FEATURED POST

Iran: The death penalty is an inhumane punishment for death row prisoners, their families and society as a whole

Image
"Whether guilty or not, the outcome of the death penalty is the same. In Iran, the death penalty is by hanging, and it takes from several agonising seconds to several harrowing minutes for death to occur and for everything to be over."

Every year several hundred people are executed by the Iranian authorities.
According to reports by Iran Human Rights (IHR) and other human rights groups, death row prisoners have often no access to a defence lawyer after their arrest and are sentenced to death following unfair trials and based on confessions extracted from them under torture. 
These are issues which have been addressed in IHR’s previous reports. The current report is based on first-hand accounts of several inmates held in Iran's prisons and their families. The report seeks to illustrate other aspects of how the death penalty affects the inmate, their families and, as a consequence, society.
How does a death row inmate experience his final hours?
Speaking about the final ho…

Abolishing the death penalty is not a 'defense' of society's worst criminals

Electric chair
A Nov. 16 op-ed addressed an October panel discussion centered around the various issues with the death penalty ("Addressing false assumptions about the death penalty"). The author claims the panel "defended the indefensible" - rapists and murderers. The panel's purpose was not to "defend" anybody, but to address a broken system and discuss better alternatives. What is indefensible is the perpetuation of a failed policy that doesn't keep the public safer, risks executing innocent people and costs taxpayers millions of dollars in the process.

The author claims that the death penalty acts as a deterrent and saves lives - that more executions means a lower overall murder rate. The problem with that argument, though, is that it's false on its face. He cites that in 1960 there were 56 executions and 9,140 murders. 4 years later there were 15 executions and 9,250 murders. Therefore, because there were 41 fewer executions in 1964 versus 1960, and an increase of 110 murders, the death penalty must be an effective deterrent. What he fails to factor in is the population increase in the United States from 1960 to 1964. This means the homicide rate was lower in the year with fewer executions - 5.1 murders per 100,000 in 1960 and 4.9 in 1964.

When comparing death penalty states against non-death penalty states, the lack of deterrent effect is apparent. In the last decade, death penalty states have seen an average increase in their homicide rates of 2.25 %, from 5.31 per 100,000 people in 2007 to 5.43 in 2016. Non-death penalty states have actually seen their homicide rates decrease by 7.9 %, from 5.28 in 2007 to 4.86 in 2016.

Additionally, of the 10 states with the lowest murder rates in 2016, 8 of them were states with no death penalty. Finally, since the argument is that more executions means an overall lower murder rate, when you take the top 10 states with the highest execution numbers since the death penalty was reinstated, they have an average homicide rate of 5.78 over the last decade, roughly 17 % higher than the national average of 4.94 during the same time.

"Beyond not being an effective deterrent to crime, the death penalty is flawed in other profound ways."

Dozens of studies far more exhaustive than an op-ed allows have shown there is no deterrent benefit to the death penalty. The most comprehensive analysis was conducted by the renowned National Research Council, which examined over three decades of studies and concluded there is no deterrent effect by having the death penalty. The conclusion of these scientists and academics is shared by experts on the front lines of keeping our communities safe. In 2 separate national surveys of police chiefs, the death penalty was ranked the least effective tool to prevent violent crime.

Beyond not being an effective deterrent to crime, the death penalty is flawed in other profound ways. Since 1976, at least 160 people have been released from death rows due to evidence of their innocence (an average of one person every 3 months) - some within hours of their scheduled executions. Additionally, the costs are outrageous. According to Utah's Legislative Fiscal Analysis Office, the death penalty costs us $1.6 million more than life without parole per inmate. Unavoidable mandates from the U.S. Supreme Court mean capital cases take decades from trial to conclusion (which in most cases is a legal reversal of some sort, not an execution). This lengthy process is also a nightmare for the victims' families who are promised a punishment and then forced to wait through year after year, appeal after appeal, while the condemned becomes a celebrity.

Those of us who spoke on the panel last month did so with a desire to expose the ugly truth that our death penalty system isn't serving our state. We are eager to cultivate a robust and honest dialogue about a punishment that has cost our state millions of dollars, provides false promises to victims, risks executing innocent people and - as experts continually attest - doesn't make us any safer.

Source: Deseret News, Op-Ed, Kevin Greene, November 30, 2017. Mr. Greene is the state director of Utah Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty.


⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!



"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Tennessee prepares electric chair, execution date unconfirmed

Malaysia: Minimum 30-years imprisonment to replace death penalty

Botswana using fellow prisoners as hangmen for death row inmates - Official

Tennessee: Zagorski Execution Explained: If, When And How He Could Be Executed

Pakistan: Zainab's killer Imran Ali to be hanged in Lahore on Wednesday

Letters from inmates on death row: An overview of why South Korea needs to abolish capital punishment

Arizona: Aussie mum who could face death penalty fronts court

Texas: "It's wrong for an imperfect system to impose an irreversible punishment."

Death penalty: How many countries still have it?

Indonesia: Busting the myths of the death penalty