TRENTON – Senator Shirley K. Turner, a long time opponent of the death penalty and sponsor of the legislation that created the Death Penalty Study Commission, made the following statement today upon reading the Commission’s final report:
“In their findings, the Commission echoed those truths that opponents of the death penalty have known for decades – that the death penalty simply doesn’t work as a deterrent and the risks and costs involved far outweigh any benefits it may bring to our society.
“The fact is, there is no way to guarantee that an innocent man or woman would not be wrongly executed. As a society, we cannot risk the lives of the innocent to exact punishment on those who are guilty.
“New Jersey has moved beyond the need for punishments based on revenge rather than justice. We are a decent, compassionate people who would rather see the most heinous criminals locked up for eternity than executed.
“And as we move forward towards an even fairer criminal justice system, we mustn’t forget the victims and their families. The millions of dollars being used for the broken capital punishment system should now go into strengthening our programs to help victim’s families grieve and find peace.”
Senator Turner is currently drafting legislation that will implement all of the Commission’s recommendations, including abolishing the death penalty and replacing it with life imprisonment without parole, to be served in a maximum security facility, and rededicating the cost savings resulting from the abolition of the death penalty to benefits and services for survivors of victims of homicide.