There are alternatives to death sentences!

Although support for capital punishment remains strong in the United States, that support drops considerably when alternatives are offered.  In a 2009 Gallup Poll, 65% of Americans reported supporting capital punishment, but when offered a choice between a death sentence and life in prison, less than half chose the death penalty.  In a 2001 poll by Peter Hart Research Associates, support for capital punishment fell to 38% when a life sentence plus restitution for the victim's families was offered.

Alternative Sentencing

When prosecutors seek life sentences instead of death, vast amounts of time and resources are saved, and more importantly lives are saved by avoiding the brutalizing and dehumanizing act of execution.  Based on comparing the murder rates in states with the death penalty versus states without the death penalty, alternative sentencing does not raise the murder rate: Comparing murder rates in death penalty and non-death penalty states.

Alternative Spending

Because death sentences cost significantly more than life sentences (see Cost), abolishing the death penalty would provide additional resources that could be used for other ways of dealing with crime, like services for victims' family members, additional police officers, indigent defense funding.

Alternatives Resources

Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation

”No future without forgiveness” 

        --Archbishop Desmond Tutu

”It can be argued that rapists deserve to be raped, that mutilators deserve to be mutilated.  Most societies, however, refrain from responding in this way because the punishment is not only degrading to those on whom it is imposed, but it is also degrading to the society that engages in the same behavior as criminals.”

Stephen Bright, human rights attorney and
        President of the Southern Center for
        Human Rights