In earlier years, capital punishment was fairly common. People were often put to death as part of their punishment for crimes committed. Sometimes this even took place without a fair trial and with no repercussions for the mob involved. When these incidents took place, people often attended them with intense morbid fascination.
Since then, humans rights advocates have lobbied against the use of capital punishment and many First World countries have outlawed it. While America remains one of the few still putting people on death row, public sentiment has shifted away from this practice.
In 2015, CNN reported that the Pennsylvania governor officially halted the death penalty in the state to review the justice system. He called the system “error-prone” and believed that it fueled inherent biases. He did not state that the death penalty had no place in the PA justice system. Instead, he pointed out inconsistencies in the system and shared that if the system should have the power to take a person’s life, it needed to “be infallible.”
However, the governor’s actions only officially put a temporary end to executions. NBC Philadelphia reported in 2019 that even before the official hold on the death penalty, prosecutors had stopped pushing for the death penalty two decades ago. Unfortunately, this is not due to a higher value placed on human life. Instead, prosecutors prefer to avoid lengthy trials and high expenses related to capital punishment.
In fact, death penalties are on the decline all across the nation. While it is not clear what reasons prosecutors may have in other states, it seems destined to continue to phase itself out in the next few years.