Utah Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty

Utah Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty is currently the main focus of the Utah Justice Coalition. We believe that Utah should repeal its death penalty and replace it with life in prison without the possibility of parole. The reasons are numerous, but among the most compelling reasons to eliminate this failed policy are the following:

  1. The death penalty is a wasteful and expensive government program. According to a study by Utah’s own legislature, the death penalty costs taxpayers an estimated $1.6 million more than if the same person were to be sentenced to life in prison.
  2. There is an unacceptable possibility of executing innocent people. Currently there are 156 exonerees from death row, as well as documented cases of innocent people having been executed. Justice is never served by creating more victims of the system. By sentencing someone to life in prison we can guarantee that an innocent person will not be executed, and can still allow for truly wrongly convicted people to prove their innocence.
  3. The death penalty is a failed policy for family members of the victims. Some people on death row have been there for two or three decades. Every time a convicted persons case is appealed, the victim family members are forced to relive what happened to their loved one, either through continued court appearances, or the constant media coverage that capital murder and death penalty cases attract.
  4. The death penalty is also arbitrarily and unfairly administered by the government. The death penalty isn’t always pursued in cases that it could be, and it is often used as a bargaining tool to coerce plea deals.
  5. The death penalty, contrary to popular belief, fails to make the public any safer than life in prison without the possibility of parole would. Many believe that the death penalty is a deterrence to those who may commit murder, and therefore it helps to promote a lower murder rate. This is simply not true when compared to the actual data. States such as New Jersey and New York who have repealed their death penalties have actually seen a statistical decrease in the homicide rate, while states like Utah, who still have the death penalty, have seen a small statistical increase in the homicide rate in the same time.