The federal government recently decided to resume executions of death row inmates following a 16-year hiatus.
“Under administrations of both parties, the Department of Justice has sought the death penalty against the worst criminals,” Attorney General William P. Barr said in a statement. “The Justice Department upholds the rule of law — and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.”
New data from YouGov finds that 46 percent of Americans support the federal government’s decision to resume executions.
Republicans are especially likely (86%) to support the government’s decision. Close to half of Independents also support (48%) it, while Democrats (28%) are the least likely to support it.
Men are considerably more likely than women to be in favor of the federal government’s decision. While a slight majority (53%) of men are in favor, women are almost evenly split: 39 percent are in support, 40 percent are opposed.
More than one-third (35%) of independents and a majority of Democrats (55%) are opposed to the federal government’s decision to resume executions.
Several Democratic presidential contenders, including Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Pete Buttigieg, have taken a position against the Justice Department’s decision.
Our criminal justice system has a long history of mistakes when it comes to capital punishment—especially when it comes to Black and Brown people. We cannot let a broken system decide the fate of incarcerated Americans. I oppose the death penalty. https://t.co/ASCKO3k7ET— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) July 25, 2019
This morning, the Department of Justice announced they would resume capital punishment. Let me be clear: capital punishment is immoral and deeply flawed. Too many innocent people have been put to death. We need a national moratorium on the death penalty, not a resurrection.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 25, 2019
The death penalty is not justice—it's an immoral and ineffective form of punishment that has killed innocent people, and is biased against people of color, low-income, and those with mental illness.— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) July 25, 2019
We should abolish the death penalty. https://t.co/7gtG21DNZF
Justice is not equally distributed in our country. Too often, race and geography determine who lives and who dies. We should be joining the ranks of modern nations and abolishing the death penalty—not expanding its reach. https://t.co/xYnwORQTAB— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) July 25, 2019
In the past 31 years, the federal government has only executed three people. As the moratorium lifts, the federal government has announced plans to execute five federal inmates, all of whom have been convicted of murdering children.
According to The New York Times, prosecutors are still seeking the death penalty in some federal cases. The gunman who killed nine African-American churchgoers in 2015 and the Boston Marathon bomber have both been convicted and sentenced to death.
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