Some people do truly horrible things that frighten and appall me as much as anyone. But their behavior should not be the moral guide for our behavior; that they failed to show mercy to their victims does not mean that we should sacrifice our own humanity by mimicking them. I think about this principle often, because it’s part of what undergirds my opposition to capital punishment (yes, in all cases) and also part of what sickens me about 75 year olds on dialysis spending their final years in prison.
I suggest a different way forward in Washington Post.
Author: Keith Humphreys
Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.
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