Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a death penalty ban into law on Wednesday, making Illinois the 16th state to end capital punishment. Quinn also commuted the sentences of the 15 inmates on death row in the state. Instead, they will serve life in prison without parole. The ban on executions will take effect July 1. -by Jennifer Epstein for Politico.
James: State sponsored killed is the wrong way to show people that killing is wrong. Seriously, why do we kill people to show other people that killing is wrong? I believe that life in prison without the possibility of parole is a just, yet humane punishment as it avoids that taking of a life while ensuring that they will never kill again. It also gives them plenty of time to think about the horror and pain that they have caused.
They say that time heals all wounds, and I think there is some truth to that phrase. I've seen plenty of documentaries about men on death row who are older now and speak of how much they regret their previous actions. I've seen hardened criminals cry like a baby as an old man at the suffering they causes for their victims, themselves and the criminal's family.
Ending the death penalty is also a cheaper policy than maintaining a death row. As it turns out, it's ten times cheaper despite most people thinking the opposite says Donald McCartin, a former California jurist know as, "The Hanging Judge of Orange County." This from an article by the Associated Press.
And, what of the moral cost to the individuals that we task with the actual killing of the prisoner? I saw a documentary on the death penalty that interviewed several former executioners for prisons who are now emotionally scarred and experiencing nightmares from their former, grisly jobs. If we couldn't kill a person ourselves then how can we ask someone to do it for us and act like that blood isn't on our hands? And, what of the innocent blood that has surely been spilled from executing an innocent person? It seems we can't go a month without hearing someone being exonerated from prison after 20-30 years thanks to DNA evidence.
We can not hope to heal our society of violence when we are sanctioning it's practice in our name via capital punishment. It is my hope that all states in the U.S. move in this enlightened direction.
~Peace to all beings~