The death penalty is a controversial topic, and its use has had its ups and downs throughout history with the U.S. Supreme Court even banning it at one point. The current state of affairs leaves the choice to use it or not up to the states.
According to NBC News, Colorado made the decision in 2020 to stop using the death penalty due to too many mistakes that could happen in the process. The governor said that there is no possible way the state can guarantee the fairness of this punishment, and therefore, it only made sense to abolish it.
The last execution
The final time the state put someone to death was in 1997. The state has not used this option often in the years since the 1978 reversal of the Supreme Court’s decision to abolish it.
While the decision is final, lawmakers know the public may not be happy since the majority of them say in polls they support the death penalty. However, polls also show the numbers rising in those opposing it with only about a 10% gap between for and against.
Those currently on death row will now have a life sentence. They will not get a chance at parole.
Colorado’s move to stop putting people to death at the hands of the state is not unique as 22 other states also do not have a death penalty. The social perception of this form of punishment seems to be heading in a downward direction as people start to feel there are too many mistakes within the criminal justice system to carry out such a final punishment.