Twenty men, “the worst of the worst,” condemned to die by the state of Illinois have been exonerated of the crimes that sent them to death row. Their lives and the lives of their families bludgeoned by injustice. While the prosecutors pursued the death penalty for these men, where were the real killers?

The families of the murder victims in these cases suffered the murders, the court cases, the sentencings all while trying to rebuild their lives. Then, with the exonerations, the cruelty of our death penalty system brought new tragedy to them.

Illinois hasn’t executed anyone for more than a decade. Ron McAndrew, a former warden who oversaw executions in Florida, testified about the trauma that prison staffs endure during an execution. “Many colleagues turn to drugs and alcohol from the pain of knowing a man had died at their hands. Being a corrections officer is supposed to be an honorable profession. The state dishonors us by putting us in this situation. This is premeditated, carefully thought out, ceremonial killing.”

The violence of the execution process harms us all. Please give Gov. Quinn a call and urge him to sign the bill to repeal the death penalty. Let Illinois become the next execution-free state: 312-814-2121. When you call, tell them where you live.

Sandra Shimon, Patrick McAnany and Tom Broderick
Oak Park

Join the discussion on social media!