The U.S. government is one of only a handful of countries that still executes its own citizens and it is fifth on the list of the most executions worldwide (see Axis of Evil). Politicians and advocates continue to insist that it is a deterrent against violent crime, yet the U.S. continues to have one of the highest homicide rates of any of the world’s most affluent nations. In fact, aside from Russia, no wealthy country comes close.
Thus it should be no surprise that a new government-backed study has found no evidence that the death penalty acts as an effective deterrent. The National Research Council was unable to find a link between the death penalty and the prevention of murder. (Democracy Now)
California to Abolish Death Penalty?
More than 500,000 signatures have been collected to get a referendum on the death penalty onto California’s November ballot, according to Democracy Now. If it passes, California would become the 18th state in the nation without a death penalty. California currently has over 700 people on death row. As of April, 2012, the death penalty had been abolished in Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Connecticut and Washington, D.C.