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Should there be Dignity in Executions?

Should there be Dignity in Executions?

SHOULD THERE BE DIGNITY IN EXECUTIONS? – Death by lethal injection has been the favored method for prisons to execute prisoners for 30 years since it acts quickly, minimalizes the inmates discomfort and is cost effective.  Unfortunately, the recent execution of inmate Dennis McGuire has led to speculation that lethal injection may not be the best method.

With thousands of inmates sitting on death row Ohio and several other states are looking to go back to simpler times; to the days when the death penalty was carried out by electrocution, hanging or with a good old-fashioned shooting by firing squad.

For the whole story read:  Wall Street Journal Law Blog Reader Dee says…

McGuire’s execution was performed using a new drug mix that was supposed to take effect within 10 minutes but according to reports, his death lasted nearly 25 minutes during which he was seen thrashing and gasping for air.

His children, who witnessed the execution feel that it was inhumane and are attempting to sue both the state and the manufacturer of the drug.  An investigation has been launched into the drug, how it was administered and into allegations that McGuire was faking his response to the drug in an effort to sway public opinion against the death penalty.

Also opposing the results of McGuire’s death is the next prisoner slated for lethal injection; he and 91 other plaintiffs have asked a federal judge to declare that Ohio’s execution protocol violates the constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment. If passed, Ohio will need to use alternative methods of execution.

Is there a humane way to end someone’s life and how important is it to be humane when the life is sitting on death row because of their own heinous crime(s.)

Over the years we have become a sympathetic nation to the point that prisoners now live their life in prison very similar to how they would live it if they were free.  Gone are the days seen now only in movies, when prisoners were restricted in their activities and felt the weight of punishment.

Today’s prisoner has a choice of meals, free healthcare, the opportunity for a college education and they can make money by working within the prison laundry, cafeteria and other areas.  Many prisons offer conjugal visits resulting in several prisoners growing their families and every death row inmate has the right to appeal their execution date several times.

Even though being in prison separates them from family and society, with all the amenities they have access to,  it doesn’t sound much like punishment.  Isn’t that why prisons were set up, to bring punishment to an individual for breaking the law?

What has happened over the years that has caused us to worry more about the prisoner than about justice; that the saying “Let the punishment fit the crime” is no longer applied and most of all, why do we allow someone on death row to live an additional 14 years or as in the case of McGuire, nearly 25 years before their sentence is carried out?

It is an insult to all Americans that the system has failed so drastically; it affects the families of victims, the family of the convicted and the prison system.

Being placed on death row is not a snap decision; it takes time and money, lots of it for trials can be lengthy and there is never a sure outcome since the verdict is decided by a jury.

Once the verdict comes back with a death row sentence, the execution process should be set in motion; it has been decided that their punishment is to be removed from the face of the earth.

Instead, what happens is the convicted person’s name is added to the bottom of a very long list filled with the names of others who are waiting for their judgment day.

The death penalty has been constitutional since the founding of our country and back then, justice was carried out immediately following the verdict and publicly.  Times have changed and in our efforts to be more humane, not only can the case be questioned repeatedly and the execution date pushed back, now there are those who want the convicted to die a peaceful death.

Bull!!  How peaceful of a death was afforded to whomever they killed; not only that but few people experience a peaceful death.  I wouldn’t think that death by heart attack or having cancer slowly eat away at my insides would be considered peaceful no matter how medicated I was.

In the news years ago was a man on death row who opted to be hanged when his time for execution came around.  After exhausting all available appeals, he began stuffing himself with as much food as possible, even bargaining with other inmates for their food.

By the time of his execution, he weighed in at almost 400 pounds and pleaded with staff not to allow him to be executed and he wasn’t; on the grounds that it would have been inhumane; the sheer width of his neck deemed it impossible to guarantee that the fall would break his neck and end his life.

Right then, the decision to hang should have been taken out of his hands and the execution should have gone on using lethal injection.  Instead, this prisoner not only set a precedent but started a movement of “death row advocates” who feel it is their duty to insure that any execution performed will not bring additional harm to the inmate.

An execution is not meant to be a form of torture and the dignity of an execution can be maintained when the life is ended quickly. Keeping that in mind, lethal injection, electrocution, hanging and beheading are acceptable methods when done properly and the equipment is maintained.   It will never be painless for the convicted or their families and to think otherwise is unreasonable.

Dignity is not the problem; the real problem with executions is that a life is being taken and even though it may be justified on paper, it goes against our nature as human beings.

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