Baltimore Sun Op-Ed – How the Death Penalty Will End: First Maryland, then the Nation

By Benjamin Todd Jealous3:31 p.m. EDT, June 2, 2013

The death penalty debate in Maryland is finally over. This spring’s decision by the General Assembly to replace the death penalty with life without parole was cemented last week, when right-wing activists failed to muster enough signatures to force the issue onto the ballot. We, the people of Maryland, have sent a clear and firm message: capital punishment belongs in our past, not our future.

In doing so, we have joined New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Illinois and Connecticut as the sixth state in six years and 18th in the nation to abolish the death penalty. We have brought America one state closer to joining the rest of the Western world in putting capital punishment behind us once and for all.

The question in front of us is a simple one: where do we go from here? The answer is both clear and urgent. We must abolish the death penalty in America, and we must shift law enforcement resources toward proven crime-prevention strategies like community-oriented policing and more police on the streets.

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