November 10, 2017 was the day when Willie Manning completed 23 years on death row.
There have been many changes since Willie first entered the row; one that should gladden him is the big decline in American public support for the death penalty. Gallup polls indicate that from an all-time high of 80% support in 1994, the level of approval has been declining, and was only 55% last month.
Using different questions, a Pew Research Center poll last year determined that even fewer of the US public –49% – support the death penalty.
Gallup’s report on last month’s poll concludes with “Implications”. And of those, the following is particularly relevant to Mississippi:
“Thirty-one states, primarily in Republican-leaning regions, allow the death penalty. The likelihood of many of those states changing their laws hinges on whether rank-and-file Republican support for capital punishment remains high or declines in the future.”
We can only hope that rank-and-file Republican voters in Mississippi will gain in understanding about the unfairness, brutality and excessive cost of the death penalty, and demand an end to it. For Willie and for us, that will be a day to celebrate!