Saturday, November 14, 2009

How to Punish

by Gita Rayavarapu

I agree with Kehinde's earlier post saying that that no one should have the right to sentence a person to death. However, I believe that as a society and as a country, we have been using it as a last resort. That begs the question-- if not with the death penalty, how do you punish a person's heinous crimes without some sort of violation of their rights?

At all times, a suspect is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. There are many constitutional rights which are meant to protect a suspect, including: the right to counsel, the right to not incriminate oneself, and avoiding searches or seizures without probable cause, with exceptions of course. Furthermore, suspects are not required to speak unless the Miranda warnings are read to him or her, and once in custody, courts generally do not condone interrogation, though it does happen.

So again, how do you punish someone who has committed punishable violent crimes? In Kehinde's post, I was bothered by the following statement: "I would argue that as human beings in the United States, we lack creativity...if our punishment for someone who killed is to put that person to death in return." Creativity is what allows for what the government would like to call "permissible interrogation/questioning" into torture. Torture, like the death penalty, violates many basic human rights. If you believe that the death sentence is not the way to go, I would also argue that torturing criminals who have caused a great amount of pain to innocent members in the community is also not permissible.

While I agree with Kehinde's commentary overall, I ultimately wonder if "punishment " is ever possible.

1 comment:

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