11 Oct 2005

Yellow Ribbon Project misses main point




brennan said...

For a country who believes that hard-on justice is the only solution to crime, it'll be a very, very long way to go before we can accept what we see as the 'bad' people.

We really need a change of perspective.

clyde said...

I often hear officials trying to justify the zero-tolerance policy for crimes such as drug trafficking and the death penalty. Does anyone actually have some statistical figure to drug-related arrests before and after the implementation of the death penalty?

Mickell said...

Is it better to use taxpayers' money to keep a hard core serial-killer alive until he dies or to send him to his Maker?

Agagooga said...

Kill them all! Off with their heads! Off with their heads!

Alex said...

"Hard-on justice"? That sounds sick.

akikonomu said...

Michael Chua: Perhaps you would enlighten us with the proportion of hardcore serial killers in the prison population. Otherwise, we'd like to look at why Singapore, a low crime society, has the highest execution rate and a high prison population nonetheless. If anyone has a good explanation why an 11-year sentence for a shoplifting crime is not harsh and unreasonable justice, I'd like to hear it.

bornappleT said...

It is because of the presence of the tough actions, that is why Singapore has such a low crime rate. Singaporeans should be a thankful lot.

Anonymous said...

bornapplet, you are shooting yourself in the foot. If today's crime rate is low, why does the prison population continue to be high? Where do so many crooks come from these days, if what you say is true?

akikonomu said...

Either Singapore is a cesspool of crime - if we accept the high executions and prison population at face value, OR Singapore's judges mete jail sentences where fines are sufficient, and fines when community service is sufficient. "Low crime" and high prison population are incompatible.

clyde said...

I really wish someone could point out or cite a source for statistical figures for prison population, executions (preferably before and after imposing the death penalty), and figures indicating the "low crime rate". At least then the arguement would be more factual rather than using terms like "high" and "low".

Nonetheless, a few things to bear in mind is that a high execution per capita doesn't neccessarily equal high crime rate OR number of executions. It is a figure relative to the population number. Amnesty International cites the total number of executions between 1991 and 2003 as 408. That's almost 40 people per year on average or 13.57 executions per 1 million population. (http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engasa360012004) Yet 40 executions in addition to other non-lethal criminal sentencing may still yield a low crime rate compared to other countries.

Prison population also needs to take into account the accumulation of prisoners serving more than 1-year sentences when comparing with crime rate. But as said, it's hard to argue further without the statistics. I have yet to see any convincing data that the death penalty is responsible for a low crime rate. But whether it is or not, it does not change the basis of the arguement that the Death Penalty is in violation of Human Rights and the right to life. More importantly, it leaves no room for error which can result in the execution of an innocent person. Given that an overwhelming proportion of executions are drug related, I leave you with this quote:

"Singapore recognizes that the death penalty is a severe penalty and cannot be remedied in the event of any mistake in its application. That is why we have used it sparingly and only for the most heinous crimes." - Letter from the Permanent Representative of Singapore to the United Nations (1999)

Perhaps the Representative would like to revise the use of his word "heinous".

akikonomu said...

clyde, in case you were wondering:

Singapore executions per capita: 6.32 per 1 million.
World average executions per capita: 0.59 per 1 million.
Hence, Singapore is a cesspool of heinous criminals.
(source: amnesty international)

Singapore prison population per capita: 388 per 100,000
World average executions per capita: 137.82 per 100,000
Hence, in Singapore, everyone knows someone who got jailed.
(source: International centre for prison studies)

More info at http://www.kcl.ac.uk//depsta/rel/icps/worldbrief/continental_asia_records.php?code=110

So where is the lack of statistical information you're complaining about?

clyde said...

I have read the AI report on the Death penalty in Singapore. But the report only shows figures from 1991 onwards. So there isn't any evidence that low drug-related crimes can be attributed to the death penalty.

Secondly, as stated in my previous comment, you cannot directly link high execution rate to high crime rate. It simply means that Singapore is executing more criminals per population whilst the global average of 0.59 per million can be attributed to the incarceration of their criminals rather than execution. Hence it's possible for a country to have a much higher crime rate than Singapore while maintaining a lower execution rate.

America for example has almost double the prison population rate of 726 compared with Singapore's 388. Yet their number of executions in 2004 was only 0.2 per million. (Thanks for KCL link) I suppose you can still argue that 388 is quite high. But probably as you suggested, majority of these are misdemeanours rather than serious "heinous" crimes such as murder, robbery etc. So it really is up to the individual to define their meaning of "low crime".

lee hsien tau said...

Actually it is not true that taxpayers' money is used to keep convicts in prison. PAP operates its butcher shop and dungeon in a manner consistent with its other operations in the outside world. Whilst not all convicts work, the ones that do pay the keep of the rest of the prison population. And they are pretty choosy about who is allowed to work. The wardens do nothing but work the locks. And if what I hear is correct, the new prison they are building, they don't even have to do that.

If there is an injustice committed, the PAP does not compensate, supposing that they do admit to it. How's that for a win-win scenario? GCT said something about pah-see-buay-chow. Boh-lung-kar-keo-ee-hee-hong-kun is more closer the truth.