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Recent Opinion Piece Examines Problems of the Death Penalty

July 29, 2014

Charles Ogletree Jr. a professor of Law at Harvard, recently wrote an opinion piece about the death penalty for the Washington Post. In his piece, Ogletree Jr. emphasized an inherent lack of human dignity in death penalty cases by sharing some powerful statistics. “A new study by Robert J. Smith, Sophie Cull and Zoë Robinson, published in Hastings Law Journal, of the social histories of 100 people executed during 2012 and 2013 showed that the vast majority of executed offenders suffered from one or more significant cognitive and behavioral deficits.” According to Ogletree, the mental health of individuals facing the death penalty is often swept aside or ignored completely. Ogletree writes, “One-third of the offenders had intellectual disabilities, borderline intellectual function or traumatic brain injuries, a similarly debilitating impairment.” The way the mental health of death row inmates is handled is one of the many faults of the death penalty system. The death penalty is broken beyond repair. Repeal is truly the best option.

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