Monday, February 22, 2010

 

Kansas Falls One Vote Short in the Senate

Today, the Kansas Senate failed to repeal the death penalty with a 20 to 20 vote but demonstrated how far the state has come and how close it is to abolishing the death penalty. The bill would have repealed the death penalty, replacing it with life without the possibility of parole. It would not have affected the 10 men currently on Kansas death row.

Republican Senate Vice President John Vratil supported the repeal effort, citing studies demonstrating that the death penalty does not deter crime. He also cited figures that showed decreased murder rates in every state over the past two decades, regardless of whether the state had the death penalty or not.

Republican Senator Carolyn McGinn repeated the call for repeal with assertions concerning the exorbitant costs of the death penalty to cash strapped states: "It costs half a million dollars, or 70 percent more, to try a death penalty case than a non death penalty case and yet the state hasn’t executed anyone since 1965. We’re not executing anybody. Can we use this money to prevent future heinous, horrible crimes? Can we use it to solve cold cases that are up on the shelf for those families who don’t even know who murdered their family member?"

This close vote signals the continuing realization across the country that the death penalty is a failed public policy that takes resources and focus away from real crime prevention measures as well as the real needs of murder victims' families.

Thanks to all those in Kansas who worked so hard to educate and advocate for the repeal of the death penalty. This effort moves Kansas one step closer to abolition and inspires the rest of us to keep on keeping on!
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