Gov. Steve Beshear can be reached at
700 Capitol Avenue, Suite 100
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
Here are links to the Lexington Herald-Leader and the Louisville Courier-Journal for submitting letters to the editors:
Of course writing your local newspapers is always an excellent idea because legislators and those running for office pay close attention to the opinions of their constituents.
For talking points, please check out this blog post.
Just today the Lexington Herald-Leader published this letter to the editor by Steve Olshewsky:
Kentucky’s death penalty is killing us in several ways. Aside from the increased financial expense, we suffer an increased murder rate related to our brutal practice of killing criminals.
The high incidence of mistakes (such as the overturned conviction of Larry Osborne in 2002) and racial inequities are well documented.
Deterrence was a justification advanced in the 1970s based on a study by Isaac Ehrlich which has since been disproved for methodological errors. In fact, Ehrlich’s work was also criticized by the National Academy of Sciences, but it is still clung to as the rationale for thinking of capital punishment as deterrence.
Far from reducing crime, data on murder rates suggest capital punishment actually encourages crime.
The South has the greatest number of executions as well as the largest murder rates. In 2007, the average murder rate in states with the death penalty was 5.5 per 100,000 population; the average murder rate of the 14 states without the death penalty was 3. So almost twice as many murders per capita when criminals are executed.
A 1995 survey of police chiefs and county sheriffs found that most ranked the death penalty last in a list of six options that might deter violent crime. Gallup polls show people who know the truth do not support capital punishment.
Only an eye-for-an-eye vengeance is accomplished by killing murderers. Christian beliefs teach this is wrong. Killing for retribution is as cruel and unusual as chopping off a thief’s hand. Yet we allow a punishment system serving no other purpose.