Questions and Answers by Thich Nhat Hanh:
Q: Thay, what are your views on capital punishment? Suppose someone has killed ten children. Why should he be allowed to live on?
A: Ten people are dead; now you want another one, you want eleven. A person who has killed ten children is a sick person. Of course we want to lock him up to prevent him killing more, but that is a sick person, and we have to find ways to help that person. Killing him does not help him, and does not help us. There are others like him in society, and looking at him deeply we know that something is wrong with our society; our society has created people like that. Therefore, looking at him, we can see in the light of interbeing the other elements that have produced him. That is how your understanding arises in yourself, and then you see that that person is there for you to help, and not to punish. Of course you have to lock him up for the safety of other children, but locking him up is not the only thing you can do. We can do other things to help him. Punishing is not the only thing, we can do much better.