There are the official executions, inexcusable in themselves. And then there are the physical conditions in Texas' prisons that kill people. For example: a death in June of a prisoner who was being kept in a small space at 130 degrees fahrenheit without even a fan or regular access to drinking water.
The whole horrific description of what many prisoners are suffering can be found in segment 2 of this audio report.
In general, the US does very badly -- inexcusably -- when it comes to dealing with criminals. It can be shown easily that we create criminals and we fuel criminality when we treat criminals like throwaways. Civilized nations don't keep the convicted in prison as long as we do, nor do they allow the kind of torture that's commonplace in many prisons in the US.
In countries where the recidivism rates are low, prisoners are treated far better. Many Americans -- too many of us -- are scathing when they learn about how a civilized nation like Norway achieves much greater personal safety. But it's time to grow up and face facts.
... Before Americans rush to judge Norway’s criminal justice system — which relies far less on punitive measures than ours and that has a strong focus on rehabilitation — they should look at the results it produces. Norway is one of the safest countries on earth, boasting some of the world’s lowest crime rates:
- Norway Has Some Of The Lowest Murder Rates In The World: In 2009, Norway had .6 intentional homicides per 100,000 people. In the same year, the United States had 5 murders per 100,000 people, meaning that the U.S. proportionally has 8 times as many homicides.
- Norway’s Incarceration Rate Is A Fraction Of That Of The United States: 71 out of every 100,000 Norwegian citizens is incarcerated. In the United States, 743 out of every 100,000 citizens was incarcerated in 2009. The U.S. has the world’s highest incarceration rate.
- Norway’s Prisoner Recidivism Rate Is Much Lower Than The United States’: The recidivism rate for prisoners in Norway is around 20 percent. Meanwhile, it’s estimated that 67 percent of America’s prisoners are re-arrested and 52 percent are re-incarcerated.
While many Americans may have an understandable emotional reaction to a country that strives to treat even the most heinous of murderers humanely, they should also be aware of the fact that Norway’s criminal justice system appears to have produced a nation that is much safer and imprisons far less of its people than the United States or just about any other country. ...Think Progress