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.
As I have over the years actively supported very many prisoners who have been the subject of Miscarriages of Justice for murders they did not commit I obviously cannot say that I agree with a blanket capital punishment death sentence, but I do feel that for the murders of police officers, children, serial offences, then a death sentence should be available. The development of DNA evidence has undoubtably helped in determining the guilt of those accused (although this is not infallible) which will help in assuring that those mistakes of the past are not repeated. The law will argue that to bring back capital punishment will result in courts being jammed with "Not Guilty or Insane" pleas by those trying to save their necks.
I disagree with capital punishment. It's no punishment in my eyes, just a quick and easy way out. I have no problem with the likes of Ian Huntley, Roy Whiting etc waking up $hitting themselves they're going to get shanked or bashed. 40 odd years of this or better still a whole life tarrif of this is OK in my book & I don't mind paying the tax for it to continue! There's still the problem of wrongful conviction, even today DNA isn't foolproof. I'm in a support group for children who's mothers were given DES an anti miscarriage drug. There is at least one person who has 2 types of DNA due to her mother taking DES
Unfortunately prison is no longer a deterrent, three meals, TV, CD & DVD players, games consoles, medical treatment immediate (no NHS waiting lists) workshops, believe me some do not want to come out so we cannot say that it is a real deterrent. Yes there are a few exceptions those like Huntley and Whiting who have to constantly look over their shoulders but they normally get put on wings with others of a similar offending pattern.