"Voters need a public debate about the death penalty in Oregon," is the title of Ron Steiner's OpEd in the Oregonian. He's the chair of Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.
It is wonderful to see that district attorneys Joshua Marquis and Steven Atchison acknowledge that Oregonians should vote on whether we should continue to support a death penalty ("The death penalty conversation isn't new for Oregon," Commentary, Dec. 3). Those of us opposed to the death penalty have been seeking that debate for some time now.
Voters today are concerned about the many mistakes that have been made in the administration of the death penalty and the risk of executing an innocent person. Voters are also concerned about the fairness of the administration of the death penalty, considering that nationwide, fewer than 2 percent of those convicted of aggravated murder get a death penalty. Of those who do, an overwhelming number are poor, and a disproportionate percentage of them are people of color.
Voters today, progressive and conservative alike, are concerned about the tremendous cost of supporting a failed public policy that offers no benefit to the citizens, except maybe revenge for those who wrongly think that an execution will in some way deter violent crime and murder.
Earlier coverage from Oregon begins at the link.