Success: Governor Halts Death Penalty


Target: Tom Wolf, Governor of Pennsylvania

Goal: Thank governor for ending the death penalty in Pennsylvania.

Recently, the governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, announced an indefinite halt to the death penalty in his state. The move comes as the Pennsylvania state government awaits the findings of a task force that was set up to investigate the uses and costs of capital punishment. A recent Force Change petition was also calling for action to be taken on this issue, and was met with success. The governor made clear that he did not make the decision to halt executions out of pity for those on death row, but rather that capital punishment is not an efficient system. While Governor Wolf failed to mention that it is also inhumane, he is still deserving of our thanks for preventing any more state-sponsored murders.

Capital punishment is a terrible system. In the words of Holly Near, “Why do we kill people who are killing people to show that killing people is wrong?” It is a fundamentally hypocritical system of punishment that fails in many ways. Firstly, executions are extremely expensive. An inmate on death row costs the government $90,000 more per year than an inmate in regular prison. On top of that, court cases in which the death penalty is sought cost almost double to try.

The United States penal system is meant to rehabilitate those who commit crimes, not murder them. As Dostoevsky said, “You can judge a society by how well it treats its prisoners.” So what does it say about our society that we want to murder people? The worst part of it all, however, is that the system is extremely fallible. Since the reinstatement of the death penalty, hundreds of people have been exonerated by new evidence that proved them innocent. There are myriad reasons to stop using capital punishment and it is for those reasons that Governor Wolf deserves our thanks. Sign here to spread this example and end the death penalty nationwide.


Dear Governor Wolf,

Your recent decision to halt all executions in the state of Pennsylvania is deserving of commendation. The death penalty is extremely inefficient, inhumane, and fallible. Hundreds of death row inmates have been exonerated by new evidence that came out while they awaited their executions. How can we even begin to use a punishment so harsh when there is even a possibility that the recipient is innocent? Killing people to show that killing people is wrong is a terrible example for any government to set.

Beyond that, keeping inmates on death row costs an estimated $90,000 more per prisoner per year than keeping an inmate in a regular prison. Trials in which the death penalty is sought also cost the state almost double to hold. Why should criminals have more than the average American salary spent on them? Your decision is the right one and I hope that this indefinite halt to executions becomes a permanent halt. Thank you for ending a harmful program. Dostoevsky said, “You can judge a society by how it treats its prisoners.” Let us hope your example spreads, lest we be judged harshly.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Hedwig via OpenClipArt

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