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Petition Bring back the death penalty

The death penalty should be an option for convicted terrorists, mass murderers, serial rapists, paedophiles and child killers. Only one appeal should be allowed, with no right to legal aid, which must be lodged and heard within 3 months of conviction.

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The prison system is overcrowded and in some cases such as terrorism, prisons can be breeding grounds for radicalisation. There's also the cost of keeping a convicted criminal behind bars for years to consider as well as the victims of crime. We, as a nation should show that we are tough on crime and tough on criminals as a deterrent to other potential criminals. Safety of the public is paramount.

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Government responded

This response was given on 23 July 2020

The Government has no plans to bring back capital punishment. Parliament abolished the death penalty more than 50 years ago and has consistently voted against it being restored in recent decades.

The death penalty was abolished for most offences in 1969, remaining available, but unused for certain offences such as treason and certain military offences until 1998. However, in 1998, Parliament made clear in a free vote, that it was opposed to the death penalty for all offences. On 27 January 1999 in Strasbourg, the Home Secretary officially signed Protocol 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights on behalf of the United Kingdom. This was ratified on 27 May 1999. The Protocol requires signatories to abolish the death penalty and requires that no person should be condemned to such penalty or executed. The United Kingdom has also signed the Second Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in New York on 31 March 1999. This was ratified on 10 December 1999. The effect of this is that Parliament will not be able to reintroduce the death penalty in peacetime without denouncing the Convention as a whole.

Murderers are subject to a mandatory life sentence. In appropriate cases, they will spend 30 or more years, or their whole life, in prison. A life sentence is also available for the courts to impose in respect of other serious offences, such as rape, sexual assault of children, serious violence against the person and certain terrorist offences. The minimum term served under a life sentence is exactly that - the minimum the offender must serve in prison before being considered by the Parole Board for release. The Parole Board will only release an offender if it considers it safe to do so. Many offenders remain in prison beyond their tariff, and some are never released. If released, an offender subject to a life sentence is on licence for the rest of his or her life and subject to recall to prison at any time. In the very worst cases of murder, a whole life order may be imposed – which means the offender will not be given a minimum tariff and will not be considered for release by the Parole Board but is liable to spend their whole life in prison.

Ministry of Justice

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