Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Death Penalty in New Jersey

New Jersey certainly has problems, but state-sanctioned murder is not one of them.  In this issue, Jersey is quite enlightened, compared to some of your Southern States, that is.

New Jersey's death penalty was, in any event, useless. From the time it was reinstated in 1982 no one was executed; the last execution in the state occurred in 1963. Instead, inmates languished on death row throughout an almost endless appeals process. Calls to speed up that process were misguided, however, considering the many instances across the country of convicted killers — including those on death row — having their sentences overturned thanks to fresh DNA evidence.

Morality issues remain, with the enduring question of whether eye-for-an-eye justice has a place in an evolving society. A special commission that examined the death penalty in New Jersey before its repeal suggested that capital punishment is not consistent with evolving standards of decency. But that's a debate unlikely to ever be resolved to everyone's satisfaction.
I don't know why everyone's not satisfied, I certainly am. "Capital punishment is not consistent with evolving standards of decency."  What could be simpler than that?

Please leave a comment.


  1. I agree. As mentioned, DNA evidence has shown many to be innocent. Innocence Project (http://www.innocenceproject.org/) has exonerated 266 prisoners with DNA testing, 17 of which were on death row.

    Why execute at all? Is it to prevent crime? Studies have shown that comparable crimes actually increase following executions.

    Is it to reduce costs? With all of the appeals process, it actually costs more to put someone on death row and execute them than it does to give them life in prison.

    Is it to get some measure of revenge? Maybe. But I ask whether that is a goal for an enlightened society. Humane housing is more enlightened, and in at least some cases, individuals have changed while in prison and even contributed to society from behind bars.

  2. Have you read that all of the companies that manufacture the drugs used in death penalties in America have discontinued the manufacture and sales to American penal institutions?
    In the previous comment, Baldr states that individuals have changed in some cases...well, in an enlightened penal system, much can be done, we all are capable of changing, but the American penal system doesn't seem to offer much opportunity for personal redemption.
    I was very involved in the filming of the movie, Dead Man Walking. I read the book, I met Helen PreJean and it was a real eye and mind opener.
    When you look at the world map, the countries which still rely on the death penalty as a solution...America is part of the third world, it is one of the most repressive regimes on the planet...America doesn't do public beheadings like Saudi Arabia, or public stonings like Iran, but if you are going to use this threat as a deterrent, then what is more twisted? A public display in which we all become unwitting participants or doing it in the dark, in private?

  3. It's mainly about revenge disguised as justice. There's no place for that crap in an enlightened society. No wonder most Americans still like it.