More than two-thirds of Kentuckians say a lengthy prison sentence is the “most appropriate” punishment for someone convicted of aggravated murder, while about a third chose the death penalty, says a University of Kentucky survey reported by the Louisville Courier-Journal. The survey was commissioned by the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. The Rev. Patrick Delahanty, coalition chairman, said residents polled are “either concerned about the possibility of killing innocent people or they’re concerned about the credibility of the criminal-justice system.”
In the late 1990s, polls by The Courier-Journal and the University of Louisville found that about two-thirds of state residents favored the death penalty. The university survey found that when offered the option, more people preferred sentencing offenders to a long prison term. The surveys “clearly reveal that the majority of Kentuckians favor a long-term sentence over the death penalty for convicted murderers,” said University of Louisville justice administration professor Gennaro Vito. A Gallup Poll this year found that two-thirds of Americans support capital punishment; they are evenly split when offered a choice between sentencing an offender to death or to a life sentence without parole.