There was an article on the death penalty that I was reading today, and I felt the need to put my 2 cents in on the subject.
I believe in the death penalty.
That said-- Texas is bonkers in how much they use it. Like the guy mentioned in this article, who raped and murdered a woman. One woman, however cruelly and violently. Should he be locked up for life? Yes. I also believe that violent rapists for whom there is DNA evidence proving the rape should be surgically castrated. Not chemically, as you stop taking the pills and the desire comes back-- if someone violently rapes a person and there is definite evidence both that he was the rapist and that the crime was violent in nature, they should have their testicles removed and replaced with prosthetics. Cruel and unusual? If a person kills someone with a car, they lose their license. If they shoot at someone with a gun, they are denied the ability to ever own one again. It's just removing a weapon.
And yet, as for the death penalty-- I am of the mind that the death penalty should only be used for repeat offenders. Serial killers and gang members and the like. No crimes of passion, no single-murders, just people who plotted and acted on their plans to murder a stranger, a passing acquaintance, or a rival.
Also, the insanity defense is way overused-- the only way you should be able to plead not guilty by reason of insanity is if a) you actually have a real mental illness, and one severe enough that your crime is plausible-- situational depression doesn't count; b) you were not undergoing treatment (because you were undiagnosed or were not enough in your right mind to chose to) at the time of the crime (or a proper course of treatment was not found); c) you agree to undergo treatment and NOT STOP for your ENTIRE life; and d) you are expected to be a functioning member of society if treated.
So if a person kills someone and blames it on postpartum depression, they should get the same treatment as a healthy person. If they are an undiagnosed schizophrenic and willing to undergo treatment, they can get off. See where I'm going with this? My point is that if you have another Ed Gein, who was determined not guilty by reason of insanity and sent to a mental hospital for his whole life-- well, honestly. He wasn't going to get better. And if he had been sane he probably would have been put to death. So if you've got someone like that, just put them to death.
But not the electric chair or anything. Nitrogen narcosis-- unconsciousness and painless suffocation, with mild euphoria beforehand. Plus it leaves the body undamaged so the family can chose to donate the organs or the whole body to science, if they so wish, or inter it intact, if their religion requests it.
And as for the people who claim the jails are too crowded from all the people who deserve to die already-- if we legalized and then regulated (most) drugs and saved jail for people who are a threat to others or who genuinely need rehabilitation.
Also, anyone in jail for life should have the option of painless elective suicide whenever they wish. I think it's only fair, honestly.
I wish I was able to do an overhaul on a prison and test some of my theories about rehabilitation, though. Even if I didn't get to set sentences or allow suicide. Things like work detail, trade education, and not allowing people convicted for certain crimes (pedophilia and gang crimes spring to mind) interact with each other (because that's how they learn techniques). That way I would see firsthand if it failed and accept the system we have now.