As this latest report on the death penalty shows, race and class bias is still a major determining factor in how the death penalty is applied in the United States.
The unequal and unjust manner in which the system decides who receives the death penalty is just one, out of many, reasons why the death penalty should be abolished.
The Death Penalty Information Center has released a new report, “Struck by Lightning: The Continuing Arbitrariness of the Death Penalty Thirty-Five Years After Its Reinstatement in 1976.”
The report shows that despite the changes to sentencing schemes approved by the U.S. Supreme Court on July 2, 1976, race, geography, money and other factors continue to make the implementation of the death penalty arbitrary and unfair.
A majority of the nine Justices who served on the Supreme Court in 1976 when the death penalty was approved eventually concluded the experiment had failed. The report concludes, “Thirty-five years of experience have taught the futility of trying to fix this system. Many of those who favored the death penalty in the abstract have come to view its practice very differently. They have reached the conclusion that if society’s ultimate punishment cannot be applied fairly, it should not be applied at all.”