“All too often, torture is part of how the American state administers its death penalty”

by Save Robert Henry

Over at the Center for a Stateless Society, Nathan Goodman, the Lysander Spooner Research Scholar in Abolitionist Sudies expresses his solidarity with the Save Robert Henry Campaign and his distaste for capital punishment:

All too often, torture is part of how the American state administers its death penalty. Incidents like the horrific death of Dennis McGuire in Ohio illustrate the cruelty of such methods of execution.

Moreover, cruelty and torture don’t simply occur in how the execution itself is administered. Death row itself often features cruel and torturous conditions. The Center for Constitutional Rights has lots of enlightening material on how the state tortures its victims before it kills them. The report highlights, among other abuses, pervasive use of solitary confinement. As I have repeatedly pointed out, solitary confinement is recognized as torture by voices across the political spectrum. […]

The arguments made for the death penalty are all insufficient to justify the torture and premeditated killing it entails. The evidence for deterrence is very weak, with most criminologists saying the death penalty does not provide extra deterrence. And even if the kind of torture and premeditated killing the death penalty involves could somehow be ethically justified for dealing with murderers (and I don’t think it can be), there is substantial evidence that innocent people have been executed by the state.

Let’s end state sanctioned torture and premeditated murder. Let’s save Robert Henry, and all others the state plans to abuse in such brutal ways.

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