Illinois Governor George Ryan: “Because the Illinois death penalty system is arbitrary and capricious – and therefore immoral – I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death. I started with this issue concerned about innocence. But once I studied, once I pondered what had become of our justice system, I came to care above all about fairness…. If the system was making so many errors in determining whether someone was guilty in the first place, how fairly and accurately was it determining which guilty defendants deserved to live and which deserved to die?”

States with the most executions since 1976
Texas 289
Virginia 87
Missouri 59
Oklahoma 55
Florida 54

In 2001, 90 per cent of all known executions took place in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the USA.

Seven countries since 1990 are known to have executed prisoners who were under 18 years old at the time of the crime – Congo (Democratic Republic), Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, USA and Yemen. The country which carried out the greatest number of known executions of child offenders was the USA (17 since 1990).

Amnesty International recorded three executions of child offenders in 2001: one in Iran, one in Pakistan and one in the USA.

More on Gov Ryan’s recent actions

I’ve written several poems and essays over the years on this topic. Here’s one:

The creep who murdered a little girl will now be murdered himself. I’m not sure what this will accomplish.

The girl will still be dead, other girls will still be at risk from other murderers who are always certain of their invincibility, and society could equally be protected
by sentencing the murderer to jail without parole.

We say we value human life, but we are one of very few countries who destroy life, in this manner.

We cite our religious codes: An eye for an eye; a life for a life. Neither the Vatican, nor Israel would execute this criminal.

Aeschylus in Ancient Greece taught us adding more blood does not wipe the slate clean.

The creep, black, who murdered a little girl, white will be executed. Meanwhile the murderers of black children get prison terms.

We say we value human life, but clearly some humans are more valuable than others.

Our founding fathers believed it was better 10 guilty go free than one innocent be jailed. That is why we are innocent, until proven guilty.

However, it appears, we now believe it is better 10 innocents die than one guilty
be allowed to live out his life in prison.

The creep who murdered a little girl will now be murdered himself. I am not sure what this will accomplish. I am not sure what will be gained.

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