With less than eight weeks until the November General Election, supporters and opponents of the death penalty are debating whether the punishment prevents serious crimes.
Bob Evnen with Nebraskans for the Death Penalty says scientific research proves the deterrent effect.
“And there are a number of them that lead us to the conclusion that the death penalty deters murders,” Evnen says. “That not only carrying out the death penalty, but a sentence of death, saves innocent, human lives.”
State Senator Colby Coash says there are just as many studies showing the death penalty does not prevent murders.
“But you have to explain to me how a punishment that happens over two decades from the crime really meets the sniff test of deterrence,” Coash says. “Doesn’t work for me.”
The Lincoln Independent Business Association hosted the debate.
During questions for a panel of journalists, Coash says changing the law to life without parole is the best option.
“If you want to see executions resumed in our state, you have to have a sentence on the books – we’ll have that opportunity – but then you have to hide it from its citizens. You have to hide the protocol. You have to hide where you’re getting the drugs. You have to hide the who, the what, and the where of executions,” Coash says.
But Evnen says lawmakers have not tried to make it work.
“We know in many states across the country, that after a period of appeals that respect and take care of the due process rights of defendants, that the death penalty is carried out,” he says.
Nebraskans will vote on whether to bring back the death penalty this November.
DEBATE AUDIO [52:00]