new jersey set to do the right thing

Next week, the state of New Jersey will begin the process of abolishing its death penalty. In doing so, New Jersey will become the first state to abolish capital punishment through legislation since the United States Supreme Court re-allowed it in 1976.

Eight people are on New Jersey's death row, although the state has not executed anyone since 1963.

This surprising news gives me hope. It shows that in the midst of the madness going on in the US, some people can still see their way clear to do the right thing.

1,099 Americans have been put to death by their states since 1976. Here is a state-by-state map of those executions.

For more information on capital punishment in the United States, see the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. A good talking-point list is here.


Lone Primate said...

That's a hell of a map... it's hard to believe it's all the same country. Mouse-overing the map gives such a range... from none, though some high ones in the South in the 30s and 40s... to Missouri's disquieting 66 executions and then the one that knocks you off your chair... Texas, 405?? Pardon me; did they join the US in 1845 or the PRC? That's a chilling indication of the cheapness of human life in that state.

On the other hand, accolades to New Jersey for raising its head and shaming New York that went the other way not too long ago.

L-girl said...

it's hard to believe it's all the same country.

Yes! The US is like a microcosm of the global situation: geography is destiny. Where you happen to live determines so much about the course of your life, even within the same country.

shaming New York that went the other way not too long ago

Indeed. During the anti-crime hysteria, Mario Cuomo committed political suicide by refusing to bow to public (mob) sentiment.

As a lifelong resident of New York State, that's when I became very interested in capital punishment, started reading about it, and developed my absolutist belief against it.

If only Cuomo hadn't declined a Supreme Court appintment. He really could have helped.