Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Suicide Prevention Measures on Death Row

Yes, you read that correctly:

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland on Monday postponed until March 16 the execution of a killer who took an overdose of pills in his cell and was found unconscious just hours before he was to be driven to his execution. The man, Lawrence Reynolds Jr., 43, who was sentenced to die for killing his neighbor in 1994, was found unconscious around 11:30 p.m. Sunday at the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown.
Ah, one of the little ironies of capital punishment. An inmate violates the suicide prevention protocols so the staff then engages in life-saving measures, reviving the inmate and transporting him to the local hospital. Why?

So he'll be alive when the date comes around to kill him. Certainly you don't think we'd allow the inmate to short-circuit the process, do you?

I love Ohio.


Jay Livingston said...

The point of the death penalty is not the effect it has on the condemned. It's the effect it has on the rest of us, the good people. It makes us feel better to punish evil. Suicide robs us of that opportunity. (I had a post about this in November of 2006 -- "Cheating the Executioner," which is the phrase you used to hear to refer to this kind of suicide.)

Todd Krohn said...

Jay, I'm not sure the two are mutually exclusive. I agree the death penalty is about exacting our pound of retributive flesh (and suicide, as you said, robs us of that opportunity).

But the death penalty is also about getting the condemned dead. Hence the (cruel) irony of going through life-saving, heroic measures to revive the guy, only to drag him back into the death chamber a week later and finish the job.