In college, I attempted to conduct a formal research project on views of the death penalty and how they relate to religious and political views.
I was surprised that across the political and religious spectrum significant majorities support the death penalty (these local stats are consistent with national stats).
As a strong opponent of the death penalty, I was most disturbed by the reasons given to justify their support. Most people referenced crime deterrence and cost-effectiveness, yet these two factors are not supported by any factual evidence. Studies indicate that the death penalty does not deter murder. In fact, in states with the death penalty violence is often higher, and immediately following a publicized execution crime generally spikes. As for cost-effectiveness, because of the system of appeals and the trials we require in death penalty cases, the death penalty sentence is more expensive than life in prison by millions of dollars.
I was not surprised that the survey respondents who supported the death penalty were far more likely to get basic stats about executions in the U.S. wrong. For example, most did not realize that the U.S. is ranked among the highest in the world in executions (we are currently ranked 4th, but in previous years has been ranked higher).
There are so many reasons to oppose the death penalty: spiritual (hello, what would Jesus or Buddah do?), political (minority and poor people are disproportionately executed and why would we give the state the power to kill?), logistics (all the reasons given to justify are not valid, it comes down to retribution). Our country has the blood of innocent people on our hands because of our desire to perpetuate retribution.
posted 3 years, 6 months ago
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