Yesterday the Connecticut Judiciary Committee voted 24-13 to endorse a bill that would replace the state's death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole, and it's interesting to see that awareness of victim opposition to the death penalty comes up in the coverage of this vote.
The Hartford Courant has this:
"What results do we get? What are the outcomes? What do we do for the victims? They never get retribution -- the system doesn't work," said state Rep. Joseph Taborsak, D-Danbury, who voted in favor of the bill.
An here's an excerpt from an opinion piece in the News-Times, by Professor of Justice and Law Administration George F. Kain:
Not surprisingly, there is a growing trend away from the death penalty as New Mexico has joined New York and New Jersey as the third state in two years to abolish it.
The death penalty puts innocent lives at risk, which is the main reason given by Governor Richardson for signing the repeal legislation.
Equally as important, repeal of the death penalty is a victory for murder victims' families. Now they can avoid the added pain of going through the seemingly endless legal process associated with the death penalty.
The sponsor of New Mexico's repeal legislation also sponsored legislation to provide restitution to victims' families. Any abolition bill must include this provision for the benefit and healing of surviving family members.
Connecticut continues to spend at least $4 million a year on this wasteful practice, according to an estimate by the General Assembly's Office of Fiscal Analysis. Experts arrived at a similar estimate for the cost of New Mexico's death penalty.
It is time for Connecticut to join those states that have legislatively abolished the death penalty.
Murder victims' family members urge Connecticut lawmakers to follow New Mexico's lead. The Rev. Walter Everett, who lost his son to murder in 1987, recently stated: "The money saved by abolishing the death penalty could be well used for programs to meet the needs of victims' families."