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Image courtesy of BBC
Richard Huckle, a convicted sex offender and paedophile who committed crimes on over 200 children, has been stabbed to death in prison. Prisons are known to be violent and dangerous places, however when someone is killed in prison it serves to highlight the lawlessness that reigns in our criminal justice system. The case for reform of that system is a pertinent one, but it is also important to contemplate the death of Huckle, and its significance.
The world is a better place without sex offenders like Richard Huckle. This is not an incitement to violence; it is a recognition that many people struggle to feel sympathy or outrage at the killing of a paedophile. And why should they? His many victims may finally be feeling a sense of justice for his vile crimes against them. Surely anyone with a sense of decency would not be saddened by the death of such a monster.
This is not to say that it is okay to attack or kill anyone who has been convicted of being a child abuser. The judicial process must apply to even those who are among the vilest and depraved of our society, because the judicial process must apply to everyone. Even those who are the most repulsive, otherwise it would not be a system of justice but a system of chaos and anarchy.
Huckle had been given 22 life sentences so, rightly, he was never going to leave prison. However, for many, this would not have been enough.
Surprisingly, there appears to be a majority of opinion in favour of re-introducing capital punishment within the UK. This would certainly be a way to permanently carry out justice for the most serious of crimes; however, I am unsure. Capital punishment is final, which is its biggest strength and weakness. If an innocent person is executed, it cannot be undone. There also seems to be little deterrent for murderers; tragic killings would still happen and there is little evidence to suggest they would decrease. The United States has capital punishment across 29 states, and for federal crimes, yet the United States still has one of the highest homicide rates of developed countries at 5.0 per 100,000 compared to the average 0.8 per 100,000 of other developed nations. The death penalty does not appear to be having a significant impact.
Richard Huckle was not sentenced to die. He was sentenced to 22 lifetimes in prison, but he was killed before he even saw the end of one. I, for one, am not upset at his passing. I doubt many others are either.