Pubdate: Sat, 08 Apr 2006
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Margaret John


Re "The Singapore solution," (April 1): Dr. Gifford Jones holds to 
the now-outdated view that the death penalty actually deters serious 
crime. Yet scientific studies have consistently failed to find 
convincing evidence that the death penalty deters crime more 
effectively than any other punishment.

Despite the execution of over 400 prisoners since 1991 in Singapore 
(a country approximately the size of Toronto), drug-related offences 
continue. While other countries worldwide have recognized the 
futility, risks and cruelty of executions to solve crime and have 
become abolitionist both in practice or in law, Singapore continues 
to hold the shocking record of having the highest per capita rate of 
executions of any country in the world -- far higher than the rates 
of China or Saudi Arabia, according to Amnesty International.

Moreover, Singapore's capital trials raise serious concerns about 
their judicial fairness. For certain crimes, judges cannot take 
mitigating circumstances into account and have no option but to 
impose the mandatory death sentence. There is also no accounting for 
the risk of error, which can lead to the execution of an innocent person.

If Dr. Gifford Jones is concerned about crime, executions are not the 
answer. He needs to find a more effective and civilized solution.

Margaret John

Singapore and Malaysia

Amnesty International Canada

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(He was hardly advocating Singapore's sytem) 
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman