Fresh off of the heels of our news conference announcing the launch of the Georgia Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty, an op-ed I wrote was published by the Newnan Times-Herald. In the article, I described the state of Georgia’s death penalty and debunked some beliefs regarding the Peach State’s capital punishment program.
The state of Georgia has been executing individuals at unusually high rates and even outpaced Texas this past year. While Gov. Nathan Deal has recently been lauded as a criminal-justice reformer, the pace of executions has unfortunately hastened under his watch. Nine people were put to death in 2016 and five in 2015.
At first glance, this may seem to suggest a death penalty resurgence in Georgia, but that’s far from the case. Solely focusing on these executions paints an incomplete picture of Georgia’s capital-punishment system. The truth is Georgia’s death penalty is dwindling so quickly that in a few years, it may exist in name only.
The truth of the matter is that no person has been sentenced to die in Georgia in almost three years, which suggests that the death penalty is declining and support for it is waning. Part of this shift is likely caused by a realization of the death penalty’s failures in application and the increasing number of conservatives who have turned against capital punishment, which I noted:
Georgia’s death penalty usage has brought capital punishment’s many shortcomings to light, which has led to an increasing number of conservatives opposing the death penalty.
It seems that there is good news for Georgia, even though the state has been executing individuals at record rates, as I pointed out:
Despite all of these problems, trends in Georgia show that capital punishment appears to be in an irreversible decline, which is a positive development for many conservatives. In fact, the Georgia Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty recently launched in order to educate Georgians on capital punishment’s failures as well as advocate for its repeal. This is just the latest sign that the death penalty will remain part of Georgia’s past, not its future.