Monday, January 18, 2010

Increasing Punishment for Sex Offenders

The Lampstand Foundation supports the use of capital punishment for sex offenders—which a few states already impose—and this article from the Washington Post that the Supreme Court is considering allowing indeterminate confinement for sex offenders is a step in the right direction, if it comes to be.

Offenses such as pedophilia and rape—which even criminals in maximum security prisons loath—that reach way beyond the thievery and violence that marks the lives of most professional criminals; and which appear to be an level of evil behavior that is so deep-seated that it will never be corrected in this world, calls for the ultimate sanction.

An excerpt.

“A majority of Supreme Court justices seemed inclined Tuesday to accept that the federal government has the power to indefinitely hold prisoners who are deemed sexually dangerous, even if they have completed their sentences.

“Solicitor General Elena Kagan told the court that, when Congress passed a law authorizing civil commitments in such cases, it was doing "something pretty simple and very reasonable." But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit said Congress exceeded its authority, because the power to authorize what is normally a state function cannot be found in the Constitution.

“But Kagan told the court that it is simply an extension of the federal government's recognized power "to run a responsible criminal justice system." She said that if the federal government cannot find a state willing to take responsibility for a sexually dangerous prisoner about to be released, federal officials have to step in.

“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg seemed to agree. "You are talking about endangering the health and safety of people," Ginsburg said. "The government has some responsibility."

“Others -- Justices Stephen G. Breyer and John Paul Stevens, notably -- seemed responsive to Kagan's analogy that the federal government would be within its rights to detain a soon-to-be-released prisoner who had a dangerous communicable disease.”