Jon Oliver on the death penalty

In the second episode of his new show, Jon Oliver had an extended segment on the issue of the death penalty, using the recent ghastly botched execution in Oklahoma as his departure point. Treating such a serious issue in a humorous way carries a lot of risks but I think he managed it well and provided a good case for why the death penalty should be abolished.

Juan Cole provides a useful infographic on the death penalty in the US.


  1. Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^= says

    That was… strange. But if it persuades people to consider the matter, it is worth it.

    I’m against the death penalty; not just because innocent people die, not just because it is expensive, not just because it isn’t a deterrent, but because it legalises the worst of human nature and so cheapens society’s attitude towards life in general. I have no desire to be part of a society that kills people in my name for any reason.

  2. says

    Oliver mentions the fact that the appeals process makes execution more expensive than life in prison. The inevitable, predictable and oft repeated response from the bloodthirsty is, “Then shorten the appeals process and execute them quicker!”

    Saving money by executing more innocent people. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

  3. doublereed says

    ACLU had a blog post detailing the various ways the death penalty has been fading:

    7… A shortage of drugs available for lethal injection continued to hold up executions this year. California, Maryland, and North Carolina have not had an execution in over seven years due to problems surrounding their lethal injection protocols.

    6… Maryland became the sixth state in six years to abolish the death penalty, joining Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, and New York.

    5… Thirty states, the federal government, the military, and the District of Columbia have not carried out any executions in the last five years.

    0… The once execution-heavy states of Virginia, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Tennessee had zero new death sentences this year [2013].

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