Thursday, January 3, 2008

Commentary: Capital Punishment Backwards, Archaic

A few weeks ago, New Jersey took the bold step of outlawing the death penalty.

While New Jersey hasn't actually executed anyone since 1963, it is still a monumental moment in our history. I am hoping that this move will shake up other states, including Florida, to do the same and join the 21st century. Most of the civilized world has abolished capital punishment.

Our nation has been struggling with the death penalty recently. Cruel and unusual punishment? Lethal injection versus electric chair? I'm thinking archaic, third world, backwards form of punishment that has been a complete and total failure.

Study after study has proven that this is not a deterrent to future crime, and too many of these cases are overturned on appeal. Executing prisoners ends up taking valuable time in the court system, and is more expensive than just putting away these people without the possibility of parole. One conservative estimate puts the cost in excess of $1 million per death row inmate.

I'm sorrrr-rrry. A real change in national policy could be, no, should be, on the horizon, as the U.S. Supreme Court tackles this topic. The New Jersey decision may be the first step in building the momentum toward a national ban on all capital punishment. This is long overdue unless we want to remain like communist China and Iran and North Korea.

The opinions expressed by Jim Philips are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the ownership or management of WESH.

No comments: