News Release: Michigan Catholic Conference to Continue Fight Against Death Penalty
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 16, 2004
LANSING—The Michigan Catholic Conference, a leading opponent to the death penalty in this state, announced today that it will continue to fight legislation seeking to reinstate the death penalty in Michigan. Earlier today the House Regulatory Reform Committee voted House Joint Resolution W out of committee and sent the bill to the full House of Representatives.
“The Michigan Catholic Conference will continue to advocate against any legislation that seeks to institute a culture of death in our state,” said Michigan Catholic Conference Vice-President for Public Policy Paul A. Long. “We congratulate the committee members who had the courage to vote against a measure that creates a man-made system prone to man-made errors. The Michigan Catholic Conference will continue to speak to legislators until the resolution is brought before the full House about why Michigan should not be in the business of state-sanctioned killing.”
- Since 1973 113 individuals on death row across the country were found innocent of their alleged crimes—further proving that innocent victims too often are mistakenly sent to death,
- An analysis commissioned by the New York Times in 2000 found that homicide rates have not declined any more in states that instituted the death penalty than in states that did not—a statement maintaining that the death penalty is clearly not a deterrent,
- Indiana's Criminal Law Study Commission found that the total costs of the death penalty exceed the complete cost of life without parole sentences by approximately 38 percent. The death penalty costs North Carolina, for example, $2.16 million per execution over the costs of non-death penalty murder case with a sentence of imprisonment for life.
- A recent poll found that only 45 percent of Michigan citizens, less than half of the citizens in the state, are in favor of the death penalty when the option is given for life without parole.
“We do not challenge society's right to punish the serious and violent offender,” Long said. “But, to serve as an effective deterrent to crime, any punishment must be swift, sure and even handed. Capital punishment fails in all these categories. Public policy must be developed with the common good as the central theme under girded in the belief in the sanctity of human life and the inherent dignity of the human person. The restoration of the death penalty is a simplistic solution to complex problems.”
Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.
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