AltInst: An Alternative to the Death Penalty

From: dennis morgan <>
Date: Mon Apr 30 2001 - 23:39:22 PDT

(This is a proposal that is meant to stimulate
discussion on a reform in the penal system for those
on death row, those in maximum security facilities and
those who have proven themselves to be incorrigible,
repeat criminals. The suggestion of an "area of
containment" is only in the "idea stage" and needs to
be fleshed out. This "fleshing out" can be done
through further discussion - brainstorming.)

The death penalty is wrong because it lowers society
to the level of the murderer. Murder should be
ABSOLUTELY wrong. State sanctioned murder is out of an
antiquated sense of justice: "An eye for an eye and
tooth for tooth," ... etc. It will not bring back the
victims. We should not violate the absolute sacredness
of human life by taking it away as did the murderer.
Even though it may give a sense of comfort to the
loved ones of the victims, it should not be at the
expense of this principle since that would only
perpetuate the crime.

There really needs to be major reform in the penal
system. Today's penal system only seems to perpetuate
the criminal cycle rather than treating it. Criminals
should be treated as victims of crime themselves even
while being punished for the crimes they committed.
The cycle of sickness must be understood, stopped and

If criminals prove to be incorrigible, they should be
considered as total outcasts of society and then
exiled. The society tried to reform them and failed.
In that case, they are no longer that society's
responsibility and should not be locked up, fed and
looked after by the society. Of course, we can't
unload them onto other countries either. Instead,
create an absolutely contained area where they will
have a chance to survive but, at the same time, not
have it easy. No prisons, no guards, only themselves -
in a semi-harsh environment where it may be possible
to survive but not easy. Certainly not lush, prime

After a few years, sociologists may want to study what
kind of alternative society (if any) they come up with
and this may be useful knowledge for our own society.

Some might call that cruel and inhumane. A kind of
penal colony - yes. But without prisons, guards,
authoritarian figures and systems, etc.

We can always give them a choice. Either that or the
death penalty.

After all, it's only fair. They have shown that they
cannot live in society and will continue to perpetuate
their crimes. At the same time, society tried to
reform them but failed. There's no need to continue to
support them and oppress them. Stop the cycle. Leave
them on their own and let's see what happens.

Dennis Morgan, Professor of English
GachonGil College
Incheon, Korea

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Received on Mon Apr 30 23:55:50 2001

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