This article, Ohio Catholic Bishops Seek to End Death Penalty, landed in my Yahoo! Mailbox today. What I found interesting is that state lawmaker, Democrat Representative Ted Celeste, wants the bill to become part of the budget debate.
It’s widely known that it’s cheaper to lock up criminals and throw away the key than to pay for years of appeals. One can make a compelling case against the death penalty on the costs alone. Being debated in budget talks – seriously? Will the agenda look like this?
- $10 million for the roads in Cincinnati
- $1 million for roof repair of the Carrier Dome
- Commuting the death sentence of John Doe to life in prison
- $500K for restroom renovation in the Woodling Gymnasium
I sure as hell hope not.
Considering the gravity of the punishment, the death penalty should warrant its own debate. Maybe Representative Celeste thinks this is the best way to get the issue noticed – through its cost. This is what I find disturbing. When it comes to something as serious as the death penalty, money should not be a consideration.
I am pro-capital punishment. What we do has consequences. Sometimes, you have to pay for your crimes with your life. People have argued with me that the death penalty is barbaric and inhumane. Just turn on the news. The crimes that call for execution are usually barbaric and inhumane. Getting a lethal injection? The victims should have been so lucky. Many are tortured before being killed.
I don’t believe capital punishment is a deterrent, though. There are people who are just evil. I think there are “bad seeds,” the dark souls. For them, the threat of lethal injection won’t stop them.
That said, capital punishment is the ultimate punishment. It should not be meted out lightly. There should be an overwhelming amount of evidence, preferably DNA. We’d have to make absolutely sure that the right person is in prison. Too many times, it’s not. DNA is exonerating inmates now, which is a tragedy.
If the case for death has been proven and execution is the punishment, I believe it should be carried out a lot more swiftly. One appeal should be enough. After that, I believe the execution should be within six months of the appellate decision. This would eliminate the “cost” factor.
The fact that Ohio is bringing this to the table is a good thing. The article stated that some counties don’t even consider the death penalty for cases because it is just too costly. These issues need to be examined. Not at the budget table, though. We’re dealing with life and death here. Let’s at least pretend we’re not equating it with dollars and cents.