Monthly Archives: November 2011

Brutally slashing public service jobs in the execution sector

The Governor of the US state of Oregon declares he will not execute any more prisoners:

The change of heart comes as a surprise for a governor who twice before — in his first term as governor — allowed executions to go forward. Despite his personal opposition to the death penalty, Kitzhaber said he was upholding the will of the people in allowing the 1996 execution of Douglas Franklin Wright and the 1997 execution of Harry Charles Moore.

“I have regretted those choices ever since,” he said in a prepared statement. “Both because of my own deep personal convictions about capital punishment and also because in practice, Oregon has an expensive and unworkable system that fails to meet basic standards of justice.”

The announcement is a win for death penalty activists who had asked Kitzhaber to declare a moratorium on executions until the state conducts a thorough review of its death penalty system.

Kitzhaber said his decision is not out of compassion for Haugen or other inmates. But the death penalty is not handed down fairly — some inmates on death row have committed similar crimes as those who are serving life sentences, he said. It is a criticism Haugen himself has often made and cites as a reason that he has volunteered to die, protesting the unfairness of the death penalty.

But without the killings by the occasionally reliable state, how will the victims of terrible murders be brought back to life and the wrongs committed by serious criminals be undone? How will the victims’ families get to feel the brief satisfaction of enjoying another person’s death? What about the jobs of the hardworking executioners?

A sad end to a beautiful bloodthirsty tradition.