The Death Penalty appears to violate the injunction against cruel and unusual punishment enshrined in the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It also disproportionately targets lower socio–economic groups who are more likely to get in trouble, yet less able to afford effective counsel. We should not kill others, except in self–defense, and a person already locked up has already been neutralized.

Capital punishment is widely regarded in most of the world's developed countries as barbarism. Twelve states and the District of Columbia already ban it. The primary countries where the vast majority of executions still occur are China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the U.S., and Iraq, in that order. The U.S. and Florida is not in the best of company on this issue, for the simple reason that we have it wrong.

Revenge and retribution have no place in society for practical reasons. Our society simply works better when we assume that there are underlying causes of errant behavior that can be addressed. That being said, any adult in prison should be given the option of terminating their own life, after a suitable period of psychiatric evaluation and consultation, just as any adult outside of prison should. All death row inmates, whose convictions are not overturned, should have their sentences commuted to mandatory life with no possibility of parole.

In Florida, 24 death row prisoners have already had their sentences overturned. This fact suggests that innocent men have and will continue to be executed. We need to end this barbarism, if for no other reason than pure economic self–interest. Abolishing the death penalty will save Florida about $50 million a year in prosecutions and appeals. Read more.

E-mail: campaign@MichaelEArth.org