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4 J. Offender Counseling, Services & Rehab. 5 (1979-1980)

handle is hein.journals/wjor4 and id is 1 raw text is: 



EDITORIAL


                 PUNITIVE INSTITUTIONS
                 UNDER STRESS:
                 Bad Times Ahead?




                 Except for the repeated and severe prison riots of
the early 1950s and the early 1970s-both concentrated in time-
there has been no period in this century more illustrative of the con-
tradictions concerning criminal offender policies-lack of broad so-
cial agreement regarding correctional philosophy, inadequacy of
leadership, and plain confusion in the field-as the first six months of
1979.
  Ending a 12-year unofficial moratorium on capital punishment, a
convicted murderer was involuntarily executed in Florida's death
house before mid-1979. Unlike previous capital cases where the Su-
preme Court attempted to move ahead in the century long debate on
the issue as to whether the death penalty constitutes cruel and un-
usual punishment and on the issue of precise standards for determin-
ing the ultimate sentence, the Court declined to review the Florida
case. Except for a relatively small number of protests, the issue of
capital punishment is no longer the predictably volatile concern of a
few years back. Many state legislatures with execution laws similar to
Florida's still resist carrying out the death penalty in the belief that
the laws would not sustain a court challenge. In other states, gover-
nors have declared that during their tenures in office, they will either
veto capital punishment legislation or commute death sentences to
maximum prison terms. A bizarre sideline of the Florida execution:
the attending physician twice informed the electrocutioner that the
first two jolts did not end the convict's life. A few people, not many,
are now asking at what point a physician's oath to heal may properly
yield to the growing mood for official killing.
  Another stressful event of the half year, one that augurs poorly for
                 Journal ofofO ender Counseling. Services& Rehabilitation, Vol. 4(I). Fall 1979
                 ©1979byThc Haworth Press. All righls reserved. 5

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