Everything changed on July 23, 2007 for William Petit, a prominent Connecticut endocrinologist and his wife Jennifer Hawke-Petit and two daughters. A middle of the night home invasion. left Dr. Petit badly beaten and his wife and two daughters, abused sexually and physically for 7 hours at the hands of Steven Hayes and another accomplice. The two accomplices fled, after dousing the Petit home with gasoline and setting it ablaze.
On November 10, after nearly three days of deliberation, a jury found Steven Hayes guilty on 16 of the 17 charges and recommended the death penalty for each count. Several states in the USA support the death penalty while others have abolished it. The case remains that housing a prisoner is expensive and some statistics show it may be anywhere from $62-75/daily but putting an individual on death wrong sometimes often means years of appeals. Steven Hayes can expect to not have his penalty carried out for maybe ten or more years. During that time, the appeals process can skyrocket to a million or more dollars. Crime it seems does cost…taxpayers that is…and plenty regardless if a person is sent to prison for life or is given a death penalty sentence.
Many argue that prisons are definitely overcrowded and abolishing the death penalty would mean that another bed was occupied for the rest of someone’s life, yet the few people put to death each year hardly would free up a sizable amount of beds. Our prison system is stressed and whether you are for or against capital punishment doesn’t fix the appeals system that takes decades while we continue to pay for the time and effort of litigators seeking to absolve an issue already decided by a jury.
The bible strictly commands, “thou shalt not kill”. It would seem that the cost to keep someone imprisoned for the rest of life is substantial, but allowing someone to continue to file appeal after appeal, while awaiting their death also costs significant money and prohibits an attorney from attending to another case.
People should most certainly pay for their crimes. Sometimes death is the least traumatic. Steven Hayes has attempted suicide many times and has indicated he wanted to be put to death. Isn’t it more far more painful to have to spend the remainder of your life in a confined environment, with no contact with others, awaiting your true death when decided by God. Yes, it could be decades, upon decades. Loneliness and abandonment, lack of freedom and routine can be tortuous as well.
We need to change our appeals system. Christians need to have a moral compass but that doesn’t mean we need to be soft or easy on criminals. I believe a person who has committed a heinous act and is found guilty should be given life without parole, without appeals, without amenities except for the basic things to minimally survive, end of story.
It is a slap in the face to jurors who try to make wise decisions to have their recommendations overturned by over zealous litigators and archaic laws that permit extensions, injunctions, appeals and interventions. I don’t believe we should kill a killer anymore than most people believe we should rape a rapist, but I do believe that the slow painful passing your life minute by minute knowing nothing will ever change in a small cell without ever gaining freedom can be a punishment that fits the crime perhaps even better than an injection to end the emotional suffering.
Let’s continue to punish those who have justifiably been convicted, but not with capital punishment. Let’s not give attorneys an opportunity to request appeals and drag on a process that may never end in death at the expense of our taxpayers. If I am going to pay to keep someone behind bars, then I want to know that is where they will be without any hope of any appeal, ever getting out or any pardon. Justice not vengeance would prevail.
Granted there are people imprisoned who have served time but are innocent and I would want monies to go to help those individuals to gain their freedom. I support the The Innocence Project but in cases like Steven Hayes where there is no question of guilt, I support life without parole and without much more than what is needed to survive another day with your conscience and the knowledge that your choices put you where you are.
How about you what is your opinion on Capital Punishment and our current judicial system?