Jimmy Carter has written an op-ed in the LA Times about his view on the death penalty, calling it wasteful, immoral and discriminatory.

“The process for administering the death penalty in the United States is broken beyond repair, and it is time to choose a more effective and moral alternative,” he wrote. "California voters will have the opportunity to do this on election day.

“In general, states without the death penalty have lower murder rates than states that have it, a gap that has consistently grown since the 1990s. Southern states carry out more than 80% of the executions but have a higher murder rate than any other region. Texas has by far the most executions, and its homicide rate is twice that of Wisconsin, the first state to abolish the death penalty. Look at similar adjacent states: There are more capital crimes per capita in South Dakota, Connecticut and Virginia (with death sentences) than neighboring North Dakota, Massachusetts and West Virginia (without death penalties).

“To date, 141 innocent people have been exonerated after being wrongly sentenced to death, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. In 2011 alone, three men in California were exonerated after decades in prison. And while it is impossible to know how many innocent people have been executed, it was just a year ago that the world watched my home state of Georgia execute Troy Anthony Davis despite serious doubts surrounding his guilt. America is better than this.

“Perhaps the strongest argument against the death penalty, though, is its extreme bias against the poor, minorities and those with diminished mental capacity. Although homicide victims are six times more likely to be black rather than white, 77% of death penalty cases involve white victims. It is hard to imagine a rich white person going to the death chamber after being defended by expensive lawyers. We shouldn’t allow a system to continue that places a higher value on the lives of white Americans.”

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