Death penalty

The minister of national security has stated that he will be looking into the feasibility of resuming hanging. This on paper sounds good with Jamaica’s high violent crime rate but upon closer inspection it is a non starter.

Jamaica is beholden to the privy council and they have ruled against the death penalty, not only that they have ruled that excessive delays of the death penalty is a violation of human rights. So how will this square with the privy council that the JLP administration stated that it wished to keep?

Another issue brought up by this is the fact that the police simply can’t put a case together. For whatever reason, sometimes corruption sometimes incompetence, the wrong person is brought to trial. Even in the mighty U.S. we see cases of police mishandling of cases and persons on death row exonerated via DNA. Let me state that I do not trust squaddie with that power, especially in a country where police routinely mishandle cases to put it mildly and where government prosecutors regularly push cases with flimsy evidence.

The death penalty will deter those involved in domestic disputes, and that accounts for roughly half of the murders, but what of gang violence? A person involved in scamming doesn’t care about the law already and will not be hindered by the death penalty. With the U.S. being the prime example, it maintains the death penalty and still has the highest violent crime rate than any other country in the industrialized world.

No, instead of the death penalty we should be aiming to nip the crime issue in the bud. Youth outreach by the police, a stronger education system, a more robust social safety net and ready employment that is really the only way to ensure the crime really ends. And again instead of hanging, why not try actually catching them first and building a proper case because as things stand a murderer has an over fifty percent chance of not getting caught and that breeds confidence in the criminals.

With the death penalty clearly not the answer hopefully the minister looks at police reform and building a real anti crime platform with other ministries. If not we will simply have state executing people at a quick pace because the crime won’t end.


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