Myrtle Beach, SC, Orlando, FL October 9, 2015
Gastonia, NC Correspondent-I’m going to go counter to a lot of my previously rather conservative views here and state that not only do we not need an “express lane” on Death Row, but we need to re-examine the use of the death penalty overall, especially for those convicted before the advent of the most modern forensic investigation methods.
While I do not for a moment think that the death penalty should be abolished, in fact I think its application should be expanded to include serial rapists and child molesters, I do think there are too many people on death rows right now who have been put there based on the testimony of witnesses alone, absent sufficient scientific evidence.
I would like to see anyone on death row whose case was decided solely on witness testimony have their sentence commuted to life without parole. There have been far too many cases where witnesses changed their testimony years down the line, or detectives and officers were found to have used improper investigative techniques in their zeal to find the guilty party.
Once that has been done, and the convicts remaining are facing their fate based not only on witness testimony but on physical evidence, I would absolutely endorse a limitation on the number and type of appeals that can be filed. Spending 10 or 20 years or more awaiting the fulfillment of a death sentence is ridiculous. We have specialized traffic courts in every city in the nation where traffic tickets are handled in an expedited manner…why do we not have the same for the most severe penalty? Instead of having death penalty cases lumped in with other felonies and funneled through an already-overtaxed court system, lighten the load and put the capital crimes in front of staffs and judges specifically tasked with handling them.
As investigative technology advances, it becomes harder and harder for the guilty to hide and for the innocent to be convicted. There will always be a human element, however, which means especially in the case of the death penalty, some level of reconsideration will be warranted.
Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-With the ever escalating crime rate in America, and the number of serious crimes that are determined by courts to be punishable by death, it is more than time to reform death row policies that include shortening the amount of time prisoners occupy death row.
There should be expeditious procedures incorporated within the criminal justice system, as well as the prison systems themselves, to streamline the final punishment process for such prisoners. Death row reforms should be initiated at the state level in which state legislatures work closely with courts and prison administrators to draft appropriate constraining measures that are specifically designed for death row inmates.
Reforms should restrict appeals (number of appeals, and time limits of one year or less), minimal access to high level and costly attorneys, unpaid status for assigned prison duties while on death row, forfeiture of any prison benefits (or work payments) directly to a victim’s family, and restitution through final death benefits to a victim’s family. Other considerations, in the actual execution process, should include appropriate lethal drug combinations that provide cost effective, safe and adequate end-of-life procedures, which are of sufficient levels to not create complications during and after the execution process. In addition, to save taxpayer costs, death row inmates should be housed in a separate prison facility that is equipped to handle the execution process without exposure, politicization and sanctification of individual death row personalities. Such a system would not sensationalize the death row process and would also limit the notoriety of such inmates, particularly if they were separated from the public and publicity.
The appeals process for death row inmates is just part of the bureaucratic red tape that hinders the punishment phase of a sentence and keeps a victim’s family in emotional turmoil and limbo for years. While families languish in sorrow, grief and escalating anger, death row criminals are allowed to seek actions to stop their final punishment. State officials and prison systems must cut off the easy access to attorneys, special programs and any other benefits that prolong and extend the lives of such prisoners.
Obviously, there are falsely accused and convicted death row prisoners who have not committed the crimes of which they are accused, and they do deserve a certain amount of time to prove their innocence and advance their appeals, but the vast majority of death row criminals are above and beyond the appeal and intervention stage, and are only prolonging the inevitable.
The right type of rehabilitation and ethics tactics, to a certain extent, can be part of any prison reform program for death row inmates and less dangerous criminals, and most prison programs do incorporate such plans, but with so many unbalanced, psychotic and disturbed individuals within the system, these kinds of programs are limited at best and possible rehabilitation is only achieved through years of therapy and effective medications. With incorrigible, sociopathic and criminally insane individuals, ongoing prison or mental institution confinement presently appear to be the only alternatives for the safety of themselves and the public.
In order to offset overcrowded prisons, and alleviate taxpayer burdens and social turmoil, death row inmates must be given high priority for swift and sure implementation and delivery of final punishment and that can only be achieved through specific reforms that address the issues of death row criminals and what best serves society at large. Death row inmates must realize the cost of their crimes and the consequences for such crimes, including the reasons why they are facing the death penalty. Capital punishment must always serve as a deterrent to committing lethal crimes, and individuals that perpetrate such crimes must realize that they will not be allowed to game the system through appeals and other sidesteps to prolong their lives. They must not be allowed to enjoy a life that they denied their victims.
Sheffield, Jamaica Correspondent- Death row…I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. However, as a state related issue, I will say that death row is being drawn out. I vehemently believe that if someone, anyone is sentenced to death (especially when caught in the act), get it over with, as this does not benefit the convict and those involved! Policies governing a death row sentencing should definitely be reformed. To put a man on death row is costly…mostly for people like you and I who clothe them, feed them and even educate them through our taxes. What’s the point when that individual is already expected to die? Is rehabilitation really necessary, even when they will never again see the outside world?
As each individual is added to the death row queue, granting them at least 30 years to live does no good to the economic growth and stability of the country nor to the individual. Also, there are many convicts willing to die instead of being placed on a waiting list as if they were to take a call. This bears much light on the express lane… If a prisoner is already on death row and pines to die, grant the man his wish.