Replace death penalty with lifetime in prison

I was very pleased with the intelligent and well reasoned opinion of Sen. Rosendale and Rep. Kary in the Feb. 8 Gazette. If we set aside our gut feeling that terrible crimes must be punished with death, we can learn from the fact that the death penalty is not helpful to anyone.

It does not bring closure to the victims; it victimizes them again and again. It creates a celebrity of the accused who ultimately may be proven innocent. So far, 140 people on death row have been found innocent and yet DNA evidence exists in less than 10 percent of cases. The expense of the appeals process that averages 17 years can come to over $1 million, while lifetime incarceration costs less.

The death penalty is not a deterrent to violent crime. Police chiefs would prefer funds to be spent on crime prevention and public safety. Effective justice must be swift, sure and fair. Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is the most cost effective and fair solution. It is time to abolish the death penalty in Montana.

Ann Walters

Billings