Youngstown Vindicator, Letter to the Editor, March 27, 2011
No. 1 in killing is not an honorThe nearly monthly drum-beat marching Ohio’s 157 death-row prisoners to today’s gallows goes on. Ohio is challenging Texas for status as the nation’s top executioner. Wouldn’t it be better to leave interstate competition for No. 1 status to the basketball court or football field? U.S. Supreme Court Justices Blackmun and Stevens, who once supported the death penalty, turned against it, as has Ohio Supreme Court Justice Paul Pfeifer. Years ago he helped draft our state’s “go ahead and kill them” statute. He now judges that legal option has gotten out of hand. Our former state prisons director has reached the same conclusion. Last year Ohio executed eight people, more than it has since 1949. Among other things, sustaining this drumbeat of death is more expensive than the alternative that 16 states have now adopted — life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. As Gov. Kasich and our legislature look for ways to balance our budget, wouldn’t it be better to save on the machinery of death than on education? Ohio’s Catholic bishops, including our own Bishop Murry, stand opposed to Ohio’s policy and practice. As Matthew Mangino wrote in the Feb. 6 Vindicator, when left to the politicians “capital punishment is more a campaign prop than a meaningful tool of the criminal justice system.”Approaching the issue on a moral and fiscal basis may persuade Ohio citizens that this is a competition where we don’t care to be No. 1, or even No. 2. Father Bob Bonnot, Struthers
An analysis of crime and punishment from the perspective of a former prosecutor and current criminal justice practitioner.
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