Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

A Note from the Editor

Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

A Note from the Editor

Article excerpt

NEW NAME

As you can see, we are no longer called the National Forum. At the last Forum Committee meeting, one of the points discussed was that our international chapters of Phi Kappa Phi did not particularly care for the word "national" in our title, for obvious reasons. Because some discussion has occurred about expanding the Society to more international chapters, the committee decided that perhaps a name change would be in order. After trying out several possibilities, we chose one that preserved the forum concept while making the Society's name more prominent so that whatever publicity the magazine gleans will be more firmly associated with the Society. After the 2001 national convention approved the change, we decided to institute the new name beginning with the new volume year. Therefore, welcome to the Phi Kappa Phi Forum.

IN THIS ISSUE

No one, especially after the events of September 11, wants to "coddle" criminals. People who assault and rape and kill, who commit robberies and sell drugs, who drive while intoxicated and injure or kill innocent bystanders -- no one believes that these people should go unpunished. However, the question often is how much punishment to levy? Who should make the decision about the degree of punishment? Should a first-time offender get off more lightly than a habitual criminal? Should a person be sent to prison for life under a "three strikes" law, even if the "third strike" was a minor offense? Should possession of one form of a drug bring a stiffer penalty than another form? Should we continue to put people to death? These are difficult, practical, moral, and ethical questions.

In this issue, our authors grapple with a few of these dilemmas. To lead off, we have a pair of articles on that most controversial of criminal-justice issues, the death penalty. First Paul Rubin looks at whether the death penalty has any deterrent effect on the murder rate. After analyzing a body of data collected at the county level from states throughout the country using the latest methods for statistical analysis, he decides that yes, the death penalty does indeed help to prevent murders. Then John Bessler tackles the question from a historical and ethical slant, arguing that the very fact that we "hide" executions proves that we know they have a negative effect on society. …

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