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Submitted 11:26 p.m.
12.02.2014
Letter to the Editor

I can guarantee, based on conversations I have had with people exonerated after years in prison, some having been on death row, that not every prisoner would prefer death to life in prison.”

JE

As someone who is both anti-death penalty and anti-torture, I think the authors of this piece lack the basic understanding that it's not inconsistent to advocate against both capital punishment and solitary confinement. Both are inhumane. Both should be abolished. Why should we allow state-sanctioned homicide in place of state-sanctioned torture? I also think this article was also misleading in implying that the ACLU and other civil rights organizations are pro-solitary confinement. The ACLU, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Innocence Project, and many other organizations that are anti-death penalty are also anti-solitary confinement.

Moreover, this article suggested that all prisoners sentenced to life without the possibility of parole would prefer death to life in prison. I can guarantee, based on conversations I have had with people exonerated after years in prison, some having been on death row, that not every prisoner would prefer death to life in prison. Should we allow all inmates the possibility of parole, even when they have been sentenced to life? I genuinely don't know. But should we place prisoners in solitary confinement or end their lives? Absolutely not. We should not use capital punishment as an alternate to solitary confinement or life in prison, and the suggestion that we should is reprehensible. There is no turning back from death. A person murdered by the state has no chance at freedom, redemption, or even life, even if later found to be innocent.

Response from the authors:

Nowhere do we imply that our colleagues at any civil right organizations are pro-solitary. Nor do we suggest that capital punishment is an acceptable alternative to life without parole or to solitary confinement. Like the writer of this letter, we clearly oppose both "state-sanctioned homicide and state-sanctioned torture."

 
These letters written in response to
Commentary November 30, 2014
There are fates worse than death.