Legislation Quick Search
06/16/2019 09:35 PM
Pennsylvania State Senate
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20190&cosponId=29422
Share:
Home / Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

By Member | By Date | Keyword Search


Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: April 29, 2019 05:08 PM
From: Senator Katie J. Muth and Sen. Sharif Street
To: All Senate members
Subject: Death Penalty Repeal
 
Join us in our bipartisan effort to repeal the death penalty in Pennsylvania. It is not only an ineffective deterrent, it is an incredibly costly and flawed system of punishment.

One innocent life taken at the hands of the state is one too many.

Although Pennsylvania has the country’s fifth highest death row population, currently at 175 inmates, only three executions have occurred in recent decades, and the state has not executed anyone who did not voluntarily give up their appeals in more than 50 years. According to a Reading Eagle analysis, those three executions have cost taxpayers $816 million. Additionally, the Urban Institute’s study on the cost of the death penalty in Maryland estimates a death penalty case costs $2 million more than a non-death penalty case. We believe this to be an irresponsible use of our state’s limited resources.

Additionally, since 2010, the homicide rate in states with the death penalty has been 18% or higher than in states without it. Thus, it is clearly not an effective deterrent to criminals. Furthermore, we know that when a person is convicted of the death penalty they will start an appeals process lasting decades, making it more likely that they die of old age rather than lethal injection.

One innocent life taken at the hands of the state is one too many.

There are also incredible risks and irreparable injustices of having the death penalty. Of the 408 Pennsylvania prisoners sentenced to death since 1978, 169 were resentenced to life, 16 were resentenced to a term of years, and 6 were exonerated. Therefore, the state has not only freed twice the number of people it has executed in recent decades, there is a risk of executing an innocent person every time we have an execution as long as the death penalty remains on the books.

Lastly, according to a recent study, at least 4.1% of all defendants sentenced to death in the United States in the modern era are innocent. For this reason, the risks of continuing the death penalty far outweigh the benefits, to which, there are few, if any.

One innocent life taken at the hands of the state is one too many.