I can’t express how glad I am that the elections are over. This is the time when we, as Americans, can finally put down our defenses and relax without being bombarded by propaganda. But I am twice blessed. Now that it won’t affect the precious election, I am free to break the media’s unspoken code of dishonesty. The code goes into effect six months before presidential elections. It ensures that no pundit will criticize his preferred candidate, no matter how scandalous the mistake, nor will he praise the opposition without express written consent from God Almighty.

The code prevented me from publicly endorsing President Bush’s record against crime, for fear that it would harm John Kerry’s chances of election. The fact is, Bush has an excellent record on crime. He has aided the revival of capital punishment. This is an excellent first step in reforming our prison system, and it sends a strong message to criminals countrywide. But not a strong enough message to actually prevent crime; there is no statistical evidence that capital punishment is an effective deterrent. On the contrary, some studies indicate that people fear life imprisonment more than they fear death.

Despite its failings, we do need capital punishment. Killing anyone, even criminals, cheapens society’s view of human life. We’re going to need that kind of degradation before we can implement real reforms to the justice system, like torture.

Just think about it: Capital punishment fails because it doesn’t scare people enough to stop them from committing crimes. Not everyone fears death. But if you can find me someone who doesn’t fear being tortured in the desert, I’ll buy you a giant magnifying glass. We can prevent crime, and we can do it without killing people. We just need to make it clear to President Bush that if he is really serious about promoting a “culture of life,” he’ll stop murdering inmates – and torture them instead. The cries of anguish from inmates on chemical burn row will save more lives than executing every convicted retard in the whole state of Texas.

Liberals have long argued that their pet solution – a combination of rehabilitation programs and life imprisonment – is a cheaper, better solution to our current corrections system. It is true that rehab programs reduce repeat offenses, producing lower crime rates and lower costs of prison management at the same time. It’s also true that the average cost of sending a prisoner to death costs far more than imprisoning him for life. It turns out that society doesn’t benefit from murder, even when criminals are too dangerous to reform.

The benefits of those reforms, however, pale in comparison to the benefits of torture programs. You can bet that repeat offenses will plummet when criminals have to answer to boiling oil. At the same time, corrections costs will fall through the floor. You could easily pack the lessons learned in five years of tedious imprisonment into two months of excruciating torture.

Once the inmates have undergone their punishment, we can turn our cheeks and let them go. Their sins forgiven, the prisoners are encouraged to return to a normal life. It’s what Jesus would do. Maybe. It’s possible that he wouldn’t torture and forgive, but it’s even more doubtful that he’d kill criminals.

Reform is long overdue in our justice system. Capital punishment is barbaric and pointless. At least torture would only be barbaric.

Loren Williams is a Daily Nexus columnist.