I have recently heard it said and I wholly agree that locking someone in a cage for half their life is cruel and unusual and that the only persons who deserve to be imprisoned are those who physically harm others. Alternatives abound if we take time to think and are really interested in saving people, not torturing them. Thanks to MKS and Leonard Pitts Jr.
So what does “cruel and unusual” mean?
I once asked that of a law professor. The Eighth Amendment prohibits “cruel and unusual” punishment, but I figured there had to be some technical definition I, as a layperson, was missing. I mean, from where I sit, it’s pretty “cruel and unusual” to execute someone, but to judge from the 1,392 executions of the last 38 years, that isn’t the case.
Scott Panetti almost became number 1,393 last week, but within hours of his scheduled lethal injection, he was reprieved by a federal judge. The court said it needs more time to consider the issues his case raises.
In a rational place, it would not be news that Panetti was not killed. In a rational place, they would understand that state-sanctioned execution is a relic of frontier barbarism that leaves us all wet with the blood of the damned. In a rational…
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