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Kentucky, U.S. leader in child abuse and death by neglect, should repeal death penalty and use savings to project children

Two reports issued this week are more closely related than one might think when read separately. But they really are related.

First, there was the revelation that Kentucky leads the nation in child abuse and death by neglect. The lack of resources resulting from the failure of our elected officials to provide the necessary funding for programs to help and strengthen families is a major cause of this tragic situation.

Second, the Death Penalty Information Center released a report, “Smart on Crime,” which confirms that states are wasting millions of tax dollars on the death penalty, draining their budgets during an economic crisis and reducing needed funding for other programs. Kentucky has easily spent more than $100 million since 1976 to execute three people.

Most would concede that money could have been better spent protecting children from abuse and neglect. We can’t go back and do it differently, but now is the time for our legislators to repeal the death penalty and free up funding to protect Kentucky’s children.

[Update Oct. 25, 2009: The Louisville Courier-Journal published this message as a letter to the editor in its Oct. 24 issue.]

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