Radley Balko on Why Americans Support the Death Penalty


At The Huffington Post, former Reason staffer Radley Balko examines the death penalty's longstanding popularity with the American people:

There's still no political price to pay for defending executions, for carrying out questionable ones or, in the case of [Texas Gov. Rick] Perry, for stifling attempts to investigate whether an innocent person has been put to death. The states of California, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky recently even resorted to purchasing sodium thiopental on the black market to ensure they could continue carrying out lethal injections….

More than 270 people have been cleared by DNA testing in the last 30 years, a strong indication that our criminal justice system is more error-prone than much of the public likely believes. Most of the rest of the developed world has done away with capital punishment. And there's now strong evidence that at least one state executed an innocent man.
Why, after all of this, do more than six in 10 Americans still support the death penalty?

Read the full story here.