Helensburgh Advertiser

Capital punishment is abhorrent

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WHILE I think the Scottish Prison Service is a soft touch and makes life far too easy for offenders, at least we don’t murder our convicts.

The SPS is under the misapprehe­nsion that prison is about prisoners. It isn’t. It is about law-abiding people being safer with criminals off the streets. And I don’t care one jot if prisoners are rehabilita­ted. The longer they are locked away in unpleasant conditions the better. They might not want to go back.

While I was in the US, I was horrified to hear of the case of convicted killer Kenneth Eugene Smith, who was put to death by nitrogen gas inhalation. This new method of execution can cause all sorts of issues before death, among them the prisoner choking on his vomit.

I should be calmed somewhat by the fact that at least he was not placed in the electric chair, although incredibly some of the 27 states which still have the death penalty are allowed to use it.

Smith was prepared for execution in November 2022, but because doctors could not find the two veins required for his lethal injection, he was returned to his cell to await the nitrogen method, not knowing when the executione­r might call.

He was convicted for the murder of a woman in 1988 and has spent the subsequent 36 years on death row.

Instead of releasing him after this lengthy sentence, at the end of which you could argue he had paid his debt to society, they killed him.

Whilst I have no doubt his crime was violent and vile, subjecting him to a lengthy sentence, a failed attempt and then an experiment­al method of execution is inhumane. Putting someone in the position when they believe they are about to die, not once but twice, is abhorrent.

After organised religion, I think capital punishment is the greatest abominatio­n on Earth.

As my mum often used to say, two wrongs never make a right. Ever.

 ?? ?? Scotland’s prison authoritie­s may not always get it right, Mike says - but at least they never have to consider putting inmates to death as happens in many US states
Scotland’s prison authoritie­s may not always get it right, Mike says - but at least they never have to consider putting inmates to death as happens in many US states

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