I keep seeing death penalty supporters make arguments similar to this one:
The death penalty is irreversible, and in the case of a miscarriage of justice there can be no reparation to the condemned . . .
There are rejoinders: someone who is wrongly executed cannot ever be compensated, but can someone who was wrongly imprisoned for 10 years ever truly be compensated in any meaningful way? Punishment of the innocent is terrible to contemplate whatever the punishment, and yet society must punish and will always be imperfect.
Everyone who makes this argument should spend 20 minutes with a few people who were convicted of a capital crime, then exonerated and released after a decade or more in prison. I obviously can’t speak for every exoneree, but I’ve spoken to many. And I’d wager a good deal of my next paycheck that every one of them will tell you that (a) they’re pretty darned happy they weren’t executed, and (b) there’s a huge difference between incarcerating an innocent person and executing one.