Anyone who follows this blog may already be aware of my feelings about the death penalty. Ever since childhood (yes. I'm that old) when the death penalty was still used in England, I have had a total abhorrence of any form of judicial killing. As a little girl, I used to watch the hands of the clock as they crawled towards 9am (I think it was 9) when the hanging would take place, feeling full of dread. After the appointed hour, I would feel relief. At least it was all over; for the prisoner, his family and his friends (because of course, this of all punishments punishes many more than the prisoner himself). So many of those who were hanged during my childhood have since been "pardoned" (such an odd word to use), including poor, mentally challenged Derek Bentley, whose crime was to say to his accomplice "let him have it". To this day, no-one knows whether he meant it metaphorically (ie shoot the policeman who was challenging them ) or give him the gun. Bentley didn't even carry out the murder himself. The actual killer was too young to face the death penalty.
As I have mentioned before I correspond with a prisoner on Death Row in a US state. He is also a D. I have grown fond of him over the years we have been writing to each other (and having read about his court case, I think he may well be innocent). He is poor, comes from a very large family, and (probably; his letters are heavily censored) unable to pay for the services of a good lawyer. Two of his friends have recently had their sentences commuted to life after 30 - yes THIRTY - years on death row. Another, who had become a close friend, was executed a year ago, and D is still trying to come to terms with that. They are a close-knit bunch, as they are not allowed to mix with the other prisoners. D has a daughter although I don't think he sees her. He said in his last letter "I miss her every day. I try to keep my mind numb and try not to think about home all the time, but it is hard not to."
I'll bet it is.
(I'd better add that it goes without saying the murder is a wicked crime, and that life should often mean just that. We are sometimes too lenient in the UK. But I have never felt that the death penalty solves anything, and I strongly believe that everyone should be offered the opportunity for redemption.)