MONTGOMERY, Ala - The United States Department of Justice announced today that it plans to carry out the executions of five prisoners sentenced to death. There have not been any executions of federal prisoners since 2003 as the United States has been essentially in a moratorium when it comes to putting prisoners to death.
The following is a statement from Lisa Graybill, deputy legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s criminal justice reform project.
“There is a reason that the United States has gone 16 years without executing anyone, and has only executed three people since 1976 in federal custody. Recognition that the criminal justice system in this country is broken, racial disparities abound, and the possibility of executing an innocent person is very real has rightly resulted in a reduction in the use of the death penalty.
“The decision by Attorney General William Barr to begin executions again will not solve any of these problems and concerns. Carrying out a death sentence costs more than a life sentence, does not deter others from committing crimes, and risks imposing the ultimate price on innocent individuals. Executions have been botched in grotesque attempts that create intense pain and suffering.
“We encourage Attorney General Barr and others in power to rethink this decision. Bringing back the barbaric practice of executions at the federal level serves no useful purpose.”