Give someone enough rope …

Today a Conservative Canadian Senator made a rather bizarre suggestion about giving convicted murderers a rope, and allowing them to hang themselves.  (No, I’m not kidding.  But he later retracted the statement.)

But, never let it be said that we couldn’t look at ideas, regardless of how they come.  Moral repugnance aside, is this a good idea?  Probably not.

Would it save money?  Only if the murderer felt really, really sorry.  And, isn’t that what we wanted out of the justice system in the first place?  So, we might have saved money and wasted a life.

Then again, what if the convicted person was not guilty?  I would think that an innocent person, unjustly convicted, would be a prime candidate for suicide.  So then we have a monetary saving at the cost of an innocent life.

And, for those who really don’t feel bad about killing people, they might welcome the option of getting out of a life sentence.  So we may be reducing the deterrent effect if we implement the rope idea.

If we’ve got a real psychopath, is it really a good idea to give him a rope, or poison, or a knife, or a gun, or anything particularly dangerous?  It isn’t too hard to start to imagine scenarios where he/she/it could do some real damage, even within the prison.

Maybe we should chip in and buy the Senator a copy of Schneier’s “Liars and Outliers.”