Today Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) signed into law a bill that abolishes the death penalty and uses the money saved to support victims’ families and assist law enforcement. Upon receipt of the bill in January, Gov. Quinn’s reaffirmed his support for capital punishment when properly applied but was quoted as saying, “I think it’s important, given the importance of this measure, that people from all over Illinois express their opinions, I’m happy to listen and reflect, and I’ll follow my conscience.”
The Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (KCADP) sent a staff member to Illinois in November to help with an informational campaign among legislators. KCADP officials reacted to Gov. Quinn’s action today.
“For the second time since 2008, a governor that supports the death penalty in principle has turned against it in practice by signing a bill abolishing it,” said Don Vish, KCADP’s director of advocacy, education and outreach. (The other governor was New Mexico’s Bill Richardson.) “The system is broken, risky and unfair and other adequate retributive penalties exists to protect society from the worst of the worst.”
Ben Griffith, a KCADP board member whose brother was murdered, said, “Families and survivors of murder victims like me salute the Illinois legislature and the governor for getting rid of the death penalty. Capital punishment adds to the pain and suffering of the family and friends of murder victims and feeds only hate, anger and revenge.”
Why should Kentucky follow Illinois, New Mexico, West Virginia and 13 other states and abolish the death penalty?
- It’s costly–the death penalty is more expensive than life in prison
- It’s out of step with modern thinking–Kentuckians prefer prison over execution for murderers
- It’s risky–innocent people have been executed
- It’s unfair, broken, and arbitrary–the death penalty is not applied equally
- It’s unnecessary–the death penalty is not a deterrent
- Victims’ families deserve more care and compassion–the death penalty can extend and intensify their suffering
Photo: Courtesy of State of Illinois