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The Statehouse News Bureau provides educational, comprehensive coverage of legislation, elections, issues and other activities surrounding the Statehouse to Ohio's public radio and television stations.

Famous Death Penalty Opponent Says Ohio Is Ripe For Change On The Issue

Sister Helen Prejean [Jo Ingles]
Sister Helen Prejean

The author of the book, “Dead Man Walking,” says she thinks executions in Ohio and elsewhere are soon going to be a thing of the past. 

Sister Helen Prejean says she thinks the time is right for Ohio to end the death penalty.

“Ohio is ripe for change,” Prejean says.

Prejean says the legal costs of the death penalty, the emotional toll it takes on victims who have to relive the crime over and over through appeals and the mental anguish it leaves on those who are left to enforce it are causing citizens to rethink it. Ohio lawmakers have been trying to keep the death penalty alive, even looking for a new execution method since the drugs used in executions have been unavailable. But she says they will come around.

“The lawmakers are going to be the last ones because when the people change, the lawmakers change," Prejean says.

Gallup polls have shown support nationally for the death penalty has been going down in recent years. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has put the practice on hold while the state continues to look for a constitutional way to deal with executions in Ohio.

Ohio has executed 56 people since 1999. DeWine has delayed six executions this year alone.

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