Like N.C., Arkansas hasn’t executed a prisoner in more than a decade. Now, with its execution drugs about to expire, Arkansas has crafted a crazy plan to turn its death chamber into a factory, executing eight men during a 10-day period in April and setting a national record. It is yet another example of the horror show that the American death penalty has become, and a reminder why N.C. is better off staying out of the business of executions.
Public safety officials used to be among the death penalty’s staunchest supporters. Now, some are beginning to speak up about the punishment’s unfairness, inefficiency, and failure to improve public safety. In a new video from the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, a retired police chief and a former N.C. prison warden who participated in 14 executions both say they believe the death penalty does nothing to keep our society safe. The video comes just as a Wake County jury rejected the death penalty for the seventh time in a row.
Even the death penalty’s biggest supporters are beginning to see its waste and inefficacy. Last week, as North Carolina neared a decade without an execution, Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell said he would no longer pursue the ultimate punishment because it is too difficult to carry out and is a drain on court resources.
Even the death penalty’s traditional supporters — law enforcement, prosecutors, and prison officials — are starting to change their minds about the need for the ultimate punishment. A new group of public safety officials has come together from across the nation to express serious concerns about the death penalty, and a former North Carolina police chief is one of its leaders.