Originally Posted by Lopez
tripwires, I think the situation in Singapore is a bit artificial due to the harsh and, frankly, inhumane punishments. No one should be punished that severely on drug abuse. It's the same as having a capital punishment on obesity in order to solve the obesity epidemic...
If the legislation is changed to a more lenient one, some drugs will likely follow. However are you prepared to have such a legislation in order to keep the society drug-free? It's a harsh deal and, in my opinion, downright infringes human rights.
Actually, the punishment for consumption for first-time offenders is a maximum of 10 years' imprisonment and/or a fine of maximum $20,000. The mandatory death penalty is for trafficking
certain types of drugs over a certain limit as stated in the Act and for "lesser" trafficking offences the punishment is jail and caning. I don't agree with these two punishments at all.
In my opinion, the human rights issue enters the picture insofar as we're talking about the punishments for trafficking: the mandatory death penalty is definitely incommensurate with the crime; further, the mandatory death penalty and arguably caning are cruel and unusual punishments. To this extent, I agree with you that our laws are unduly harsh.
That said, I don't believe that the death penalty has a general deterrent effect on any crime and while it may have a limited deterrent effect on drug trafficking in Singapore, I honestly do not believe that removing it as punishment for trafficking would lead to an increased inflow of drugs to Singapore. Same goes for caning. The infrastructure is already in place and it is relatively sound; the main problem with it is the inhumane punishments. One could argue that they are the reason Singapore is generally drugs-free but I definitely have my doubts on the actual deterrent effects of the death penalty.
Also, unlike the death penalty, the jail term for consumption is discretionary (unless the offender is a repeat offender). Sometimes the court sentences an accused drug abuser to reformative training instead of jail, depending on the circumstances. So yeah, we're not murdering drug addicts here, just the traffickers...