there is no point in discussing it. I would suggest some informational sites to you but I understand that people pick and choose what they want to believe and then look for supporting evidence, refusing all other info and evidence. Hence climate change deniers. Stay with what you’re comfortable with.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Jak In the time that he has been here, @NerdyKeith has shown himself to be very open to new information. Why not consider the possibility that he simply doesn’t understand your proposal and explain it further before accusing him of being closed-minded?

NerdyKeith's avatar

@Jak There is no need to be hostile towards me. I am a nice person if you get to know me. I have no ill feelings towards you. Just because we don’t see eye to eye on some other issues, doesn’t mean we cannot be civil.

I am perfectly happy to be educated to why you hold the view that “Ayahuasca” is not brainwashing. Perhaps I was wrong in my conclusion. I do not pick and chose what I want to believe. But I do expect supporting evidence for facts. I am perfectly content with entertaining all sides to this or any other issue.

To be honest I find you remark “Stay with what you’re comfortable with.” to be rather condescending and quite frankly rude.

I have changed my mind on many notions, issues and perceptions in the past. So I would greatly appreciate it if you would not make assumptions of my character. If there are certain topics of mine that you have no interest in participating, you are perfectly free to skip over them.

Jak's avatar

Overreact much? If you wanted to be educated perhaps you should reconsider dismissing my suggestion without first understanding. You could have asked. You didn’t like my conclusion about you but I based it on your knee-jerk reaction. Don’t see eye to eye? I don’t see eye to eye with most people. You overestimate your importance in my day. The fact that I answered your question should be enough to tell you that I was interested. If I disagreed with you before, I don’t remember. You asked for opinions about a viable alternative to death. I strongly believe in Ayahuasca as an alternative. I also believe anyone who is in public office should experience it, several times. The ball is in your court.

NerdyKeith's avatar

No, I have not overreacted at all. You seem to have a habit of turning a lot of debates into a personal attack and you were indeed condescending. I was as polite as I could possibly be, given the tone of your response. And this is not the first time you have attempted to analyse my character.

Personally, I don’t recommend making debates personal. I tend to stick to the issues.

So with that all said, I will return to the issue. Believe it or not, I appreciate your insight and opinion that Ayahuasca is a suitable alternative. Thats your opinion, I respect that. Now, I’m no expert on ayahuasca, and when you mentioned it I did a quick definition to see what exactly you are suggesting. It is defined an hallucinogenic drink.

Then I thought to myself… hmm maybe I wasn’t thorough enough with finding more information about that. So I tried to find more detailed information about ayahuasca and its side effects. So I came across a breakdown of the side effects on a website called Live Strong, and it goes into some detail about ayahuasca having side effects of hallucinations, among other side effects.

Do you agree that ayahuasca causes hallucinations? And do you agree that excessive occurrences of hallucinations can and will lead to severe brainwashing?

Like I said, I’m willing to hear all sides on this issue. Please correct me if I’m wrong here.

Jak's avatar

Ummmm, I don’t see the connection between hallucinations and brainwashing. I read the article twice, and I don’t know where that idea came from. I can not say that you are wrong, as brainwashing is not something I ever considered, so I have no facts to dispute it. But I do not agree, though I will say that when Iboga, (another hallucinogenic cerimonial drug from West Africa) is used to treat addicions, special care is taken for several weeks afterward. Iboga “resets” you to the place you were before your addiction(s) began. For that reason, care must be taken not to fall back into old patterns. This is why it is administered by a Shaman, or at clinic under a physician and medical staffs care. The point of the experience is spiritual, and not everyone is ready. For that reason alone a Shaman may not actually want to administer it to a murderer or sociopath or whatever. Intent is a big part of the experience. I have jokingly suggested that Trump be kidnapped and force fed Aya. There are most likely some unethical people who would misuse the medicine and I know that there have been a couple incidents lately that have garnered some negative publicity, but that is to be expected with anything that attracts pilgrims and experience seekers. Arrogant westerners show up and don’t take it seriously. But you should expect some unpleasantness. Facing down your demons and getting rid of negative blocks in your life is something from which we could all benefit, but few feel the desire or….. whatever it is that drives some to the experience. It tastes HORRIBLE, it makes you puke and sometimes poo. The Shaman encourages this as part of the purging and he considers it necessary. But it is called the vine of the soul and the smart vine for a reason. It seems to have a consciousness all its own and there are hundreds of testimonials from westerners who have been healed of all sorts of mental, emotional and physical illnesses. If the two links you provided were all the information that you had about it, you were limited indeed. I recommend Graham Hancocks Supernatural, and this, this, and this. And I would like to take this opportunity to apologize. You are correct that I did act in a hostile manner towards you. I projected immediately a conversation that I had with an older female. She said “It messes with your mind.” After I went into it in depth for about 20 minutes with facts and anecdotes, she said “Well, I don’t like it, it messes with your mind.” I did not consciously process this, but that was at the root of it, so I did not even try to explain my position. I had no business gaffing you off because I had wasted my breath on her. Or equating you to her on any level. So please, accept my sincere apology if you can. Another time I will try to process all the way through before I react. My anger towards you is nothing more than a reflection of how I feel about myself. Thank you for the lesson.

Zaku's avatar

Solitary is horrible and probably shouldn’t be used for anyone. Read some of the research on its effects on people.

The system in Norway seems to work really well for them. Rehabilitation, not punishment. Maximum sentence is 22 years, as applied even to the guy who shot an entire camp of children. Where to Invade Next shows a good view of that.

I’ve met several people who have killed people and done sentences for it, and other people from prison, who are now very responsible and really good people.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@Jak, Ok well I think we might have to agree to disagree on this issue. I’m not suggesting that I have any sort of taboo feelings on substances such as this. Personally I wouldn’t be interested in taking them myself. But I’m of the opinion that all recreational substances like this should be legal but regulated. I know ayahuasca is not viewed as a recreational substances, but many have argued that it has similar side effects to recreational drugs.

With that said, I’m still on the fence if ayahuasca. Regardless if the hallucinations do lead to brainwashing or brain damage in the long run. Based on what I’ve read so far, there is no direct evidence for that. But I don’t believe there is evidence against phycological damage in the long run. I have come across some cases (rare cases) were people have died from its usage. But this is usually in conjunction with the individuals already taking other medications and with medical problems.

But your sources certainly provide a very interesting insight to the experiences of its usage.

And I accept your apology Jak. I just want us all to get along, while communicating our views and opinions (no matter how different they are) within a debate. I have to admit I was rather sceptical about ayahuasca when you first brought it up. Although I don’t normally take substances like this, I might one day consider trying it to see if I benefit form it. So you perhaps have thought me a lesson in that regard too.

You are welcome Jak, I’m so glad we could move past this.

cazzie's avatar

Project artichoke,

Is why mind altering drugs are not given to prisoners. (anymore)

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