listening to country station talk show. they are or were discussing if the death penalty should be activated in the v.i.
what do you think? omg hopefully would not be electric chair. could you imagine one scheduled and WAPA goes out!:-o
Well we do have a death penalty of sorts...many of the most heinous crimes are dealt with discretely and terminally. For generations the trench (13000' deep) just a mile off the north shore has been known of st. croix's court of last resort. So the question becomes "do we endorse capital punishment as a legal penalty" and, speaking only for myself, given the unimpressive nature and quality of the VI territorial and superior judiciaries I would have to say "No." Emphatically.
I served on a jury in the states and it was a VERY sobering duty ....to determine the fate of someone....in the case we had it was kidnapping and felonious assualt ...I thought it would be easy to judge someone else....I was very careful to stay impartial until we heard all the arguments....after Two days delberating....He was found .... Guilty.....he was sentenced to 20 years....Death Penalty ??? Yes,for those cases that cry out for it..
Death penalty doesn't equate to justice nor lessening the burden on the criminal justice system or the cost to house prisoners. They continue to house death row criminals for many many years, incurring that $35K/year until every vestige of appeal has been exhausted. They go back for appeals extending the cost of hearings and burden on the government with these additional costs.
There is a young kid who went off island to get college educated, came back to STX, was starting a business and somehow got caught up in situation where some pot plants were found on his property at the back edge by bush leading to a project. He got convicted and sentenced to 15 years (5 federal/10 territorial to be served consecutively). So this guy (mid-20's) who was productive, starting a business here in the territory - who actually came back to start a business here - is going to be subjected to all that federal prison and Golden Grove will offer him for the next 10 years. What good is coming of this? It was a plant. So now we will be paying to house him, cart him back & forth for any court proceedings, take care of his medical care - and end up with an industrious young man who was doing something with his life - who learns nothing for his time except how to be a better criminal. What else will he learn for this? How to be a better business man? Will he be able to show another young person (by example or training) his trade of computers I believe it was? Will he be any more functional for having spent 10 years in prison? We will have spent even more money than we have for housing and convicting him for growing a plant. He didn't get charged or convicted with selling it - growing a freeking plant! We will spend over $350,000 on just this one young man - who wouldn't have EARNED that much money while working in his chosen career.
Maybe the savings we could see by not convicting people (and housing and covering costs of their incarceration) for marijuana - we could realize some reduction of the Territorial debt. Just think - multiply that one young man - a productive, smart, doing something with his life man - by 20 a year at least. That alone would cost (for even a 5 year sentence) $3.5 MILLION dollars A YEAR for 20 people. And 20 people is a number pulled from just reading in the paper over the last 5 years the number of people busted for this plant throughout the year..
Kim Lyons has a radio program on www.reefbroadcasting.com called The Standing Ground. Kim runs the VI PRISON PROJECT. It's interesting to listen to her thoughts and experiences as a prison reform advocate. She lives on St. John.
I personally believe in Capitol Punishment but not here. I don't think it is the answer. There is such a dichotomy between sentences for different crimes - some murderers or assault with deadly weapon convictions, gun charges, etc., get smaller sentences than people with lesser crimes. If the VIPD website was working you could see the number of people who are on house arrest and what their crimes are. I wonder why some of those people are on house arrest and others with lesser crimes are incarcerated. The costs of housing a death row prisoner is just to much. Think we have problems now...
No, it's time to think outside the box - do things differently. And who is going to decide what crimes are punishable by death? Our legislators? Those who themselves are not without blame (or criminal/civil charges/convictions)? Like they have the moral fortitude to make those calls. If we were to bring the death penalty in - just think how much we will have to borrow to keep the Territory afloat then!
@mosquittobaiit - I don't see how there is a cost savings - maybe this is just a flippant answer on your part - but this is a serious issue.
Natasha Minsker, author of a new report by the Northern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said just keeping prisoners on death row costs $90,000 more per prisoner per year than regular confinement, because the inmates are housed in single rooms and the prisons are staffed with extra guards.