The death penalty has always been a hot-button subject, with both advocates and opponents passionately arguing their points throughout history. 2015 has proven to be an exceptionally strong year for the debate; we’ve discussed the issue a number of times, recently discussing how it was repealed and reinstated in the 1970s. Though the dissenters have been vocal, the advocates are beginning to rally and voice their side, as well.
Even the supporters agree that the current system is broken. Between the efficacy of lethal injection drugs, their availability, and a lack of better options, nearly everyone concedes that the death penalty needs changes. In opposition of repeal, San Bernardino District Attorney, Mike Ramos, is seeking to push for reform to streamline and accelerate the process of bringing death row inmates to their sentenced end, thereby, cutting the costs of years of appeals and special housing. The prospective California Attorney General candidate is not alone, as a large constituency of other district attorneys and families of victims are gathering behind him and his agenda.
CAMPAIGNING FOR REFORM
The front line of the battle is shaping up in California, where a ban of executions has been recently lifted. Fighting to keep the death penalty and reform is the new group, Californians for Death Penalty Savings and Reform, where Mike Ramos is emerging as a leader for their fight. This conflict is not limited to California, recently Nebraska repealed executions, only to have a grassroots movement succeed in putting the issue back on the 2016 ballot. Furthermore, both North Carolina and Florida have made efforts to reform, but strengthen death penalty practices.
While one side fights for reform, the other insists the death penalty must be abolished for good. While California spends nearly $200 million on trials, appeals, and housing, some argue that the backlog is so overwhelming, that reform would do little good. Perhaps telling, Texas, the national leader for death penalty sentencing and executions, has only sentenced three people to death this year and has executed a fraction of people compared to previous years. Many people, even in Texas, are favoring life without parole.
This issue has both sides heated up and fighting for their version of reform. For more information about this subject check out The Marshall Project or The Guardian, the sources of this information. Where do you stand? Do you feel we need reform? Abolition? Another option? Tell us: Facebook and Twitter