Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole produces the most deterrent effect on violent criminals, and therefore increases public safety. The debate on whether death penalty should be upheld or put an end to has been the oldest of all the legal issues that has been raised since the beginning of western civilization. I believe that life-long incarceration is the ultimate sanction for the violent offenders.
Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole offers protection to the society from violent and dangerous criminals. This is because the sentence guarantees that violent criminals will be lastingly incapacitated as long as the terms of the sentence are adhered to. This contrasts death penalty since it does away with the possibility of wrongful executions while at the same time improving the security of the society (Fradella & Neubauer, 2011). The principle of parole ineligibility operates by recognizing that violent offenders are normally dangerous and therefore releasing them on parole could cause more harm to the public. Again, sentencing violent offenders to death can not guarantee public security due to the many number of successful appeals against the sentence. According to Appleton and Grover (2007) it is always difficult to predict the future dangerousness of a violent based on his or her past murder or violent crime. This means that if a violent offender were to appeal against his or her death penalty so that it is reduced to just some years of detention, and thereafter released on parole, then we are likely to experience an increase in public insecurity and higher reconviction rates.
People who commit violent crimes such as murder are likely to premeditate their crimes. Whenever a crime is planned, the offender generally focuses on escaping detection, arrest, as well as, conviction. They are not threatened by even the most severe punishment. It is therefore impossible to even think of how capital punishment could prevent. Besides, most capital crimes are usually committed during times of high emotional stress and sometimes under the influence of drugs. This means that some of these offenders who commit these crimes are heedless of the consequences during that time. The most severe punishment which can help deter any rational person from committing violent crimes is long-term imprisonment. Evidence has shown that capital punishment is no longer effective in deterring murder, and instead may incite criminal violence (Fradella & Neubauer, 2011). Thus, life imprisonment would prevent violent offenders, especially those experienced in planning murder and other violent crimes, from returning to the society and causing more harm to the public. In addition, life imprisonment without the possibility parole helps protect the lives of law enforcement officers who deal with criminals. Law enforcement officers who include prison, police, parole and probation officers sometimes suffer criminal assault as well as homicide from offenders who have been sentenced to death.
Although life-long imprisonment without the possibility of parole seems the best option for dealing with capital offenders, it is very difficult controlling prisoners who have sentenced to life imprisonment during their initial stages of their sentence (Blair, 1994). This may also lead to superinmates who are uncontrollable in the prisons since after all, they do not have anything to lose.
Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is the best alternative available for dealing with capital offenders. It provides assurance of punishment, and thus improves public security by incapacitating violent offenders. Besides, it eliminates the possibility of wrongful execution allowing for correction of bad behavior over the years as one lives.
Appleton, C, & Grover, B. (2007). The pros and cons of life without parole. British Journal of Criminology, 47: 597-615.
Blair, D. (1994). A matter of life and death: Why life without parole should be a sentencing option in Texas. American Journal of Criminal Law, 22: 191 – 214.
Fradella, H. F., & Neubauer, D. W. (2011). America’s courts and the criminal justice system. New York: Sage Publications.