Can We End The Death Penalty In 2013?

According to a new report by the Death Penalty Information Center, 2012 saw the second fewest number of death sentences since the penalty was reinstated in 1976. States like Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Indiana handed our zero death sentences. Overall nine states carried out executions in 2012, but just four states, Arizona, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas, were responsible for over three-quarters of the executions in the entire country.

2012 also marked some key victories in the push to end the death penalty. Connecticut became the fifth state in five years to abolish the death penalty, just after New Jersey, New York, New Mexico and Illinois. And California came so close to completely abolishing capital punishment in the state. It’s part of a growing trend. More than half of the states in this country either do not have the death penalty or have not carried out an execution in five years.

What does that mean for 2013? Could 2013 be the year we finally get rid of the death penalty?

It could. If we work hard enough. “Capital punishment is becoming marginalized and meaningless in most of the country,” said Richard Dieter, DPIC’s Executive Director and the author of the report.  “In 2012, fewer states have the death penalty, fewer carried out executions, and death sentences and executions were clustered in a small number of states.  It is very likely that more states will take up the question of death penalty repeal in the years ahead.”

The fight in California illustrates clear momentum on the side of repeal. Voters understand that as a form of punishment its time has passed. California alone spends $184 million annually on a program that has zero impact on reducing crime rates and a spotty at best record of preventing executions of innocent people.

Let’s make 2013 the year we say say goodbye, forever, to capital punishment.

 

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Photo from kangotraveler via flickr.

145 comments

Geoffrey Jones
Geoffrey Jones3 years ago

Capital punishment is a retrograde step. Why do American State officials try to teach people not to kill by killing people? It's utterly illogical. Has this approach resulted in reducing murders? Judging by the increasing number of State executions, the answer is an emphatic No! I wholly agree with the opinion of Arlette S. If a person has been executed mistakenly, then such blunders cannot be undone. The legal process is not infallible. Even if a single innocent person forfeits their life unnecessarily this is a disaster. it would be far more sensible to abolish executions and to find successful ways of modifying behaviour.

Carl W.
Carl w Coleman3 years ago

40 years in prison, inmates claim, is worse than State murders.

Maybe we'll now look for ways to REALLY habilitat, & prevent murders. Over & over, police chiefs across the nation have said State executions have never affected the murdewr rate - just costs us millions, and kills innocent people.

Geoffrey Jones
Geoffrey Jones3 years ago

Capital punishment is a retrograde step. Why do American State officials try to teach people not to kill by killing people? It's utterly illogical. Has this approach resulted in reducing murders? Judging by the increasing number of State executions, the answer is an emphatic No! I wholly agree with the opinion of Arlette S. If a person has been executed mistakenly, then such blunders cannot be undone. The legal process is not infallible. Even if a single innocent person forfeits their life unnecessarily this is a disaster. it would be far more sensible to abolish executions and to find successful ways of modifying behaviour.

vicky t.
vicky T.3 years ago

Maybe if the criminals were kept alive and forced to work in a way that would help society (recycling for example), I'd be against the death penalty again...

Rochelle Hunter
Rochelle Hunter3 years ago

I think it should stay. But I agree with the fact that we need a fast lane! When these people have nothing to fear in prison the crime is only going to get worse. We need a no tolerance policy for these crazy people and if they can rape and murder then they have no right to be treated humanely! I say hang them!

Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla3 years ago

The death penalty should stay for rapers!!!

Arild Warud
Arild Warud3 years ago

It's possible,but unlikely.

Arlette S.
Arlette Stuip3 years ago

continued

The deterrence argument does not work: murder rates are 45% lower in states without the death penalty. Although politicians like to be tough on crime when it comes to getting votes, strapping a person into a chair for a lethal injection does little to protect the public. Even two of the principal architects of California’s death penalty have changed their minds. Don Heller, who wrote the death penalty law in 1978, and Ron Briggs, who helped enact it into law, both call it “a colossal failure” and have recently pledged to replace it.

It is our social responsibility to show that we are better than murderers. The rest is a tragic illusion. Killing feeds the cycle of violence. We cannot defend life by taking life.



Arlette S.
Arlette Stuip3 years ago

Killing is a heinous crime which should not go unpunished. But if killing is an inhumane, cruel, and barbarian act, then the state should have no authority to decide that revenge is essential, that killing is necessary to end wrongdoings, that violence to end violence sets a good example.

Whether it be by shooting, stoning, knifing, beheading, the gas chamber, lethal injection, or electrocution, in Saudi Arabia for the crime of being homosexual or in Texas for being a mentally ill underage killer, these are all premeditated killings which do not belong in any civilized society.

Regardless of what a judge and jury decide, there is always the possibility of error. Evidence can be fabricated, testimonies too.
Prisoners unjustly incarcerated have been later released based on DNA proof. It has been estimated that one out of every seven executed were later proved innocent. Since 1970, more than 60 innocent people have been discovered on death row. The Death Penalty Information Center lists those granted a complete pardon based on evidence of innocence. The average number of years between being sentenced to death and exoneration: 9.8 years. The number of cases in which DNA played a substantial factor in establishing innocence: 18

People who receive capital punishment are usually the poor and minorities, the ones who cannot afford to hire competent defense lawyers who know how to win cases.

The deterrence argument does not work: murder rates are 45% lower in states wi

Klaus Peters
Klaus Peters3 years ago

I am not sure. People take lives without a concience, but we as potential victims are supposed to have a concience and not send them to deathrow? May God be the judge. I would not like to be the hangman, is it murder or is it justice? Then again, what about the victims? It is allright to kill people in wars by the winning side, it is murder by the loosers. I am confused. The bible says, 'Thy shalt not kill' but does not condemn wars. I am even more confused now.