After a series of highly publicized botched executions that garnered national attention, a new poll reveals that a majority of Oklahomans want to rid the state of the death penalty in exchange for restitution.
When the state was humiliated for their inability to perform an execution, a grand jury was announced that found corrections officials were to blame for the failures. Now, according to NewsOK, more than three-quarters of Oklahomans polled said that they still believed in capital punishment, but 53 percent would rather do away with it for something else. Instead, they’d prefer life without the possibility of parole, a forfeiture of owned property and mandatory restitution to victims’ families for the rest of their lives.
Forfeiture of property might be difficult given that property can often belong to the family of those convicted, punishing spouses and children. Restitution similarly could cause problems since any funds earned from prison jobs go back into the prison.
Ronald Stromberg, an 84-year-old Evangelical Christian was polled by the survey and supports a new penalty because it “saves us from violating the commandment against taking a man’s life,” he said.
The poll showed higher support for the plan among Democrats and Independents at 58 and 57 percent respectively. About 48 percent of Republicans like the idea and 41 percent are against.
Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center told NewsOK that the poll reveals support for the death penalty isn’t as strong as many lawmakers believe it is.
“It may be a mile wide but only a couple inches deep,” he said. “When other alternatives are offered, those alternatives are much more acceptable to the public than the death penalty.”