(HO45 18066 leaflet)
CAPITAL PUNISHMENT SHOULD BE ABOLISHED: --
Because it is not necessary as a deterrent. If it were, murder would have
increased where the death penalty has already been abolished. This has not
happened. Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Norway and Sweden and many other countries
have found by long experience that other penalties, not open to such grave
objections, are equally effective.
Because the sight of a person fighting for his life enlists sympathy for the murderer rather than for his victim, and creates a morbid interest which encourages news- papers to give widespread publicity to the sordid details of both crime and trial with demoralizing effects upon many who read them.
Because this advertisement of murder sometimes leads abnormal or insane people to commit imitative crimes.
Because we have no right to require public servants to perform so terrible a task as taking in cold blood the life of a fellow human being. A public hangman in Great Britain, who had executed over two hundred people, committed suicide in 1932 after previously trying to murder his wife and daughter. His life was degraded in the public service.
Because it is irrevocable. In spite of all our safeguards the execution of an innocent person is not impossible.
Because large numbers of people believe capital punishment to be barbarous and immoral. A penalty which lacks the support of the public as a whole is greatly weaken- ed in its effectiveness. There are recent cases in which juries because of their horror of the death penalty have brought in verdicts contrary to the evidence, and thus persons possibly guilty have been allowed to go free. Certainty of conviction is an essential factor in the preven- tion of crime.
Because the reliance placed upon the deterrent effect of the death penalty tends to deaden the public mind to the need for remov- ing the bad social conditions and other evils of which murder is often the final product.
Because the State, by refusing to take human life, will strengthen the sense of the sanctity of life among its citizens and thereby tend to reduce murder and other forms of violent crime.
Because "the business of a Christian community is to redeem the offender" (C.O.P.E.C> Confer- ence resolution, 1924).
Because after exhaustive en- quiry and investigation a Select Committee of the House of Com- mons in 1930 endorsed these arguments and recommended the abolition of the death penalty for an experimental period of five years.