The Hutchinson News calls for abolition.
By Davina Jamison/Hutchinson News editorial board
“Colorado has the right idea, and one that Kansas should consider emulating, in its proposal to end the death penalty.
Before death penalty proponents write off the idea, consider this: What if the money being spent on capital cases – largely to cover the many appeals made on behalf of the convicts – were to be redirected to catching more criminals?
That’s the idea in Colorado.
Several states, including Kansas and Colorado, considered abolishing the death penalty this year to save money in the budget. In Colorado’s case, it would use the savings to investigate about 1,400 unsolved homicides.
It’s no surprise that the idea has sparked fiery debate. It’s one of those sensitive subjects, along with religion and abortion laws, that inspires passionate arguments on both sides.
But take the emotion out of the argument, and it makes sense to use the state’s money to beef up law enforcement to pursue men and women actively engaging in crime. Already-convicted murderers are at least incarcerated and no longer a threat to public safety.
It’s understandable that prosecutors want a tough deterrent to heinous crime, and that victims’ families might want to see the ultimate punishment.
But executions are actually rare in Colorado and Kansas both. Colorado has executed only one person in the past 42 years, Gary Lee Davis, put to death in 1997 for his conviction in a 1986 slaying. No one has been executed in Kansas since 1965, the same year the Clutter family murderers were put to death.
Meanwhile, it’s estimated that abandoning the death penalty would save $1 million a year in Colorado.
Think of what $1 million could do for unsolved case work in Kansas. It could give families closure; it could lock up dangerous criminals; it could even spare a victim.”