|Scene of the Boston Marathon Bombing|
I am ambivalent about the death penalty. On one hand I think it is a suitable punishment for violent crimes. On the other, the trial system is not always a reliable arbiter of justice, as we have seen from the numerous stories of people unjustly convicted. My other objection to the death penalty is how appeals to death sentences go on seemingly interminably, consuming the court's time and resources while more run of the mill cases get short-shrift.
Our prisons are another disaster. I would like to see prisoners put to work on farms or road building. The current system seems to be hamstrung by the prison guard unions, prison building contractors, state budgets, and angry people who just want all the criminals locked up.
Then there is the whole problem of what is the purpose of incarceration. Is it to punish the criminal? Reform him? Educate him? If he can be reformed, reforming would be good. Some of those are too far gone and cannot be reformed, but how do you tell?