This isn't quite on topic, but it's conneced with the idea of very severe punishment appropriate to certain crimes.
A few days ago I was reading about America's most secure prison, reserved for its most dangerous and heinous criminals: ADX Florence. Inmates include the likes of Ted Kaczynski, Richard Reid (the 'shoe bomber'), Djokhar Tsarnaev (Boston marathon bomber), and various other assorted 9/11 organisers, cartel leaders, serial child rapists, and mob bosses.
Among this list of reprobates was a guy I'd never heard of (though probably should have) called Robert Hanssen. His picture and brief biography stood out to me, it's why I noticed him. A clearly very well-heeled and educated man. Very long story short he was an FBI agent who had been spying for the Soviets and later Russia for more than 20 years. Treason in other words. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Hanssen
A film was recently made about him, starring Chris Cooper.
He was sentenced to 15 life terms (despite personally never having killed anyone) without the possibility of parole, and will now live out the remainder of his days spending 23 hours a day in solitary confinement.
Since reading this story a few days ago I've been trying to decide for myself - does he really deserve that level of horrific punishment? I don't have my opinion yet. Treason is a very serious crime if you've decided to serve your country, no doubt, but I can't help thinking that Hanssen's strange (to me) punishment was designed to serve as a warning to others in the FBI or CIA who are thinking of doing it, rather than as an appropriate sentence for someone like him (as far as I can tell, not one single expert describes him as a danger to himself or to others, or as a flight risk, so why the 23-hours-a-day solitary confinement in the most secure prison in America alongside the terrrorists and psychotic contract killers?)
Any thoughts on whether you think the guy deserves this kind of incarceration? Do you think (if it were available in this case) he deserves the death penalty for what he did?