Should Insane Prisoners Be Medicated Forcibly To Ready Them for Execution?

 

Insane Prisoners Should Not Be Medicated Forcibly To Ready Them for Execution

In 2003, the Arkansas state was allowed by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to compel Charles Laverne, a prisoner on death row, take medication to ensure that he was adequately sane for execution (Sarat & Shoemaker, 2011). He was convicted on the charge of murder and committed to a prison to await execution. However, he became insane, hence unfit for execution, while in the prison (Dudley, Silove & Gale, 2012; Peet, 2004). There are many individuals and agencies opposed to or in support of court decrees allowing for the forced medication of prisoners on death row to make them sane enough for execution. Such decrees are inappropriate; prisoners on death row should not be medicated compulsorily to make them sane enough for execution.

The first right argument against the decrees is that all forms of medication are supposed to cure people, not readying them to experience death by statutory execution. That argument is hinged on the premise that all forms of medication should cure individuals, including insane prisoners on death row, rather than readying them for losing their lives. From the argument and the premise, one can only conclude that no medication should be given to an individual to kill him or her. In the case of Laverne, one can only conclude that the court elementarily decreed that he be given medication to kill him (Sarat & Shoemaker, 2011).

The second right argument against the decrees is that the law asking physicians to ensure that individuals are adequately healthy for the state to deprive them of their lives is absurd. That argument is premised on the thinking that the law helps kill the individuals (Sarat & Shoemaker, 2011). From the argument and the premise, one can only conclude that such laws are absurd. Notably, the law requires that diverse physicians, including psychologists and psychiatrists, be involved in treating insane prisoners, at times in efforts to ready them for execution (Dudley, Silove & Gale, 2012; Peet, 2004). The law is unethical since it does not recognize that the duties of physicians are to render support to people, save individuals’ lives as well as help individuals enhance the standard of their lives. When physicians graduate from their professional training, they vow on oath to assist in saving lives. Any law requiring them to partake in executions is in conflict with the values stood for by physicians and medical ethics in general.

Those in support of the decrees assert that the states within the US in which the decrees are issued are devoid of laws against court decrees allowing for the forced medication of prisoners on death row to make them sane enough for execution. That argument is premised on the thinking that anything goes if it is not expressly banned by state law (Dudley, Silove & Gale, 2012). From the assertion and the premise, one can conclude that the decrees are right because they do not offend state laws. This conclusion is erroneous when considered in the light of the 14th Amendment’s clause on due process (Paternoster, Brame, Bacon & Bright, 2008). The constitutional clause overrides any other law or act that may limit individual liberties, including the freedom from forced medication.

Insane prisoners should not be medicated compulsorily medicated to ready them for execution. No medication should be given to an individual to kill him or her. The law asking physicians to ensure that individuals are adequately healthy for the state to deprive them of their lives is absurd. The 14th Amendment’s clause on due process grants all the freedom from forced medication.

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