By: Alex Hale ~Staff Writer~
This Friday we will celebrate our Catholic heritage by commemorating St. Xavier our patron with his feast. As we do this, we as a campus should remember our Jesuit-Catholic values, including the upholding of all human life. When most people hear this, they immediately think about one of the most controversial issues in the United States: abortion. However, many who are vocally pro-life on abortion are either quiet or not pro-life on the death penalty.
On Oct. 17, Hamilton County Judge Megan Shanahan decided to sentence Glen Bates for his admittedly awful crimes, mainly the murder of his 2-year-old daughter, Glenara, by beating her against a door frame. His acts are heinous, and I want to be clear that I have no sympathy for the crime that he has committed. However, it is not the business of the state to end the life of a man, especially since this is the first time since 2010 that Hamilton County will execute someone. Capital punishment has been seen as a way to deter crime, to be more cost-effective for society and to give the relatives of those affected by the crime a chance to be at peace. However, these arguments don’t hold any ground, and it is time to put this outdated practice to bed.
According to the California Comission on the Fair Adminstration of Justice, the costs of the death penalty are much higher than the costs of life in prison. As of 2008, in California it costs $137 million to keep the death penalty, while without the death penalty it would have cost $11.5 million. There has been no study that clearly shows that the death penalty influences the crime rate at all. Jeffrey Fagan, a member of the faculty at Columbia Law School, has found multiple examples that don’t show any correlation between the two. He addresses the state of New York when Gov. George Pataki reinstated capital punishment in 1995 until the courts overturned the law in 2004. The study shows that there was a steady decline in crime from the time before the law, during the law and after the law was overturned. There was no increase in crime based on the law being repealed. The death penalty is at least supposed to inspire peace for the victim’s family, but if there is even the mildest chance that the person could be innocent, then that can lead to more pain for the victim’s family.
In Oklahoma, there is a man by the name of Richard Glossip who was convicted of commissioning a murder. The actual murderer, who turned Glossip in, has been put on record saying that he turned Glossip in to escape a death penalty sentence of his own. Even after all of this, Glossip still may be executed by the state for something he didn’t do.
Due to medical ethics, a doctor is not allowed to execute anyone. This means that the prisoner is injected by someone who may be at higher risk of missing the vein. If they hit a muscle, it can cause extreme pain and prolong the death. This happens more often than it seems and is anything but humane. In one particular case in Florida, an execution took 34 minutes. It is fair to say with this example alone that lethal injection is not humane but rather closer to cruel and unusual punishment. Even if you have no sympathy for those on death row, it is apparent that this is an expensive practice that doesn’t deter crime and can kill innocent people.