In terms of simple ethics or basic humane treatment, which is better/worse - Life in Prison, or Death?
I'll be completely honest with you, I think that Life in Prison is by far the crueler of the two punishments. I submit, therefor, the "Futility of Life-in-Prison Clause". It is heavily worded as part of a "if you could change the constitution" project in school, so negotiate that and then tell me what you think:
The indefinite keeping of human beings in sterile environments being wholly unnatural, unproductive, and not proven to behoove them in their manner or keeping as evidenced by repetitions of crimes either general or in specific for which they were originally contained, and a tax upon the welfare of the general populace rather than a benefit to them as intended by said containment; a punishment-cum-ignorance wherein no active method of deterrent is inflicted upon those whose crimes are judged by a court to be worthy of penalization in form of justice –
The keeping of man in a fashion not detrimental to his immediate well-being or advantageous to his general lifestyle wherein he may wither vainly away, such that no productive or gainful make of his life may be of his choice brought about being generally acceptable as being considerably greater in cruelty than the termination of his life –
The reduction of a being capable of aspiration and attainment of wholly worthwhile dreams despite evidence to the contrary, to a state of neutrality wherein control of said being’s own destiny is from him removed being nefariously vile and incriminating of those allegedly endeavoring to enact justice and absolutely inhumane –
– no human being shall by any other(s) be, as retribution for infringements against the rights or liberties of his fellow man committed, within a prison kept or otherwise confined for a period of years greater than one decade in length; but rather wherein such punishments might be enacted, kept and considered for said decade, whereupon completion thereof, executed painlessly lest said human shall request a continued duration within quarters such, and then granted said continuation of endurance only upon majority vote of those whose funds shall support him.
If the point is to punish, it does no good because punishments are meant to convince people not to do bad things, to change them, and this does not do that. Even if it did, if they spend their entire life in prison, then what good do those changes do? So, instead of having them spend more than a decade or some other reasonably-timed period of time uselessly withering away in jail, give them that short primary detention and see if their behavior has improved. If so, let 'em go. If not, execute them painlessly as that is the only humane thing to do.
And to put it yet another way, don't you think that it is truly cruel to let people grow old completely vainly like that (and we pay for it, too!). Seriously, the typical "prison" image is of some hulking 25-year old 250-pounds-of-muscle rapist/murderer dude, but those guys grow old and if it's "life in prison" become fragile, stale old characters who sooner or later die. What's the point?!