Today's Louisville Courier-Journal publishes the OpEd, "Why I'm against death penalty," by Allen Ault. He's now Dean of the College of Justice & Safety at Eastern Kentucky University. Here's the beginning of this must-read:
Capital punishment is not a theoretical concept for me. I have murdered five human beings for a state.
At the time of these deaths, I was director of the Georgia Department of Corrections. Ironically, the executions were carried out in the same maximum security prison where I had previously served as warden. As a result of these experiences, I became a strong opponent of capital punishment. I am against the death penalty because:
• It does not act as a deterrent.
• It is costly (for example, California has spent more than $5 billion for 17 executions).
• It is not applied to the most egregious cases.
• The criminal justice system that administers it is extremely imperfect; over the past decade, nearly 150 death row inmates have been exonerated.
• It is illogical for the state to teach citizens not to kill by killing.
The final reason for my opposition is a particularly personal one—the heavy toll capital punishment exacts from the individuals who have to carry out the sanction.
Corrections officials are expected to commit the most premeditated murder imaginable. You follow a policy book and even have rehearsals.