Texas to execute 9th person this year, a female convict


#1

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#2

So what’s the takeaway from this blurb?

That Texas executes too many people, too easily? (I imagine most of us already knew that, but no harm in reminding people of injustice.)

Or that it’s weird that only 1% of executions are females? Because that I did NOT know, and I’m highly curious to know what causes that.

Is it that judges and juries are more lenient towards women? Or that women commit fewer crimes where capital punishment is a possible sentence? Most likely some combination of both? The sheer scale of the imbalance suggests it probably isn’t solely a matter of one or the other. It’d be interesting to see some good data on this.


#9

It has been shown that the majority of women who commit violent crimes do so as a final desperate act in defensive response to extremely harsh life circumstances, rather than as premeditated murder for personal gain as found with male psychopaths. This does not excuse murder, only that the causal factors are much more closely tied to historical female disenfranchisement and subjugation. To murder a female murderer is to perpetuate this cycle of violence.


#12

Case Study: Aileen Wuernos Nick Broomfield’s fantastic documentary. See also Heidi Fleiss.


#15

Mod note: Stay on topic. If you want to discuss pro-life/pro-death penalty sides, start a new thread.


#16

I “enjoyed” Bors recent take on relativity: The Banality of Barbarism


#17

Ok, that’s a fair point. But what is the topic here (see, for example, Glitch’s , or Creq’s post immediately below)? :confused:


#18

I can’t be the only one who read this hardline and thought, “Its mid-September, and they’re only up to 9?”


#19

So the little boy she starved to death was a just blow against the patriarchy?


#20

Clearly we need some sort of affirmative action program.

(I keed, I keed, I’m not really an MRA.)


#21

The insanity of MRAs aside, in this particular case there may very well be a real element of sexist judgement against male criminals.

I’d be curious to see the actual statistics, comparing all cases where capital punishment is a possible sentence and the percentage of which do and do not receive capital punishment - as well as total values of each for both sexes.

I’d imagine it’s quite certain that there are more males committing capital punishment level crimes than there are women, but I wouldn’t expect it to be a 99 to 1 ratio. Something smaller would seem more intuitive - even if it were only, say… a 50 to 1 ratio, compounded by a much higher percentage of lighter sentences for female criminals.


#22

That is a dismissive response and disregards my larger point. Women without access or even basic knowledge of reproductive rights; nor a true understanding of the power of existence in regards to their own body and being (a common illness of all people in our commodified and disassociated modern culture) leads to the dissmantling of basic instinctual nurturing mechanisms and the breakdown of social bonds. She is representative of the terrible symptoms of insanity engulfing our species as we enter the Anthropocene era.


#23

I gotta wonder why in Texas they execute so many people AND their school book industry publishes nation-wide books with a Christian Right revision of history and science?
Seems to reflect some kind of authoritarian/obedience/punishment mind set.


#25

It’s quite possible that you also mean to say “blackist”.

With the dragon in mind (the headline seems designed to spark just such a debate, so… ?), I’ll just note that every aspect of the death penalty is rife with double-standards about what is an appropriate response by society to a crime, and how “appropriate” seems to change with factors unrelated to each particular case.

So… that leaves us with Texas, not just a hangin’ state, but a state with a massive criminal justice industry. Where California (in partnership with Florida of all places) can point to space shots by private entrepreneurs, Texas has a gurney-count. Yay Texas? Woo.

I think some marketing people in Florida have their next promotional campaign: "We have the original Cape Canaveral and The Timely Justice Act of 2013!


#26

That actually is rather surprising. It seems in years past, Texas would be well into double digits by now. Maybe Texans have been waking up to the fact that prosecutors in their state care more about political advancement than they do about justice?


#27

I don’t see what reproductive rights have to do with it. The child she starved to death wasn’t even her kid.


#28

You seem to be conflating two different concepts. I am bringing to light how the concept of mind/body duality has been instrumental in creating a society that leads to such acts. We live in a modern culture where physiologic and psychologic affects are separated artificially. This is most pronounced in our unquestioning embrace of the market economy. The holistic view of the world is being subsumed to artificially defined rules on how human behavior fits the capitalist model. This is true as well for biological and reproductive aspects of all people. As a woman, she has a separate set of circumstances/stressors/nurture/nature than a man would (from many different vantage points, social, biological, cultural, patriarchal, economic, etc., that I don’t need to get into here) but suffuse to say that all this has informed her world view and helped in manifesting the situation. The erratic & morally reprehensible behavior of our most ill citizens, such as she might example, does not negate our responsibility to understand how and why such acts manifest.

