Sunday, November 08, 2009

Reconsidering the Death Penalty in a Time of Economic Crisis

Update: A new study has revealed that ending the death penalty could save the US millions.

Even when executions are not carried out, the death penalty costs the US hundreds of millions of dollars a year, further depleting budgets in the midst of economic crisis.

Capital punishment is rated as one of the least effective crime deterrents, is very costly, and irreversible in a court system enveloped in error. Richard Dieter, director of the Death Penalty Information Center and author of the report "Smart on Crime: Reconsidering the Death Penalty in a Time of Economic Crisis", said, in just one death penalty trial

"the state may pay one million dollars more than for a non-death penalty trial. But only one in every three capital trials may result in a death sentence, so the true cost of that death sentence is three million dollars," the study's author said.

"Further down the road, only one in ten of the death sentences handed down may result in an execution. Hence, the cost to the state to reach that one execution is 30 million dollars,"
That is, if the people we murder for murdering, actually did murder someone. We can never be 100% sure, 100% of the time, that when "we" flick the switch, or inject the lethal cocktail, that the person on the other end is indeed guilty.

However, the death penalty only applies to certain people for the most part. In fact, some murderers are compensated and anyone who protests their life snuffing practices, such as the seven peace activists back in late 2007 - Steve Baggarly, Beth Brockman, Mark Colville, Peter DeMott, Mary Grace, Laura Marks and Bill Streit - members of Dorothy Day's Catholic Worker movement get arrested at the headquarters of Blackwater USA for simulating the shooting of Iraqi civilians, resisting arrest, trespassing and destruction of property.

American politicians campaign using their tough stance on crime, declaring death-row inmates as "cold-blooded killers" who deserve to die. Yet our government is responsible for more death and violence than any one of these death-row inmates could possibly bring about... paid for by our tax dollars.

We may not have pulled the trigger, nevertheless, just because we close our eyes to the atrocities that take place in our name, all over the world, does not mean our hands remain without blood. How can we condone and champion taking another person's life in the name of justice when our own hands are still dripping with the blood of innocent people?

Kenneth Boyd's -- the 1,000th prisoner to be put to death in the US since the death penalty was reinstated -- final words were “God bless everyone in here.”

Kenneth Boyd's last words should remind Christians, especially, that when we ritualistically murder other people, we are not doing Jesus Christ's work, we are murdering Jesus Christ all over again thus exposing the cold-blooded murderer in all of us.


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