May 10, 2021, 12:44pm
The Afreeist Society Calls on the Governor of Texas to Commute the Death Sentence of Quintin Phillipe Jones
Quinten Jones is scheduled to be executed on May 19, 2021, for the murder of his great-aunt. Jones was 20 years old at the time and an addict. He had a long history of drug addiction, poverty, and abuse. In 1999, Jones killed his great-aunt in a robbery for $30 to buy drugs. A jury sentenced him to die.
Over twenty years have passed. Jones has since then rehabilitated himself and the family has forgiven him. Indeed, he no longer resembles the person who committed the crime. He remains remorseful, but he is now an interesting, thoughtful, kind human being who has touched the lives of many people. (Please read this by writer Suleika Jaouad.)
Afreeists recognize that no person can ever do other than what that person does. The causal forces relentlessly dictate all outcomes, all thoughts, all behaviors, and all actions. Jones's killing of his great-aunt was the result of forces in place long before Jones was even born. As a result, neither Jones nor anyone else ever deserves punishment or reward. We do agree that punishment is sometimes appropriate. However, it must be justified on something other than deservedness.
So what is a legitimate justification for punishment? The primary reason to punish is deterrence. The question therefore is this: will the value of the deterrence from killing Jones be worth killing a man who could not have done otherwise and who is now rehabilitated and full of promise? The answer to this question is almost always (and maybe always) no.
Indeed, a commuted sentence, from death to life in prison without the possibility of parole provides more than sufficient deterrence for just about any crime where deterrence might be at all effective. Indeed, even 20 years of incarceration should be more than enough for any potential criminal who might be comparing costs and benefits. Of course, the 20-year-old impoverished, abused, and addicted Jones, was probably not weighing costs and benefits. All the more reason for granting leniency to the kind, gentle, thoughtful, and remorseful soul that Jones has become.
For these reasons, the Afreeist Society calls on the governor to commute Jones's sentence.
--Stephen Marks for the Afreeist Society (afreeism.org)