TRENTON – Senator Shirley K. Turner, prime sponsor of S-171, the legislation that would replace the death penalty in New Jersey with life in prison without parole, made the follow statement today after the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved the bill:
“As the sponsor of the legislation which created the Death Penalty Study Commission, I wholeheartedly support this bill which contains the recommendations made by that commission.
“We can no longer delay in getting this bill to the Governor’s desk. We have studied and debated the morality, effectiveness and cost of the death penalty for years, and it is clear that the only thing the State should be killing is the death penalty itself.
“The death penalty is barbaric and fatally flawed beyond repair. Far too many people on death row have been exonerated to make capital punishment viable in this day and age. How can we continue a practice which might lead to the death of an innocent person?
“The evidence is clear – the death penalty is wasteful and ineffective. When one looks at the $240 million spent over the last 15 years to try and incarcerate those individuals on death row, it becomes clear those resources could have been better used in providing relief and support to the families of the victims of these deplorable crimes.
“True justice cannot be found in penalties based on revenge. Justice must be about fairness, equality and the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. As a society, we must always strive to be better than the criminals who try to harm us.”