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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

UPDATE: Illinois Senate also votes to abolish death penalty

From the article:

Illinois was poised to become the first state since 2009 to abolish the death penalty after the state Senate on Tuesday approved the ban and sent it to Democratic Governor Pat Quinn for his signature.

The Senate vote came after House approval late last week. The Senate vote was 32-25.

Illinois has not executed anyone for more than a decade after former Republican Gov. George Ryan imposed a moratorium on the death penalty in January 2000 following a series of revelations that people had been sent to Death Row who were later found to be innocent.

"We've had 20 innocent people on Death Row," said Jeremy Schroeder, executive director of the Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty. "It's time to be done with the moratorium and do the right thing."


  1. Governments have been carrying out capital punishment for thousands of years. I would venture to say that if a state were to completely abolish the death penalty that would take all the deterrence away from committing capital offense murder. Without that ultimate punishment looming over everyone's head, what is there to hold people back from just killing for the sake of it? It should remain in place in all states and should be used more often. If the death penalty was carried out more often, it would serve as the deterrent is was meant to be and keep people from killing each other.

  2. I agree with your statement that it should be that way, but hasn't it been proven that the death penalty does not actually have a deterrence effect?

  3. Actually Wade there are 35 states with the death penalty and 15 without. So 15 states already live without it, and the murder rate is actually much lower in those states.

    Of the 35 states that have the death penalty, only 9 have used it at least once per year during the past 30 years. Thus, there are really only 9 death penalty states. Further, only 1 state (Texas) averages more than 10 executions per year, so that is the only state where executions are common.

    What is weird is that even in Texas, only about 1.6% Of murderers receive death sentences, so even there, executions are rare relative to murder. And where does Texas rate in their murder rate? Top 10 in the nation.

    Wrightja is correct that there is little to no evidence of deterrence by capital punishment. And when compared to life imprisonment without parole, there is literally no credible evidence that the death penalty deters more than that alternative punishment.

    Our state has historically been a top 10 death penalty state in terms of number of death sentences, executions, and the size of our death row. Yet we've not had an execution since 2006! And the murder rate continues to go down.