Death penalty neg inherency Answers

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Death Penalty Negative
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1nc – Morally Right

The death penalty is consistent with the moral retributive doctrine- stressing the importance of justice and holding people accountable for their actions, without retribution by death crimes go unpunished to a just extent

Gibbs ‘78 (Jack P. Gibbs, "Death Penalty, Retribution and Penal Policy," The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Volume 69, Issue 3 Fall, article 22, Fall 1978,, accessed 6-27-2020 MS)
Only in the context of the foregoing issues and problems can one appreciate the merits of the retributive doctrine and see the reason for its "staying power." For one thing, whereas a custodial context may thwart efforts at rehabilitation or render behavioral modification ineffective, incarceration can be construed as the "just desert" for the violation of any criminal law and, hence, entirely consistent with the retributive doctrine. The general point is that the question of effectiveness haunts all penal doctrines except the retributive. If the business of criminal justice is to punish the guilty because, and only because, they deserve it, jurists or legislators need not be concerned with problematical consequences of punishment. Whereas the death penalty is the very contradiction of rehabilitation and behavioral modification, there is ample room for it in the doctrine of retribution. Like it or not, no one is truly startled by the argument that some crimes are so abominable that the perpetrator deserves death. The incapacitation realized through the death penalty serves no purpose if the deceased would not have repeated the crime, but that poses no problem for the retributive doctrine, according to which any legal punishment should be an end in itself. Finally, given the emphasis in the retributive doctrine on prosecuting individuals charged with a crime as "morally responsible beings," retributivists need not be ambivalent when it comes to granting the relevance of insanity pleas, an issue that is likely to be intensified by the reintroduction of the death penalty. The doctrine even provides a firm basis for an unequivocal return to the classical legal criterion of insanity. If the defendant knew what he or she was doing in committing the act, and knew it was wrong, the defendant was sane on committing the act. That criterion can be applied only through inferences, but it is hardly more difficult to discern than judging whether or not an individual acted in the grips of an irresistible impulse or a mental disease. Indeed, the retributive doctrine offers a distinct alternative to those who are weary and wary of "psychiatric justice." The retributive doctrine is not haunted by these problems as much as contending doctrines largely because it is not utilitarian. Since its goal is "doing justice" rather than the prevention of crimes, it makes no instrumental claims. Perhaps most important of all, in comparison with contenders, the retributive doctrine is the least conducive to the subversion of accepted principles of justice. In particular, the deterrence doctrine could encourage the punishment of the innocent because, with a view of promoting general deterrence, it is the publication of punishments and not the guilt of those punished that is essential. That criticism of the deterrence doctrine is not thwarted by the utilitarians' reply that an innocent person cannot be legally punished. The reply is a play on words, and it would be a cruel joke for anyone who sits on death row because of a judicial error. In any case, the deterrence doctrine does not preclude the execution of hostages to secure compliance with military law in an occupied country, vicarious punishments (as when the relatives of the alleged perpetrator of a criminal act are executed), or false publicity of punishments (to further general deterrence). The alleged dangers of a rehabilitative penal policy are more difficult to describe, largely because critics have introduced such a diverse range of issues. Nonetheless, the criticisms reduce to two major arguments: first, that advocates of rehabilitation call for a great deal of discretion both in sentencing and selecting "treatment modes" for offenders; and, second, that such discretion is inherently dangerous. The debate hinges largely on the second argument. That is the case because the warrant for discretion-that it is benign and exercised only to realize socially useful ends-is disputable. Indeed, so the criticism goes, there are conceivable means to rehabilitation, such as psychosurgery,16 that cannot be justified by appealing to social ends. 17 Unlike advocates of rehabilitation, retributivists are under no burden to demonstrate that a retributive reaction to crime is benign. No less important, since the means-ends distinction is minimized in the retributive doctrine, retributivists are less open to the charge of allowing the ends to justify the means.

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