Time to reinstate capital punishment

Dear Editor

A recent Saskatoon StarPhoenix article gave details of inmate Serena Nicotine, who is responsible for the death of a North Battleford group home worker in 1999. The article describes Nicotine as being convicted of five hostage-taking incidents at four different federal prisons since her incarceration. Each one of these incidents could have caused death to her hostages.

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I understand the annual cost of incarcerating an average prisoner is about $175,000. This person has been in jail for 16 years, so the cost to taxpayers on her behalf has amounted to about $2.8 million. If she had caused a death to any one of her hostages then there would be more liability costs amounting to more millions of dollars.

I feel capital punishment should be brought back. If someone has committed a murder and the court is satisfied beyond any reasonable doubt the person is guilty, then the death penalty should follow. There should be no exemptions, meaning the age of the offender should not matter and that a young offender would receive the same penalty as any adult. The same would apply to the mentally challenged.

If this was the law, I feel our crime rate would be lower, our institutions would not be full and our country would be a better place to live. In addition our taxes would be lower because we would not have to deal with the burden of incarcerating people, increases to police costs would be lower and the court system would not be so heavily burdened. If I was a criminal and decided to arm myself, if I knew someone could be killed by my being armed, then I would possibly think twice before I carried out my act, knowing if someone was killed my life was also going to be taken as punishment for that crime. We have had enough of these life-taking incidents in our own community that something has to be changed and bringing back capital punishment is one way of controlling it.

A copy of this letter is being delivered to Battlefords-Lloydminster MP Gerry Ritz and to Battlefords MLA Herb Cox in hopes they can have these changes made.

I speak with experience, as I was involved in policing for 30 years and also spent an additional 10 years working with incarcerated youth at a young offenders' institution.

I praise Steve Cormons and Guy Turcotte for their part as citizens in organizing groups to help control and monitor our crime problem and also the RCMP for their never ending job of fighting crime; these people cannot do it on their own. We need stiffer penalties.

Something has to be done now in putting changes in motion, as it takes months and months to have changes of this nature legislated. Hopefully the two politicians representing our community will start proceedings to have this brought to parliament and have capital punishment reinstated before more innocent lives are lost.

Robert Tannahill


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