Op-ed: Executions in Ohio should be abolished

Readers respond to death penalty column

Two WCPO.com readers responded to an op-ed on the death penalty in Ohio by sharing their opinions. The original column was written by Linda Collins, the widow of Terry Collins, who was director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, and oversaw executions, from 2006 to 2010

READ: My husband supervised executions for 5 years. It changed his life.

'Death penalty should be abolished immediately'

Lauren Bailey is a junior at Xavier University majoring in social work.

The death penalty is a grave injustice to humanity and it needs to be abolished immediately.

As a college student living in Cincinnati, I have been given the opportunity to critically examine the justice issues plaguing my community. One that I feel most called to is the death penalty. Young adults are increasingly becoming more opposed to the death penalty, and although it’s easier to brush this off and call all millennials “snowflakes” or whatever term you prefer, there is a deeper reason for this opposition which deserves to be heard.

Lauren Bailey

Growing up during the “tough on crime” era, the effects of mass incarceration are glaringly evident. We have seen the harm that prisons have created, and that is why we demand reform.

The death penalty costs Ohio taxpayers an estimated $16.8 million per year. That is $16.8 million that is taken away from education, health care, infrastructure and public safety.

There is no evidence to support the death penalty acting as a deterrent against crime. In fact, Ohio has a higher murder rate than certain states that have abolished the death penalty.

Due to the fact that the death penalty is ineffective in deterring crime, and it costs an absurd amount, it should be abolished immediately. A society that wants to raise young adults to live with integrity and respect needs to also treat its incarcerated population the same.

'Let God decide who dies'

Sister Andrea Koverman is program manager for the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center in Cincinnati.

As a member of the Catholic community, it troubles me to know that Ohio plans to execute 27 people over the next four years.

In modern history, Ohio has executed 53 people but, significantly, nine have been exonerated from Ohio’s Death Row after spending excruciating decades wrongfully imprisoned.

Sr. Andrea Koverman

This leads me to wonder how many of these 27 Death Row inmates are innocent. We simply cannot know as the state hasn’t yet implemented any of the Ohio death penalty task force’s major recommendations to help reduce wrongful convictions.

As a member of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, it’s firmly against my faith for human beings to decide who lives and who dies, innocent or not. We are called to reflect God’s mercy as well as justice, and that can be accomplished with a sentence of life in prison. Let God decide when a person’s time on Earth is over.

I pray for the corrections workers who keep us safe, especially those put in the grave position of having to participate in an execution.

I sincerely hope Governor John Kasich will step in and stop these immoral executions.

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