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Will the U.S. Finally End the Death Penalty?

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In the past, abolition efforts have faced a backlash—but Gavin Newsom’s moratorium may be different.
The American death penalty is extraordinarily fragile, with death sentences and executions on the decline. Public support for the death penalty has diminished. The practice is increasingly marginalized around the world. California, with its disproportionately large share of American death-row inmates, announces an end to the death penalty. The year? 1972. That’s when the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty inconsistent with the state’s constitutional prohibition of cruel or unusual punishments—only to have the death penalty restored a year later through popular initiative and legislation.
On Wednesday, again, California walked back its commitment to the death penalty. Though not full-fledged abolition, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on capital punishment lasting as long as his tenure in office, insisting that the California death penalty has been an “abject…

Indonesia’s Narcotics Agency chief suggests recruiting ghosts as prison guards since they can’t be bribed

Anti-drugs czar Budi Waseso
Anti-drugs czar Budi Waseso announced plans to guard a death-row prison
island with crocodiles. He now mulls adding tigers, piranhas and... ghosts.
Stories about drug kingpins operating their illicit businesses from inside Indonesia’s notoriously corrupt prisons pop up frequently, severely undermining the credibility of the country’s war on drugs. Budi Waseso, the head of Indonesia’s National Narcotics Agency (BNN), has often acknowledged this as a problem and recently suggested a supernatural solution to the problem – having prisons guarded by ghosts.

“Ghosts cannot be bribed, except perhaps with frankincense,” Budi said yesterday at BNN headquarters, as quoted by MetroTV.

Now, to be fair, we must note that the media reports make it clear that the BNN chief was making a joke when he said that.

However, we must also remind our readers that this is the same Budi Waseso who previously pushed for the creation of a prison exclusively for drug criminals that would be built on an island and guarded by hungry crocodiles.

Referring to that, Budi was also quoted yesterday as saying, “Yes, I’ve often said that if you do not believe in humans, we will work with crocodiles. If possible, ghosts would be the guards.”

And, as he often made clear during the months in which his crocodile prison scheme was earning him mocking headlines around the world, he was not joking but totally serious about wanting to replace human guards with the incorruptible giant reptiles (as well as piranhas and tigers).

Budi said that BNN data showed that 50% of drug trafficking in Indonesia is controlled from inside prisons and blamed the lack of human resources from the government for allowing it to continue (for example, Cipinang Prison in Jakarta has 20 security officers overseeing 3,730 prisoners, which is perhaps how they failed to notice the luxurious AC and wi-fi equipped cell utilized by one elite prisoner).

The BNN chief also reiterated the seriousness of his crocodile prison proposal recently during an interview with ABC News Australia during which he (surprisingly) said he did not agree with the way that Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte was conducting his country’s bloody war on drugs, but did recommend that the Indonesian government increase the use of the death penalty for drug traffickers as a means of deterrence.

Source: Coconuts Jakarta, July 26, 2017

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