Monday, November 19, 2007

The Toll it Takes

Exciting things are happening in New Jersey, and the voices of victims' family members continue to be crucial to the effort to oppose the death penalty there. This recent news story describes a letter that 49 victims' family members signed and sent to state lawmakers, in which they say, "Capital punishment drags victims' loved ones through an agonizing and lengthy process, holding out the promise of one punishment in the beginning and often resulting in a life sentence in the end anyway."

Another interesting recent article from New Jersey is written by a former prosecutor who served on New Jersey's death penalty study commission -- which, after extensive review of the issue, recommended that the state get rid of the death penalty. This former prosecutor writes that he still supports the death penalty in theory but that serving on the commission convinced him that the death penalty is "broken beyond repair." He writes, "The costs of maintaining such a failed policy — particularly the toll on victims' families — are simply too great."

Particularly the toll on victims' families. When a supporter of the death penalty recognizes that the death penalty takes a great toll on victims' families, it's an important moment of understanding. Congratulations to all who worked to get that message across in New Jersey.

New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty has regular news and updates, as well as the full text of the study commission's report.

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