Home Opinion OPINION: A message for Gov. DeWine: kill the death penalty

OPINION: A message for Gov. DeWine: kill the death penalty

6 min read
Lethal injection table.

Opinion writer Matthew Geiger, a freshman studying economics, explains why Ohio’s death penalty is archaic, inhumane and needs to be abolished.

Ohio has a death problem. The cause is not heroin, fentanyl, or any other substance, but rather the government itself. 

The buckeye state’s criminal justice system is broken. Whether it’s a lack of consistency in death penalty sentencing from county to county, or the cruel and unusual methods used in the execution chamber, one solution seems to be the most obvious: Abolish the death penalty.

To add insult to injury, Ohio has more executions scheduled to take place than any other state in the nation, coming in at a whopping total of 31. That’s 21 more than the next state on that list — Texas.

An important question remains: If these inmates are convicted of heinous crimes, should they face the ultimate punishment and be stripped of their right to life?

The answer should be ‘no’ for a number of reasons. For example, it was estimated in 2014 that the Ohio death penalty cost taxpayers a massive $16.87 million. 

We should not be spending such a large sum of money on those who have committed some of the worst crimes in our state. Abolishment of the death penalty would allow for these convicted criminals to rot in prison, rather than have the pleasure of using state funds to be put “out of their misery.”

Moreover, as more and more people realize the horrors of the death penalty, more and more businesses decline to sell the chemicals necessary to execute inmates. This has caused complications on death rows across the country, including here in Ohio.

Prior to Feb. 19, 2019, one could be executed in a manner that “will almost certainly subject [prisoners] to severe pain and needless suffering.” However, a recent court ruling from an Ohio federal appeals court claimed that suffocation did not qualify under the category of “needless suffering,” and this method was upheld.

This places Ohio in a predicament. Through a loophole, its execution system is constitutional, but it causes immense pain and suffering for those who are subjected to it.

Diving in more specifically, the cocktail of drugs used causes pulmonary edema, a build-up of fluid in the lungs that is “painful, both physically and emotionally, inducing a sense of drowning and the attendant panic and terror, much as would occur with the torture tactic known as waterboarding,” as noted by federal Magistrate Judge Michael Merz. The prisoner would experience the sensation of “fire … being poured” through his veins when those drugs were administered.

The lack of proper execution-related chemicals being sold to the state of Ohio has also impacted the lives of innocent civilians who use the chemicals medicinally. This is a result of pharmaceutical companies hesitating to sell medicine or chemicals to any state agency, for fear that it will be used in an execution chamber, and not for therapeutic use.

Ohio, stop killing people. It’s as simple as that. It costs too much, it’s inhuman and it endangers the medical prospects of innocent citizens. It’s time to finally abolish the death penalty. 


Please note that these views and opinions do not reflect those of The New Political.

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  1. Dudley Sharp

    September 21, 2019 at 5:06 PM


    The edema will occur long after the inmate is unconscious. No pain.

    There is zero reason not to use fentanyl. It is, easily, accessible, no compounding pharmacy needed, it is already in state custody. Only testing needed prior to the execution. Overdose death will occur much sooner than any edema, if it occurs. No pain.

    The cost estimate you used is about $122,000/death row inmate/yr. and cannot be relied upon, but . . . .

    It’s irrelevant without life without parole costs to compare it to.

    Ohio’s maximum security prison costs about $70,000/inmate. But that is, only for incarcerations. It excludes
    1) appeals, costs, decreasing the delta, if any
    2) The huge cost difference in geriatric care costs for lifers, as opposed to those on death row, decreasing the delta, if any, and
    3) The death penalty gets
    a) a huge cost credit for providing a plea bargain to life without parole, an option which goes away with death penalty repeal, meaning
    b) all LWOP cases will have a pre trial, trial and appeals, an increase in LWOP costs
    c) That cost credit for the death penalty was not included in the death penalty costs and will be substantial, lowering death penalty costs
    d)If death penalty repeal, all pleas will have to go down to life with parole, very likely a cost to high, so they will go to trial, instead, raising costs.

    all decreasing the delta, if any.


  2. Dudley Sharp

    September 21, 2019 at 5:07 PM


    I wrote: Overdose death will occur much sooner than any edema, if it occurs. No pain.

    should have been

    Overdose unconsciousness will occur much sooner than any edema, if it occurs. No pain.


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