Recently I’ve become a fan of MSNBC’s Lockup series. I have only one thing to say. I am fucking glad that we have prisons! Some of those mother fuckers that they interview are serious whack jobs and I hope that most of them never ever set foot outside of a prison again. The reason that I bring up prison is because of the recent sentence of Brian Nichols to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In case you’ve forgotten, Nichols is the Atlanta courthouse killer who murdered a few people while escaping from custody during a rape case. The jury was split 9-3 on whether to sentence him to death. Unable to reach a consensus, the judge sentenced him to consecutive life sentences.
No matter what side of the capital punishment argument you are on, I consider this to be the only acceptable sentence. The practice of state sponsored executions must come to an end. The death penalty is not the deterrent we thought it was. In fact, states that allow the death penalty have a higher percentage of murders than states that do not allow the death penalty.
Here are some interesting facts regarding the death penalty:
Decline in the Number of Executions and Death Sentences
- 37 executions took place in 2008, marking a 14-year low and continuing a downward trend that began in 2000.
- 95% of all executions occurred in the South in 2008; 49% were in one state – Texas.
- The annual number of death sentences has dropped by 60% since the 1990s.
Innocence and Clemency
- Four death row inmates were exonerated and four had their sentences commuted to life in prison without parole during the course of this year. The total number of exonerations since 1973 is 130.
Costs of the Death Penalty
- A California commission reported that the state is spending $138 million per year on a death penalty system that they described as “broken” and “close to collapse.”
- A study in Maryland indicated that the state had spent $37 million for each execution when all the costs of the death penalty were included.
- With the average time spent on death row increasing to 12.7 years in 2007, death penalty cases continue to place a significant financial burden on state budgets.
- State supreme courts in Utah and New Mexico have warned that the death penalty would be stopped unless more funding is provided for indigent defense.
Expansion of the Death Penalty Denied
- In June, the Supreme Court rejected the expansion of the death penalty to non-homicide crimes against individuals in Kennedy v. Louisiana.
To read the full report, click here: http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/2008YearEnd.pdf
The death penalty in this country can only be construed as cruel and unusual punishment. It is time to put an end to this barbaric practice. Brian Nichols will spend the rest of his life regretting his actions and choices. To put him to death would be undercutting the justice that he deserves. Let him spend the rest of his miserable life behind bars regretting the decisions he made. Maybe one day we’ll get to see him on Lockup being the bitch of Ace and Bubba Love!