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Alternative to the death penalty

Kentucky's death chamberJust the other day someone asked me, “What do you tell someone who says life without parole doesn’t really mean that. They let ’em out all the time.”

Well, the first thing I would ask is this, “Could you name for me any inmate in Kentucky who was sentenced to life without parole and is now released?” And if they can name an inmate who was released, then that person was certified by medical professionals to be very near death, since that is the only time the Kentucky parole board can consider release of an inmate serving life without parole. At this time KCADP is unaware of anyone serving LWOP who made parole for medical reasons.

To get a sense for how the parole board rules, one could consider that in 1984 the General Assembly added the penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years. In October 1986, the Courier-Journal reported on five persons, who had faced the death penalty, being sentenced to LWOP for 25 years: Destil Troxell who murdered three persons; Marvin Francis who murdered a store owner during a robbery; James “Nick” Harrison who murdered Irvine Police Chief Bob Walker; and Elizabeth Turpin and Karen Brown who conspired to murder Turpin’s husband for insurance money.

Because 25 years has passed since the above were sentenced each of them has had a hearing before the parole board. None of them were granted parole. Instead the board ordered them to wait three to 10 years before even seeing the parole board again. Justice is being served in Kentucky when convicted murderers are serving very long prison terms, including never getting out.

It really is time to repeal the death penalty.

Photo: Kentucky Department of Corrections

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