Are the innocent sent to death row and released somehow more important than the innocent being slaughtered on the streets? Of course not. Then why
aren't these same groups working even harder against those criminal justice practices which actually do destroy many innocent lives? Because it is
not the concern for innocents which drives them, but the simple fact that they oppose the death penalty.
Furthermore, any assertion that the death penalty is not a deterrent is simply false. First, no one has proven the death penalty is not a deterrent.
Secondly, in reviewing 30 years of deterrent studies, the strongest statement one may make against deterrence is that there is conflicting data.
Third, the current state of the debate is that there is no evidence that execution deters more than incarceration. Finally, there are numerous studies
which find that deterrence does deter more than incarceration.
And, as virtually everyone agrees that all punishments deter some, are we to conclude that, somehow, the most severe sanction deters none? Of course
While a solid case for deterrence does exist, if unsure, we should heed the words of Marquette University Professor John McAdams, who concludes, "If
we execute murderers and there is in fact no deterrent effect, we have killed a bunch of murderers. If we fail to execute murderers, and doing so
would in fact have deterred other murders, we have allowed the killing of a bunch of innocent victims. I would much rather risk the former. This, to
me, is not a tough call."
Finally, executed murderers cannot harm again. Living murderers do harm again, quite often, in prison, after escape and after release. Based upon
reason and the facts, a concern for the innocent will, necessarily, result in more support for executions.
- Dudley Sharp, Justice For All, Director of Death Penalty Resources