2012-04-23 17:00:14

Capital Punishment: Doesn’t Work and Takes Place Mostly in Texas


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The Economist has mapped out all the executions that have taken place in the United States since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. Not surprisingly, as Think Progress points out, “[o]ver one-third of all executions during this period took place in Texas, for a total of 481 people killed by that state. Of the remaining, non-Texas executions, the overwhelming majority are clustered in a small group of southern states.”

Also, a report released Wednesday by a committee formed by the National Research Council suggests that,

This new report from the Committee on Law and Justice concludes that research to date on the effect of capital punishment on homicide rates is not useful in determining whether the death penalty increases, decreases, or has no effect on these rates. The key question is whether capital punishment is less or more effective as a deterrent than alternative punishments, such as a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Yet none of the research that has been done accounted for the possible effect of noncapital punishments on homicide rates. The report recommends new avenues of research that may provide broader insight into any deterrent effects from both capital and noncapital punishments.

So, now, we can add lack of deterrence to the long list of reasons we shouldn’t have the death penalty, which is racist, classist, cruel, increasingly unusual, and kills innocent people.

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