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No death penalty

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Today, up here in Canada, Stephen Harper(our northern version of George Bush) announced a huge Crime Fighting Bill. This ‘tough on crime’ stance does nothing for rehabilitation of criminals, and study after study show that locking up criminals longer does nothing to deter crime.

The CBC(Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) had Neil Boyd, the SFU Criminology Department Associate Director on today to discuss this new bill, and he thinks it is a huge waste of money, and will not make our streets safer. He goes on to say that this new bill will also take away a judge’s discretion on sentencing with a new minimum sentencing guideline.

I agree that this is a bad thing. If a judge can make an educated decision about sentencing on a case by case basis, it is much more profound than a law put into place by a bunch of politicians that have nothing to do with the case.

I think this is a step towards a criminal culture like is present in the USA. Bigger prisons to lock people up and throw away the key. I remember a couple of years ago hearing that 1% of the US population is in prison! 1%!

One other thing that really upsets me about the slow move towards heavier sentencing, is the always in the shadows debate about Capital Punishment. I hate it.

Below is a story of a man about to get executed tomorrow. Amnesty International is trying to get the death sentence stopped. They are opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances, much like me…

The State Board of Pardons and Paroles in the US state of Georgia must reconsider their decision to deny clemency for a US man facing the death penalty, Amnesty International said today after the ruling cleared the way for his execution on Wednesday.

Troy Davis was sentenced to death in 1991 for the murder of police officer Mark Allen Macphail in Savannah, Georgia.

“This is a huge setback for human rights in the USA, where a man who has been condemned under dubious evidence is to be executed by the state. Even at this late stage, the Board must reconsider its decision,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

“The decision by Georgia’s Board of Pardons and Paroles to reject Troy Davis’ appeal for clemency is obviously at odds with their 2007 decision when they counselled against execution if there was “doubt as to the guilt of the accused””, said Salil Shetty.

The case against Troy Davis primarily rested on witness testimony. Since his 1991 trial, seven of key nine witnesses have recanted or changed their testimony, some alleging police coercion.

via Clemency for US death row prisoner Troy Davis denied | Amnesty International.

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