Wednesday, October 14, 2009
October is Respect Life month in the US Catholic Church and that means reflecting on all aspects of life. I'm referring to the neglected and unwanted adult LIFE. I'm specifically talking about those we consider problems--prisoners on death row.
The Catholic bishops in the US have been calling for an end to the use of the death penalty for years. You can't right a wrong with another wrong. One mistaken death for punishment not committed is too many.
Some Facts About the Death Penalty
35 states have the death penalty; 15 do not.
Recent Supreme Court decisions have limited the use of the death penalty by declaring it unconstitutional to execute persons with mental retardation and juveniles under the age of 18, or to impose the death penalty when no murder occurred or was intended. The court has also ruled that defendants are entitled to have a jury decide whether to impose the death penalty.
Approximately 3300 inmates are on death row in 35 state, military, and federal prisons.
Since 1973, there have been 135 exonerations of death row inmates.
Since 1976, there have been a total of 1,171 executions in the United States, including 35 in 2009 (through July).
The above picture is one of a priest hearing confession. "Oh Lord forgive them."
The California death penalty system costs taxpayers $114 million per year beyond the costs of keeping convicts locked up for life (L.A. Times, March 6, 2005). In Indiana, the total costs of the death penalty exceed the complete costs of life without parole by about 38 percent, assuming that 20 percent of death sentences are overturned and reduced to life (Indiana Criminal Law Study Commission, January 10, 2002).
*Source: Death Penalty Information Center