These Surprising Allies Are Shaking Up the Fight Against the Death Penalty

These Surprising Allies Are Shaking Up the Fight Against the Death Penalty

A recent Gallup poll showed that the U.S. is losing its taste for capital punishment. Make no mistake: A majority of Americans are still in favor of state-sponsored homicide, but the 60% of people who claimed that they approve of capital punishment is an all-time low. Year after year, the death penalty is falling out of favor in this country. One segment of the population that is growing in opposition of the death penalty are those who have conservative values.

The poll stated that 81% of Republicans support capital punishment, but even that number was lower than it has been in the past. An important part of the change in the conservative and libertarian response to the death penalty is young people. The Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), an organization started by the youth coordinator of the presidential campaign of Ron Paul, the Republican Congressman from Texas, is a partner of Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty (CCATDP). In addition to the partnership with YAL, CCATDP attended the Young Republican National Federation’s Convention in Alabama.

Just last week, Kansas Republican Chase Blasi published an editorial explaining why capital punishment is counter to conservative positions. Blasi, a city councilperson and board member of the Kansas Young Republicans, laid out the argument stating why Kansas should repeal the death penalty in the next legislative session based on conservative values.

He started by explaining that capital punishment is another failed government program. He is correct in his assessment — the U.S. is awfully bad at running the system that leads to the ultimate punishment. A study published by Columbia University titled "A Broken System" showed that 68% of capital cases over a 22-year period were reversed. Given the outrage about the HealthCare.gov website not working, it is a wonder why states are not constantly trying to understand why there are so many mistakes in capital cases.

Blasi goes on to discuss the astronomical costs of the death penalty. In his home state of Kansas, it costs 70% more to try a case capitally, and Kansas is not the only state where costs for the death penalty are excessive. In the cash-strapped state of California, $4 billion more was spent for the capital system than if life without parole was the worst punishment given. It is important to note that life without parole is permanent imprisonment, which means that an inmate will die in prison.

Blasi continued that capital costs would be lower if the process worked faster. In fact, this past year, Florida passed the Timely Justice Act in order to speed up executions. Blasi noted that speeding up executions also accelerates the opportunity for the state to execute an innocent person. Since 1973, 143 people have been exonerated from death rows across the country. Interestingly, the state that has the most exonerees is Florida — 24 innocent men have left Florida’s death row because of wrongful convictions.

The last point Blasi makes is that conservatives have to be consistent with their message of protecting life. While this may be a point where people with other political philosophies may diverge, it is a conservative value and reasonable minds can disagree.

While some of the strongest advocates against capital punishment are murder victims’ family members, it is great to have young conservatives on board to end the expensive, dysfunctional, and dangerous scourge of capital punishment.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Chris Hill

Chris is currently the Director of the Education & Law Project of the North Carolina Justice Center. Before joining the NCJC, Chris was the State Strategies Coordinator with the ACLU Capital Punishment Project. While at the ACLU, Chris engaged in public education and legislative advocacy. Chris has also worked as a Supervising Attorney for Legal Services of New Jersey, where he sought to remove legal barriers impeding prisoners' successful re-entry back into society. In addition to extensive litigation experience, Chris has spent a great deal of his legal career, including his time as a National Association for Public Interest Law (now Equal Justice Works) Equal Justice Fellow, conducting outreach to educate the community about legal issues. Chris received his B.A. and his J.D. from Rutgers University. His posts do not reflect the opinion of his current employer.

MORE FROM

Hundreds rally in Times Square to protest Donald Trump’s transgender military ban

“I’m out here to support my trans brothers and sisters who have been serving our military for years and years and years."

Several Republicans are strongly denouncing Trump’s military transgender ban

“Anybody who wants to serve in the military should serve in the military. I don’t agree with the president.”

Worried Trump might pardon himself? Blame Alexander Hamilton.

Hamilton might not have been "thinkin' past tomorrow" when he pushed for broad executive privileges.

Harry Truman desegregated the military 69 years ago. Today, Trump banned transgender troops.

Truman wanted to end discrimination in the military "as rapidly as possible."

Here is a timeline of Donald Trump’s relationship with Jeff Sessions

Trump continued his Twitter attacks on Sessions Wednesday — reportedly while the embattled attorney general was in the White House.

How many transgender people serve in the U.S. military?

There's no exact number, but here's what research shows.

Hundreds rally in Times Square to protest Donald Trump’s transgender military ban

“I’m out here to support my trans brothers and sisters who have been serving our military for years and years and years."

Several Republicans are strongly denouncing Trump’s military transgender ban

“Anybody who wants to serve in the military should serve in the military. I don’t agree with the president.”

Worried Trump might pardon himself? Blame Alexander Hamilton.

Hamilton might not have been "thinkin' past tomorrow" when he pushed for broad executive privileges.

Harry Truman desegregated the military 69 years ago. Today, Trump banned transgender troops.

Truman wanted to end discrimination in the military "as rapidly as possible."

Here is a timeline of Donald Trump’s relationship with Jeff Sessions

Trump continued his Twitter attacks on Sessions Wednesday — reportedly while the embattled attorney general was in the White House.

How many transgender people serve in the U.S. military?

There's no exact number, but here's what research shows.