To label someone as ‘other’ is the first step in justifying any and all reactions to some of the most vulnerable people, namely minorities, women, lesbian/gay, trans, immigrant, handicap, mentally impaired, etc. who are historically faced with much greater adversity. Such adversity has manifested as cultural and personal breakdowns in well-being. This does not excuse behavior but does help define the cause.

The main thing is to show COMPASSION for all people, even those who must be logically punished for transgressions against the precepts of a society. No one is a monster, all people face the same struggle, unfortunately some respond in very scary ways. This does not excuse all of OUR culpability in creating and maintaining systems (criminal, penal, economic, race, etc.) that create the circumstances that allow such dire consequences for both the child and the adult to come into being.


#29

This decade, Texas has apparently slowed the execution rate, especially compared to aughts. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_people_executed_in_Texas


#30

Or it could be that part of the statistic got left off. From The Guardian:

Even though women commit about 10% of all homicides they comprise 1% of inmates put to death, according to figures from the Death Penalty Information Centre. Only seven states – Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Alabama, North Carolina, Arkansas and Virginia – have executed female prisoners in the past three decades.

So there’s actually a 9% difference - not 99-to-1 or even 50-to-1 - between women and their judgements. Men commit 90% of the murders, and get 99% of the death row punishments. From this article there are about 241 people added to death row each year, and in 2011, 16,238 homicides were committed.

14,695 committed by men (90%), 238 men added (99%)
(That’s less than 2% of the men.)
1643 committed by women (10%), 3 women added (1%)
(To also put in 238 women would be 14% of them.)

Remember, most murders don’t get a death row sentence. This murder was committed during a kidnapping and that made it “special circumstances”. In many states, it’s only murders with some type of special circumstance that will in turn garner a judgement of death.

EDIT: Just making it clear - don’t misread that last statement. I’m not supporting anything. Just explaining the numbers. I REALLY don’t support this.


#31

The 10% of all homicides being perpetrated by women is exactly the sort of information I was hoping someone could provide.

That said, a few points of accuracy. A “homicide” does not instantly equate to a “murder” - so that throws some degree of inaccuracy into the numbers. Other forms of homicide, including manslaughter, suicide assistance, and “felony murder”, make up substantial portions of the total number of homicides, yet far less commonly receive capital punishments.

There’s also the question of the carrying out of the executions themselves - many criminals on death row are never executed, either because they are pardoned or have their sentences reduced, or because they die in prison, et cetera.

There is also a strong imbalance in how often different jurisdictions even seek the death penalty to begin with - according to a 2004 Cornell study, nationwide about 2.5% of all murder convictions receive the death penalty, while Nevada clocks in at 6%, and Texas, somewhat surprisingly, actually only applies the death penalty to 2% of their murders - they just end up actually carrying out a much larger percentage of the death penalties they give as sentences than the rest of the country does.

But even if we ignore all that wonkiness for which we lack the data to compare, your claim that “there’s actually a 9% difference” is misleading.

In reality, these numbers tell us that men are executed 10 times as often as women.

Assuming 20000 homicides and a 90% to 10% split, 18000 of those are carried out by men, and 2000 are carried out by women.

Of those 20000 homicides, only a small number are going to receive the death penalty. My sources tell me this should be about 2.5%, for a value of 500 executions total. Since we have 18000 male perpetrated homicides, all things being equal, we ought to have 450 of those executions be men. And since we have 2000 female perpetrated homicides, all things being equal, we ought to have 50 of those executions be women.

But we are told that of those 500 executions, 99% are of men - for a value of 495. Meaning that 1% are of women - for a value of 5.

So women are receiving 1/10th of the executions that one would expect barring other influencing factors. Put another way, men are executed at a ratio of 10 to 1 compared to women, even after taking into account that they perpetrate nine times as many homicides.

This is not a difference of 9%. This is a difference of 900%.

No judgement, I’m just curious to figure out why the disparity is so very great.