Illinois abolishes capital punishment
In Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill abolishing the death penalty, bringing the number of states that don’t allow capital punishment to a total of 16; with any luck, other states will soon follow.
It should be common knowledge that no justice system is devoid of flaws, and it is in our best interest to seek out the defects and systematically correct them in the most practical way possible.
An increasing amount of Americans are against capital punishment, and for good reasons.
Let’s ignore the ideas of cruel and unusual punishment, government-sponsored murder and the sense of justice, which some believe can only come from the execution of the criminal, in order to focus on reasoning and facts.
The death penalty in Texas costs tax payers an average of $2.3 million per person, three times the cost of imprisoning a criminal in a high security cell for 40 years, according to FNSA.org. State governments have been seeking ways to balance budgets during the financial crisis. As the other 16 states have seen, this is a good place to start.
Advocates say the death penalty deters crime. There is no evidence for this. States that enact the death penalty the most, often southern states, still have the highest regional crime rates in the country according to research published by deathpenalty.org.
If the object is to lower crime rates, the best method would be to abolish capital punishment and give the savings to law enforcement, which have faced layoffs in a number of states this past year, and provide compensation to the victims’ families as the precedent has been in the past.
Life without parole is the best method of incarceration. Citizens want criminals off the streets – life without parole fulfills that request, and more economically. Also, juries and judges are statistically less likely to convict when the death penalty is sought.
There is a question of who will speak for the victims if the death penalty is abolished. It needs to be understood by everyone that victims speak for themselves and don’t lack the ability to do so.
Not every victim is a death penalty advocate, and it’s borderline offensive to say every victim needs the death penalty in order to get closure and fulfill their sense of justice.
Wrongful executions are a serious problem, the error rate is simply too high; even the wrongful execution of one person is enough to warrant steps to ensure it never happens again.
Somewhere a man or woman is incarcerated and sentenced to death for a crime they didn’t commit. The death penalty limits the amount of time someone can appeal and have their innocence proclaimed.
Once an innocent person is executed, there’s no going back.
Gov. Quinn answered the death penalty debate best when he said, “Since our experience has shown that there is no way to design a perfect death penalty system, free from the numerous flaws that can lead to wrongful convictions or discriminatory treatment, I have concluded that the proper course of action is to abolish it.”