New Jersey Legislative Commission Recommends Abolition of State's Death Penalty

After extensive public hearings, the New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission issued a report on January 2 calling for an end to the state's death penalty and replacing it with a sentence of life without parole.  The 13-member Commission was appointed by the state legislature, which also placed a moratorium on all executions until a report was prepared.  The report cited the risks of executing the innocent, the high costs of the death penalty, and society's evolving standards of decency in calling for the abolition of capital punishment.  The County Prosecutors' Association of New Jersey concurred with the final recommendations of the Commission Report.

"There is increasing evidence that the death penalty is inconsistent with evolving standards of decency," the report states.  Ending the death penalty would better serve the state's interests and the needs of victims' family members: "The alternative of life imprisonment in a maximum security institution without the possibility of parole would sufficiently ensure public safety and address other legitimate social and penological interests, including the interests of the families of murder victims," the report found. New Jersey has not had an execution since 1963.  There are nine people on death row. 

(Associated Press, Jan. 2, 2007).  Read the full Report (available by 2 p.m., Jan. 2).  See Recent Legislation and Studies.

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