One of the false arguments many leaders of the Church make for calling for the abolition of capital punishment is that current penal technology—super max prisons—means we no longer need capital punishment to protect against the aggressor.

This post from the Crime & Consequences Blog shows how misguided that argument is.

An excerpt.

I wrote a few days ago to emphasize an item it might have been easy to miss in the News Scan.  I do so again today.  My reason for both entries is the same:  They give concrete examples of why we cannot trust the constant assurance that we’ll be just as safe if we dumb-down sentencing and/or abolish the death penalty.

The reason we can’t trust this assurance is simple.  It’s false. Today’s item is particularly instructive:

upermax Inmate Convicted of Murder:   CBS Colorado reports that a leader in the Mexican Mafia prison gang has been convicted of the murder of another inmate.  Silvestre Rivera, sentenced to prison for a string of bank robberies in California and Arizona, was found guilty of stomping and kicking 64-year-old Manual Torez to death ten years ago at the federal Supermax prison in Southern Colorado.  The maximum sentence Rivera can receive is LWOP.  It was the first murder ever at that facility.

How many times have we heard that LWOP will do as much to prevent killers from doing it again as the death penalty?  If under present prison conditions they occasionally murder a cellmate or guard or counselor, well, the reason is that prison security is deficient.  If prisons were more careful, if they had stricter confinement conditions like those in……say…….federal Supermax, in-prison murder would never happen.

Retrieved April 24, 2015 from