As Illinois considers a bill that would abolish the state's death penalty, we continue to see victims' family members speaking up in favor of abolition. Here's a letter published in yesterday's Chicago Tribune by MVFHR member Cathy Crino:
Thank you for Steve Chapman's column on the trends in capital punishment. Right now, Illinois has the best chance it has had in years to abolish the death penalty. SB3539 will come up in the January session next week.
The bill abolishes the death penalty and uses the funds now spent on capital litigation for victims' services and law enforcement training.
I am the sister of a murder victim. Sixteen years later, I can tell you that it is still a wound that is not easily healed (if it ever will be).
Victims are so much better served by channeling scarce state funds toward counseling and other services. Instead, as a state, we are spending tens of millions of dollars to prosecute 1 percent of murders as capital crimes. This doesn't serve to reduce the crime rate, and it leaves victims to fend for themselves in most cases.
Abolishing the death penalty and redirecting the funds would be a much more responsible and meaningful solution.
-- Catherine Crino, Chicago