NEW VOICES: Al Sharpton Debates the Death Penalty at Yale

Baptist minister and civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton spoke in opposition to the death penalty in a recent debate at the Yale Political Union. Sharpton noted the dispropotion of blacks who are to sentenced to death compared to whites. He also raised concerns about the risk of executing the innocent, pointing out that many inmates have been exonerated from death row. He said the lower murder rates in states that do not have the death penalty indicate the death penalty does not deter murder. “We are not preventing anything, and we are not providing justice,” he concluded. “We cannot answer murder with murder.” Student representatives from a variety of political groups offered arguments both in favor of and opposed to the death penalty.

At the end of the event, students voted on whether or not the death penalty should be repealed, with a strong majority in favor of abolition.

(P. Huang, “Sharpton condemns death penalty,” Yale Daily News, September 3, 2014; Photo by Karen Yang, Yale Daily News). See New Voices and Religious Views.