By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Don’t take away Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s chance to repent

If Dzhokhar Tsarnaev doesn’t get the death penalty, he’ll be sentenced to a prison where he’s pretty much guaranteed to go insane, David Abel reports in The Boston Globe.

Tsarnaev deserves no luxuries and no special treatment. But he does deserve to be treated humanely, even though he treated his victims with wanton cruelty. Because that’s who we are — or should be.

We used to call prisons penitentiaries. Sometimes prisoners come to understand the horror of their crimes and undergo conversion experiences. That doesn’t mean Tsarnaev should ever be let out of prison — of course he shouldn’t. But we should not take away his chance to repent.

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  1. Paul Sweeney

    Appalling contradiction in the outcome depending on the sentence he receives–Life results in 24 hours a day isolation with the mental health impact but death results in imprisonment in a standard high security federal prison in the general population for however long his appeals last!

  2. Rick Camillo

    Some crimes scream for the death penalty and this is one of those crimes.
    I don’t want him to even have a tiny fraction of the supporters Mumia Abu-Jamal has,
    and I guarantee if he gets life instead of death he will have those supporters

  3. All violent criminals show cruelty to their victims: Rapists, murders, torturers, kidnappers, etc. That’s the nature of any violent crime. But that’s no reason for state sanctioned executions. As a society, we’re too focused on punishment. Criminals repent and experience remorse when they are treated humanely. Any prison that is considered a “high-tech hell” should be immediately shutdown.

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