death penalty.

20 Sep

Thirty-five states have the death penalty; fifteen do not.  New York and New Jersey abolished the death penalty as recently as 2007.  Michigan abolished the death penalty in 1846.  Wisconsin in 1853.  In 2009, New Mexico abolished the death penalty.  However, it wasn’t retroactive, so two previously convicted inmates still sit on death row.

Since 1976, a total of 1226 people have been executed.  56% of the 1226 defendants executed were white, 35% were African-American, and 7% were Hispanic.  This is compared to the percentage distribution of murderers in the United States, which is 34% white, 35% black, and 30% unknown.  Also since 1976, there have been 130 people released from death row due to new evidence proving their innocence.  California, Florida, and Texas make up the states with the most death row inmates.  In total, Texas has had 463 executions– four times more than the next highest state, Virginia.  Eleven women have been executed since 1976.  1052 have died by lethal injection, 157 by electrocution, 11 by gas chamber, 3 by hanging, and 3 by firing squad.

Now, the costs.  The most comprehensive study in the country found that the death penalty costs North Carolina $2.16 million per execution over the cost of sentencing murders to life imprisonment.  The average death row inmate spends 10.26 years on death row.  In North Carolina, the cost of spending a year in maximum security prison is $32,000.  When you add the costs for an inmate to spend 10.26 years on death row at $32,000 a year with the cost of actually killing him, which is $2.16 million dollars, it ends up costing about $3 million per inmate.  When you take all 1226 inmates and consider that it cost $3 million to put them on death row and then, consequently, end their lives… the total cost is $3.6 TRILLION dollars.

Most disturbing of all, since 1990 only seven countries have reported executing juveniles:  Iran, Saudia Arabia, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen, Pakistan, and…  the United States.  That’s right–  several countries with questionable ethics and us.  Of the thirty-five states that have the death penalty, nineteen have a minimum age eligibility of 16-years-old.  In five states the minimum age is 17-years-old.  Only eleven states have a minimum age of 18-years-old.

Really?  We’re executing juveniles?

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3 Responses to “death penalty.”

  1. djmase 07.16.2010 at 8:41 pm #

    We are going to agree to disagree-ish on this one.

    • djmase 07.16.2010 at 10:14 am #

      Okay…so I have been processing through this and though I am not ready to stage a full frontal assault, I will pose some questions for you. (Hopefully, facilitating thought, as is my custom)
      In working through the nature of sin, the source(s) of sin, the results of sin, the magnitude of sin and the social dimension(s) of sin, which I have been doing of late for my Systems class, I have noticed a few things relevant to this post. Within the heading results of sin we find 4 elements; divine disfavor, guilt, punishment and death. Divine disfavor has not to do with God’s hate for mankind, but does focus on his loathing of sin due to his very nature as a pure and holy God, he literally can not abide sin. Upon sinning there are several elements to guilt, I will only focus on one, the legal position of being judged and found wanting, “guilty of the crime.” Humans stand guilty, murders stand guilty. Guilty, in this context demands punishment, after all we have already noted God’s nature. Would he be God if he, “just let it slide?”Herein lies the problem I pose to you.
      Punishment in the Text is generally considered to take on 3 forms; remedial, intended to correct; deterrent, consequences of sin serve as a warning to others; and retributive, giving a sinner what he has earned. Millard Erickson, the theologian comments, “There is today a rather widespread feeling of opposition to the idea that God’s punishment of the sinner is retribution. Retribution is regarded as primitive, cruel, a mark of hostility and vindictiveness, which is singularly inappropriate in a God of love who is a Father to his earthly children. Yet despite this feeling, which may reflect a permissive society’s conception of a loving father, there is definitely a dimension of divine retribution in the Bible.” Given Genesis 9:6 the conversation turns quite difficult. How do you respond? I can think of many things one could say…their validity all shaky…I merely wish to hear your apologetics for your position, and by apologetics I mean biblically, spiritually appraised position since you are in fact a believer and are called to exhibit such. (See also Is 1:24, 61:2, 63:4; Jer 46:10 and Ez 25:14 for more examples of a retributive God. In these passages the Hebrew word best equates to ‘Vengeance’ or ‘revenge’.)

  2. djmase 07.16.2010 at 10:17 am #

    The destruction of Imago Dei is serious…God seems to hold this opinion, thus I do. Philosophy is not a sufficient work around.

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