Public Policy Polling recently surveyed 600 North Carolinians by telephone and found that a majority of respondents prefer replacing the death penalty with a sentence of life without parole (LWOP) if some requirements are put in place to specifically help victims. According to the survey, 68 percent said they support replacing the death penalty with LWOP if the offender had to work and pay restitution to the victim’s family. Sixty-three percent support repealing the death penalty if the money saved was redirected to effective crime fighting tools, while 55 percent support ending the death penalty if the money saved was redirected to solving cold cases and assisting crime victims.
Of those surveyed, 44 percent identified themselves as conservative. Sixty-five percent of those who called themselves “somewhat conservative” and 50 percent of those who self-identified as “very conservative” supported switching to life in prison without parole.
“The days when the death penalty enjoyed near-universal support are clearly over. Across the country, poll after poll has shown that,” said Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling. “These results show that people in North Carolina are willing to consider alternatives to capital punishment.”
North Carolina has not executed anyone since 2006 and no new death sentences were handed down last year for the first time in 35 years. Five states have abolished the death penalty in the last five years, and Maryland will likely soon become the sixth. With other states like Delaware, Colorado and Montana poised to repeal the death penalty in the near future, we are witnessing a shift in attitudes about the death penalty as the public learns of the many problems with the system and realizes alternatives are available that can still provide for public safety and would do more to help victims.
You can read the full results of the survey here.
(Image above of poll results courtesy of the Death Penalty Information Center via Public Policy Polling)
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