Saturday, December 10, 2005

Death Penalty In US

There are over 20,000 murders committed each year and yet less than two hundred are sent to death row. The death penalty is grossly partial. Two people commit identical crimes. One will be allowed to live, the other sentenced to die. It depends on the state and the city where the crime was committed to whether a person is sentenced to death or not.

When Christ himself was executed, he set a model response by his dying words: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And when confronted directly with the question of what to do in a capital case in his own society, Christ responded, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone." (John 8.) Christ's model of love, forgiveness and reconciliation does not leave room for the penalty of death.

Sister Helen Prejean author of Dead Man Walking, says, “ People ask me, "How is it that you, a Catholic nun, became involved in the death penalty?" The answer is very simple. I say: "Because I got involved in poor people." The death penalty is a poor person's issue. Always remember that: after all the rhetoric that goes on in the legislative assemblies, in the end, when the deck is cast out, it is the poor who are selected to die in this country. In the history of the death penalty it has always been that way. The rhetoric says that the death penalty will be reserved only for the most heinous crimes, but then when you look and begin to see how it is applied, you begin to see that in fact there is selectivity in process. And an integral part of it has to do with who gets killed.

In many of the debates over the death penalty, words are bandied about with little or no regard for their meaning. People even say that executing criminals does not take away from their dignity--if it is done with dignity. But the fact of the matter is that whether you're waiting to die by lethal injection--waiting for the poison to flow down your veins--or waiting for a bullet, or waiting for a rope, or waiting for gas, or waiting for the electric current--there is no difference: there is no lesser or greater dignity in dying because you're dying one way and not another. The practice of the death penalty is the practice of torture. And by the time the people I have been with finally climb into the chair to be killed, they have died a thousand times already because of their anticipation of the final horror."

In the past few years, we've found over one hundred people on death row to be innocent. That's the ones that DNA could prove were innocent. There are many more that DNA won't help, but are innocent nevertheless.

How is it right to kill so many innocent people in the name of justice to get a few. If we had the death penalty for all who killed, it might be somewhat fair. However, less than two hundred a year go to death row from over 20,000 murders committed each year, and out of those more than half will get their sentence overturned.

If you get the death penalty or not depends on the state and city the crime was committed, and not how horrible the crime was. Having the death penalty in the US makes us no better than those who kill.

We're only making new victims. The families of those condemned. We are ensuring that they will now feel the same pain as the family of those who were killed on the street. Vengenge. Not Justice.

To put someone in prison for the rest of their lives, with no chance of getting out is punishment. Then they will have to fight every day to stay alive. To think of what they did, of the lives they took. If you want to make someone suffer, that's the way to do it. Once the person is killed in the death penalty he is no longer being punished, but the family of that person are now the new victims.


Medical Abuse Death Sentence in Prison

We may be the most powerful and richest country in the world, but we’re surely not the kindest, or most humane. No matter how many times we speak out against the atrocities of other countries, when we allow it in our own, we are not a decent humane country, nor one that makes us proud. The proof of that is shown every single day in a prison or jail near you. The proof of that is when the wardens turn deaf ears to the cries of the wounded, raped and beaten inmates. The proof of that is when medical personnel stands by and watches a prisoner gasp for breath and turn their backs to walk away and the proof of that is when Governors of the states let these atrocities happen in their prisons without a word. That’s the America I know.

President Bush urged Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to make sure that any guilty U.S. soldiers be punished for "shameful and appalling acts." It’s too bad that Mr. Bush or Donald Rumsfeld don’t feel the same need to punish those guards who do the same in America.

The people of the US did not authorize torture of Iraqui prisoners directly, but in turning a blind eye we are condoning terrorist acts by our government since these acts are done in the name of the People of the United States, said Candyce Hawk, Workers Federation. “The government's response to these proven acts of torture in Iraq is to bust a couple of non-coms and take them to trial. This is unacceptable because anyone paying attention can readily see that this torture was commanded and authorized by the brass. Torture, murder, and terrorism in American prisons is worse and these problems are more widespread than the torture exposed in prisons in Iraq. Our society assuages its own conscience by reasoning that prison inmates deserve whatever happens to them. How do we come to that reasoning? The same way we come to the reasoning that Iraqi prisoners deserve whatever happens to them; Iraqis have been systematically villainized by the U.S. government.”

”A person in an American prison who has broken a law is punished by removal from society and incarcerated, she continues. “A judge hands down a sentence authorized by law to punish this person. In no sentence handed down in the U.S. do the words "torture and terrorize" appear as punishment for a crime. Yet torture and terrorize are part of almost every prison sentence in this country. The United States Constitution guarantees that every citizen be free from "cruel and unusual punishment." America was defined by these principles delineated in the Constitution. Yet these principles are violated in American prisons consistently while American citizens refuse to take the duty and responsibility, that every citizen has, to ensure that our principles are followed by all citizens. If we, as citizens, refuse to demand humane treatment for all people, we are a society without foundation, a society without a conscience, and a society in its death throes.”

But perhaps it’s because no one cares what happens in our prisons. That’s why not much is ever printed in the daily newspapers about the killings and rapes perpetrated on our prisoners. Not many have the courage to speak out, and when they do, they are silenced. The media lets it happen, our leaders let it happen, and our own people let it happen without a word. As long as it isn’t happening to your family, there’s no need to speak out. That’s why it’s happening every day in the US. Guards know that no one cares about what they do so they are free to commit these crimes.

The Texas prisons are one of the most brutal in the United States, and on October, 1999 a story in the Austin American Statesman detailed how female prisoners in Texas were regularly kept in portable detention cells for hours at a time in summer heat with no water. In fear of more time in the cages, the article explains, "many women submitted sexually to their oppressors and were raped, molested and forced to perform sodomy on their captors."

 
Again, In 1996, a videotape that surfaced that year depicting prison guards brutalizing inmates in the
Brazoria County Detention Center in Angleton, TX. The tape, which was originally shot for use as a training
video, showed riot-clad guards beating prisoners (arrested on drug violations) and forcing them to crawl
while kicking them and poking them with electric prods. Mr. Bush was the Governor of Texas and knew
that prisoner’s attorney Donna Brorby had described Texas super-max prisons as the worst in the country,
where guards reportedly gas prisoners and threw them down on concrete floors while handcuffed.

Horrific abuses, some similar to those revealed in Iraq, regularly
occur in U.S. prisons with little national attention or public outrage.
 
The Jeff Dicks Coalition who was formed after Jeff Dicks, wrongly convicted and sent to Tennessee’s
death row was repeatedly denied medical care until he was killed. After they killed Jeff, I decided to
speak out against the abuses I’ve witnessed over the years, and started the Jeff Dicks Coalition in
my son’s name. I’m appalled that the killing, raping, beatings and tortures that American prisoners
face each day is overlooked and accepted as a natural way of life here in the US of A. We who
demand human rights of other countries sit back and let our own prisoners be abused because they
committed a crime.

Their punishment is loss of freedom and not to be beaten, raped, denied medical
care and killed just because no one seems to care or notice. It hardly raises an eyebrow when the
newspapers report on some of them and surely no one is brought to trial for these deeds and if they are,
they not convicted.