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Innocence |Fairness and Equality |Cost |Deterrence |Secondary Trauma of Executions


"My late stepfather, Governor Richard J. Hughes, found himself in the position of Chief Executive with the power to end or continue the life of a fellow human being. Years later he told me how tortuous it was His father, Richard P. Hughes was warden On the execution days the families of the condemned were invited into the wardens parlorIt was the state's way of offering comfort to devastated and grieving families. Those scenes were seared into my father's memory, only to be joined many years later by one even more painful."


Michael Murphy
former Morris County Prosecutor (1)


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SECONDARY TRAUMA OF EXECUTIONS

Those who witness or participate in executions share an unlikely bond: They are at the absolute center of capital punishment. The folklore is that executions heal wounds, but studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that executions can interfere with healing while creating new victims.

Executions traumatize corrections and government officials

Every execution requires a team of executioners who watch the inmate in his or her final days, who strap the inmate to the gurney, who insert and reinsert the needles, and who remove the inmate from the gurney following the execution. They are the ones who deal with botched executions, who struggle with inmates fighting to stay alive, and who pull inmates away from their families when it is time for their final goodbye. Their stories provide insight into the effects of executions:

Executions traumatize clergy, jurors, journalists, and others

Executions create new victims

Executions can interfere with healing

1 Governor Hughes was in office when New Jersey’s last execution took place in 1963. Taken from testimony before the New Jersey Department of Corrections’ hearing on lethal injection, February 4, 2005.
2 New Jersey Department of Corrections’ hearing on lethal injection, February 4, 2005.
3 M.B. Johnson, Phd., New Jersey Department of Corrections’ hearing on lethal injection, February 4, 2005.
4 ibid.
5 Testimony of Robert Meeropol before the Massachusetts State Legislature, July 14, 2005.
6 The man was ultimately sentenced to life without parole.

Thursday, November 27, 2014 at 21:46:53 (1500/6000)