Representative files bill to end Okla. death penalty

Updated: Jan. 14, 2020 at 3:07 PM CST
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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (TNN) - State Representative Jason Dunnington (D-Oklahoma City) filed a bill Tuesday that, if passed into law, would remove the death penalty as an option in Oklahoma courts.

House Bill 2876 will be considered during the 2020 legislative session.

“Oklahomans are becoming more aware of the wasted costs of capital punishment, a system that provides no deterrent to crime while flushing millions down the drain that could be better spent on responses to violence that actually work," said Dunnington in a press release.

In that release, Dunnington detailed his main objections to the death penalty as:

  • For every 10 inmates executed on death row in the US since 1976, one inmate has been exonerated;
  • The taxpayer cost of incarceration for death row inmates is more than twice that of inmates with life sentences;
  • There is no evidence to support that use of the death penalty is an effective crime deterrent;
  • Families of victims routinely testify that executing the convicted offers little consolation for their pain and loss.

According to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, the average number of days an inmate spends on death row since the death penalty was reinstated in 1990 is 4,526.

The last person to be executed in Oklahoma was Charles Warner in 2015.

House Bill 2876 will be assigned to a committee hearing in February.

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