Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

New Jersey outlaws the death penalty

The Northwest Progressive Institute commends the state of New Jersey for adopting noble, historic legislation to kill the death penalty:
New Jersey on Thursday took a major step to becoming the first state in four decades to ban executions as the state Assembly voted to abolish the death penalty in favor of life without parole.

The bill, which Gov. Jon Corzine said he would sign within a week, would spare the eight men on the state's sparsely populated death row; their death sentences will be changed.
We are very proud of our progressive brothers and sisters in New Jersey for taking the courageous step of outlawing executions. New Jersey will soon become the fourteenth state where the death penalty is illegal.

This is a great victory for human rights. We are thrilled by the news.

As Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts put it:
If someone commits a heinous crime, we need to excise them from society like a cancer, and I believe we can do that without the death penalty.
The Associated Press has an excellent article examining the consequences of abolishing the death penalty for good. An excerpt:
States with many death-penalty cases would save millions of dollars now spent on legal costs in long-running appeals. Additional savings would result in some states which now spend far more per inmate for Death Row facilities than other maximum-security inmates.

Abroad, notably in Europe and Canada, America's image would improve in countries that abolished capital punishment decades ago and now wonder why America remains one of only a handful of prosperous democracies that continue with executions.
Other states where executions are banned include Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

We urge the Legislatures in states that have not banned the death penalty (including Washington, Oregon, and Idaho) to follow New Jersey's lead and entirely forbid this inhumane and cruel form of ultimate punishment.


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