An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.  - Gandhi

Thirteen Reasons to Abolish the Death Penalty

The death penalty is not fairly administered. Innocent people do get convicted and sent to death row. Convictions often resut from inexperienced or poor counse. Many peope on death row have been exonerated because of ater judgments or DNA. There is a better alternative: life without parole.


  1. The death penalty does not deter murder, or violent crime. Indeed, murder rates are lower in states and nations that have abolished the death penalty.
  2. The death penalty costs more than life imprisonment. A death penalty trial, appeals, incarceration on death row, and execution typically costs from $2 to $5 million. A trial seeking and getting “life without parole” – figuring 40 years in prison – may cost between $1 and $2 million … costing $1 to $2 million less than death.
  3. Innocent people do get convicted; some have been executed. In the US, at least 416 persons have mistakenly been convicted of potentially capital crimes. Of those, 139 were sentenced to death, and 23 were actually executed. Researchers say that there may be many more wrongful executions not yet identified.
  4. The death penalty is a political football. As a symbol of “being tough on crime,” the death penalty helps politicians get elected. Since it does not reduce violent crime, it wastes money that could be spent making society safer. States that have abolished the death penalty can redirect the money saved into programs that actually reduce violent crime.
  5. Racism, #1: Defendants whose victims were white are four to ten times more likely to receive a death sentence than defendants whose victims were people of color.
  6. Racism, #2: Minority defendants are more likely than white defendants to be sentenced to death for the same crimes. Research into sentencing patterns shows that blacks are three to four times as likely to be sentenced to death as whites charged in similar cases.
  7. Poor people get executed more often than wealthier people. Over 99% of the people on death row are indigent, according to one U.S. Appeals Court judge. Persons of all income levels commit murder, but poor people are the primary recipients of the death penalty.
  8. Juvenile offenders are still executed. Since 1972, at least 160 juveniles received a death sentence for crimes committed before they were 18 years old.
  9. Mentally ill people still get executed. The determination of sanity is generally made after very limited contact with the accused, often by psychiatrists employed by the prosecution. Inevitably, some mentally ill defendants are declared “sane and fit for execution.”
  10. Inconsistent sentencing makes the death penalty a lottery. Only one out of 100 people convicted of murder is sentenced to death. Those sentenced to death are not necessarily those whose crimes are the worst – rather, they tend to be the poor, people of color, and those whose victims are white.
  11. Support for the death penalty is decreasing. When offered a range of sentencing options, respondents in several surveys have shown a growing preference for life imprisonment rather than execution.
  12. Many murder victims’ families oppose the death penalty. Dr. Martin Luther King’s mother was murdered, but he opposed capital punishment. Dr. King was murdered, but Coretta Scott King opposed capital punishment. Oklahomans including Johnnie Carter, whose 7 y/o granddaughter Katherine Busch was murdered; Bud Welch, whose daughter Julie died in the Murrah Building bombing; and Andrew Rice whose brother David died in the WTC on 9/11, all oppose capital punishment.

13.  In Matthew, Jesus said, “Do not repay evil with evil.” Jesus did not say, “ … unless you think the one who sinned deserves it.”   Capital punishment has been abolished in 149 nations. Why not the USA?

13 reasons