Is the death sentence right for the Delhi rapists?

19 September 2013

PhD student, Senthorun Raj comments on the New Delhi court sentencing of four men to death for the brutal rape and murder of a 23-year old-woman.

In an opinion piece for The Daily Life, he questions whether the decision influences the broader pursuit to end violence against women?

"Sadly, directing the outpouring of public outrage to the perpetrators does little to deter other violent crimes.

"The death penalty is an ineffective punishment in this regard.

"Many criminologists have argued that when crimes are perpetrated in the context of social marginalisation, poverty, intoxication, provocation, passion, or mental incapacity, the abstract possibility of being sentenced to death does not deter much.

"The death penalty then becomes less about criminal deterrence or justice for the victim, and more of a political act aimed at satisfying the public's sense of outrage or injustice.

"If anything, legally desiring the death of the perpetrators deters (or at least distracts) us from confronting the broader institutional and cultural violence."

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