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Alternatives to the Death Sentence?

(121 Posts)
HollyDaze Thu 21-Aug-14 19:49:56

After reading amy092's thread about the death sentence and possible alternatives to it, it made me think about what could, should or would be done. What do you feel would be a suitable alternative? Or do you feel that the death sentence should be reintroduced?

What about cryonics as a solution for long-term prisoners who have no hope of release as they are too much of a danger to the public? At least that way, if science discovers a way to correct their pathological behaviour traits, they would have the chance to resume life. Ditto with those wrongly accused and imprisoned. Would it work out cheaper in the long run to do this?

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 21-Aug-14 19:59:25



HollyDaze Thu 21-Aug-14 20:01:43

I take it you know very little about the subject then hmm

Ana Thu 21-Aug-14 20:02:12

I'm not sure what you mean by "ditto with those wrongly accused and imprisoned", HollyDaze confused.

Ana Thu 21-Aug-14 20:03:29

How would that work? You wouldn't know in advance that they'd been wrongly accused...

absent Thu 21-Aug-14 20:06:52

Is this a "joke"?

Elegran Thu 21-Aug-14 20:12:39

That sounds about as ethical as feeding prisoners on heavy doses of sedatives so that they sit in their cells all day gazing at the wall and don't cause any trouble.

Cryonics has never been proved to actually work, anyway - at least, the resuscitation part has not! So in effect, you are condemning them to death - including those wrongly accused, who do stand a chance of having their name cleared.

janerowena Thu 21-Aug-14 20:18:51

I think I'd rather be frozen than endure the living hell of being imprisoned though. Thankfully I am too old to be someone's bitch, if I ever am wrongfully incarcerated.

thatbags Thu 21-Aug-14 21:23:31

Just popping onto this thread to say hello to jingl cos I hadn't seen her about for a while. Hello, jings.

thatbags Thu 21-Aug-14 21:25:24

It does sound a bit fairytailish, at least at the moment.
We have an alternative to the death sentence already: imprisonment.

janeainsworth Thu 21-Aug-14 23:23:49

Can we have a pass the sick-bag emoticon please GNHQ?

HollyDaze Fri 22-Aug-14 10:38:04

Ana - if cryonics had been used instead of execution for a person wrongfully convicted and sentenced, the person would get their life back at the point from which they had 'had left it' - no death and no lost years.

HollyDaze Fri 22-Aug-14 10:38:47


Is this a "joke"?

No - I don't think it's a funny subject, do you?

Ana Fri 22-Aug-14 10:42:32

Yes, it was the 'wongfully accused and imprisoned' that I found confusing - I was assuming that they'd been given a prison sentence, not death.

HollyDaze Fri 22-Aug-14 10:42:59


Your first point is valid - but is it any worse than being kept in solitary confinement for their own good though or being put to death (which is kind of permanent isn't it!).

Cryonics has never been proved to actually work, anyway - at least, the resuscitation part has not! So in effect, you are condemning them to death - including those wrongly accused, who do stand a chance of having their name cleared.

To date - no-one has been revived. However, sperm and embryos have been frozen and healthy humans have resulted from it (in fact, there is some evidence to suggest that frozen embryos produce healthier babies! ).

I do think that once the nanotechnology has been achieved, it will be reality.

HollyDaze Fri 22-Aug-14 10:47:39

It was just an idea Ana (given that hundreds of people are already paying £000s to be frozen in the hope that the future can cure them of whatever was ailing them and they lie in stasis (so to speak) already) of an alternative to the death sentence which is a tad final.

The second point I made was for prisoners who are so volatile they can never be released and are probably kept subdued by drugs anyway.

It seems that others have no alternative suggestions to make ...

Ana Fri 22-Aug-14 11:00:01

It does sound as though it's very expensive, then, and how would we afford it? I know it costs £xxx to keep a prisoner incarcerated for years, but presumably the freezing procedure would have to be paid for up front.

And where would they be stored, securely?

I know I'm not putting forward an alternative, but this does seem an extremely expensive and unreliable way of keeping some people out of the way for an indefinite period...

Gagagran Fri 22-Aug-14 11:30:39

Don't they have to be dead to be frozen anyway? I've not heard of a live person undergoing it.

Elegran Fri 22-Aug-14 11:40:17

It does not sound practical.

1) They would have to be frozen immediately after life had been extinguished in them - so they are, in effect, dead. So they have had the death sentence, which would then have to be be reversed when/if the researchers have got the technique beyond freezing sperm/ova/embryo.

2) Good quality embryos are frozen after two or five days of development At 2 days they consist of 2 cells, by 5 days there are about 100 cells with a fluid- filled space Watch the first few days An adult human being has about 100 trillion cells, each made mostly of water. If you have frozen a liquid, you know how water expands when frozen to distort the container. Cell walls are burst by the pressure. Even with so small a thing as an embryo, many do not survive the thawing process,

Freezing a complete human is many many times more complicated than freezing less that a hundred embryonic cells - which have not yet differentiated. Freezing an adult and thawing them out successfully is not going to happen in the immediate future.

3) How long would they be in stasis? Who knows. Who would be employed to maintain the freezers for possibly hundreds of years? Would they be motivated to ensure that these detested individuals were preserved intact? What would the cost be of hundreds of years of supplying power to the freezers and paying the guards/technicians? On top of the cost of the freezing and the thawing.

4) If they survived being frozen and thawed, what then. They would be released into an alien world they were not prepared for. How would money work in the distant future? With no employment prospects, how would the ex-prisoners live? Their previous jobs would no longer exist, they would not have skills for the New World Order (would a Tudor peasant be equipped for life in a big 21st century city? Only by begging or crime.) Would they have to be supported on whatever the equivalent will be of benefits?

No, not on.

Elegran Fri 22-Aug-14 11:42:26

The volatile prisoners would still be volatile, maybe more so when they realise how they have been diddled. If they are too dangerous to release, they would need to be kept permanently frozen - for far more than their natural lives.

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 22-Aug-14 13:24:08

Quoting Hollydaze:

"alternative to the death sentence which is a tad final."

Was that meant as a silly joke?

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 22-Aug-14 13:25:14

Can't believe this is being given forum space.

janeainsworth Fri 22-Aug-14 13:26:17

With you jingl

Elegran Fri 22-Aug-14 13:29:42

Dafter things have been discussed on here - if you can call it a discussion when no-one except Hollydaze seems to think there is mileage in the idea. No-one so far has any more constructive ideas on how to deal with "lifers" Are there any solutions as imaginative as cryogenics but perhaps more workable?

Gagagran Fri 22-Aug-14 14:03:23

I've often thought that prisoners should be usefully employed not only for their own sakes to obviate boredom, but to give them the habit of work rather than crime and perhaps, also give them a trade to use when released.It could also generate funds to offset the costs of keeping them. Additionally it would show some sort of recompense to society for their wrong doing.

While not suggesting a return to sewing mailbags there must be something that prisons could produce in large amounts without need of expensive machinery. Civil Service desks, for example, when I first joined were made in prisons and had the arrow symbol stamped on the underside. Maybe making something like recycled shopping bags to cut down on the plastic carrier bag plague? There must be something!

Would this not be better than locking up young testosterone-fuelled men for hours in small cells? It's a recipe for trouble and in no way rehabilitates them. Lifers have not much to lose if they know they face many years of incarceration. I think our prison officers do a remarkable job in keeping the lid on potential riots.