Willie Manning has been on death row for an astonishing 25 years. He’s not alone in suffering such a long period of incarceration: of the 41 inmates on Mississippi’s death row, 18 have been imprisoned for 20 years or more; and of those, 13, including Willie himself, have been there for over a quarter of a century.
Recent rulings by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) have concluded that such protracted periods of incarceration on death row violate the American Declaration of Human Rights.
The commission has pronounced that spending 20 years on death row, under the continuing threat of execution, is “excessive and inhuman”, and greatly exceeds the length of time that international and domestic courts have characterized as cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.
The Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) has found that in the USA as a whole, more than half of death row prisoners (at least 1,300 inmates) have been incarcerated for 20 years or longer. Such extensive breaches of human rights are shocking.
Willie’s incarceration has been even more stressful than for most, because for much of the time he was fighting the threat of execution in two cases.
We commend DPIC for shining a light onto this shameful aspect of capital punishment in the USA. It adds to the many reasons for opposing the death penalty. We should not kill people to show that killing people is wrong. The death penalty should end.