abolish the death penalty

It is irreversible and mistakes happen. Execution is the ultimate, irrevocable punishment: the risk of executing an innocent person can never be eliminated. Since 1973, for example, more than 160 prisoners sent to death row in the USA have later been exonerated or released from death row on grounds of innocence. Others have been executed despite serious doubts about their guilt.

It does not deter crime. Countries who execute commonly cite the death penalty as a way to deter people from committing crime. This claim has been repeatedly discredited, and there is no evidence that the death penalty is any more effective in reducing crime than life imprisonment.

It is often used within skewed justice systems. In many cases recorded by Amnesty International, people were executed after being convicted in grossly unfair trials, on the basis of torture-tainted evidence and with inadequate legal representation. In some countries death sentences are imposed as the mandatory punishment for certain offences, meaning that judges are not able to consider the circumstances of the crime or of the defendant before sentencing.

It is discriminatory. The weight of the death penalty is disproportionately carried by those with less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds or belonging to a racial, ethnic or religious minority. This includes having limited access to legal representation, for example, or being at greater disadvantage in their experience of the criminal justice system.

It is used as a political tool. The authorities in some countries, for example Iran and Sudan, use the death penalty to punish political opponents.

2 Responses to “abolish the death penalty”

  1. The Trump administration had Lisa Montgomery killed this morning, in a rush of federal executions. The last judicially murdered woman before her was the communist Ethel Rosenberg, In 1953…

    • Followed by another federal execution of Corey Johnson last night. A further one is planned for today to conclude in the worst possible way the last days of POTUS⁴⁵…

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