Friday, April 19, 2024

Ex-prison boss: Bring back hanging


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PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad – Former prisons commissioner Cipriani Baptiste, who witnessed the hangings of Dole Chadee and his gang of eight on June 4, 1999 at the State Prison in Port-of- Spain, described the experience as “terrible and frustrating” for him, yet he believes the death penalty should be enforced. He said, Saturday if the death penalty was retained, murder should be classified in order to differentiate crimes of passion from premeditated murders, coupled with swift justice, in order for it to be an effective deterrent to crime.“You cannot prevent murder when a person, in a fit of passion, murders someone or even a person who murders someone while trying to protect himself or his family.“But there are those people who sit and plot to go into people’s homes and murder them; these are the crimes that should be punishable by death, and this is why we need classification.”Baptiste said the fact people were given death sentences and were then left for years sitting on death row had not helped to deter criminals because the walk to the hangman’s noose was too long.However, he believed, if they knew shortly after being convicted of murder they would have to pay a visit to the hangman,  there would be results.“It does not make sense having men on death row for years; this will not help as a deterrent to crime. Justice has to be swift, and then you will see an impact on the level of crime,” he said.Baptiste, who turns 69 this year, said he was very saddened by the upsurge in crime and felt “society has failed in curbing the crime situation because itstarts from the homes and the schools, and not at the national security level”. He said he empathised with the prisons officers who had to now deal with a larger prison population of a different nature to when he walked the corridors of the State Prisons, but he did not agree that every prisons officer should be given a firearm.“Because there are prisons officers and there are prisons officers,” he said. Baptiste said he was not a commissioner who sat in his office and listened to reports from officers. (Trinidad Express)


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