The botched execution of a condemned man in Oklahoma last week reignited America’s perennial debate over the death penalty and the ethics of capital punishment.
Among western democracies, the United States stands alone in its continued use of capital punishment. Since 1976, when the Supreme Court ended a brief moratorium, 1379 inmates have been executed at the hands of the state, and more than 3,000 remain on death row, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. The death penalty is currently legal in 32 states — including California, where a 2012 voter initiative to ban it was narrowly defeated — as well as within the federal justice system. Continue reading