The state commission in charge of evaluating the death penalty called it “inconsistent with the evolving standards of decency.” Big ups to the state, its lawmakers, and Governor Jon Corzine for bringing New Jersey, of all places, into the 21st century. According to many crime analysts, the death penalty has a relatively small effect on the rate of murders, primarily because of Hyperbolic Discounting. In the heat of the moment, irrational people don’t consider the last 10 years of a prison sentence or the likelihood that they will be executed for their crimes. More important are the subjective reasons for their crime and the likelihood that they will be caught. If that is our greatest form of deterrence, then shouldn’t it be our law enforcement priority?
The alternative punishment is slated to be life in prison without parole, which is the standard punishment for all state residents.