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Why Prison Is Not Enough For The Worst Murderers

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Chris Cuomo, Gerry Wagschall, Joseph Rhee, and Lauren Effron have this story at ABC Nightline:

Most people imagine prison life for convicted murderers as being harsh, brutal, and isolated, a real-life "Shawshank Redemption."

So when convicted killer Danny Robbie Hembree Jr., 50, wrote a letter in January to the Gaston Gazette in North Carolina, gloating about his comfortable life on death row, it got plenty of attention.

"Is the public aware that I am a gentleman of leisure, watching color TV in the A.C., reading, taking naps at will, eating three, well-balanced, hot meals a day," Hembree wrote.

Critics say too often, at prisons across the country, convicted killers pass the time playing dominos and basketball, use well-stocked commissaries selling snacks and sodas, and enjoy state-of-the-art gyms, or time in the arts and crafts room.

Most prominent of the critics is our friend Professor Robert Blecker, who is featured in tonight's Nightline episode.  The episode will air at 11:35 p.m. on the coasts and varying times elsewhere.

See also Blecker's ebook, Let the Great Axe Fall on Amazon.

1 Comment

I think the costs of long-time imprisonment have to be reduced in developed countries. Prisoners in pre-sentence confinement should have more comfort than sentenced convicts. Two or three quadrat meters of individual space for each sentenced prisoner is enough if they pass some time outside the cell. All prisoners ought to work for their lodge, the dangerous ones only within the prison´s wall, of course.

I have myself changed from against the death penalty to a hardliner.

To me, justice means applying the death penalty more generally on serious crimes. Deliberate murder should attach the mandatory death penalty. For victims, the circumstances of a murder do not matter. Killing for self-defense is a different matter.

But there are other crimes that seriously effect the lifes of victims, like rape, violent robbery or severe bodily harm or steady, long-lasting threatening of others. The three-strikes rule could be enlarged in the case of major felonies (not minor offences!) to apply the death penalty.

In my eyes, today´s US-American practice of the death penalty is rather ridiculous. Even among murderers, only a small part gets actually executed, often after many years. It is a kind of lottery. Justice for me means something different!

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