The State of Illinois just did away with the death penalty, an example Utah should follow for the most conservative of reasons: It’s too expensive and it’s not certain.
The story in the Washington Post (click) is interesting because it makes it clear that this is not only a bipartisan effort — a Democratic governor signed the bill but the policy was begun by a Republican — but the more intelligent, and cost effective, way to do it.
Illinois did away with the death penalty for humane reasons — too many on death row had been found innocent, the impossibility of being certain about a penalty that is certainly permanent, the inherent injustice of how cases are selected for prosecution as a death penalty case.
Weighed against those are the cries – understandable – of relatives of victims who want revenge, but revenge is not what justice is supposed to be about.
Cost? In Utah the average death penalty case costs $5 million or so. The one case Box Elder County is running is a major line item on the county annual budget. That’s your tax dollars at work, trying to kill someone.
People say “Why should we spend $35,000 a year feeding and clothing those guys and giving them medical care?” but if you do the math, $5 million costs more in the long run and, anyway, the food’s not that good, the clothes are prison-issue, the medical care is ditto, and the housing accomodations suck. Life Without Parole people get no benefits, not even a TV unless they pay for it.
So, yeah, they’re scum, mostly but on the chance, however small, that they’re innocent, we should not be killing them.
We shouldn’t be killing people anyway. That’s what killers do, and killers are not nice people.
Way to go Illinois. Utah should do the same.