« PreviousContinue »
manslaughter per hundred thousand population for the period 19301965. The first figure is the number of executions for the years 1930 through 1965. The statistics come from the national prison statistics and the FBI's uniform crime report.
The table lists the States that have abolished capital punishment, in italics.
(The document referred to follows:)
Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter rates per 100,000 population, 1930–65
Senator HART. I wish I had a copy for Governor DiSalle.
Mr. DISALLE. I have a copy.
Senator HART. As I read it, the five States with the highest murder rate have carried out more executions than almost any other State in the Union.
Mr. DISALLE. That is right, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina. Senator HART. And the five with the lowest rates are States that have abolished the death penalty.
Mr. DISALLE. That is right. This is also true with reference to police homicides. The 35-year record of the Federal Bureau of Investigation indicates that the rate of police homicides in abolition States is just a fraction lower than in States still retaining the death penalty.
Senator HART. That is, I think, important, because I have been set upon occasionally in the last few years in offering a bill for Federal abolition with the argument that, well, at least you have to protect the policeman, and if you abolish capital punishment, you are leaving the policeman as sort of a "sitting duck," and certainly if you do abolish, you should make an exemption to take care of the citizen, the individual, who fatally assaults a policeman.
Mr. DISALLE. That hasn't been the result in the American abolition States nor has it been the result in the 73 nations that have abolished capital punishment.
Senator HART. Getting back to that table that we just introduced, you would agree, I suppose, that if you want to look at the statistics
from the science of the statistician, that you could get some scientific objection to that tabulated comparison because you have climatic features that some would argue are a factor, you have economic factors which vary State to State, although as between Michigan and Ohio you would have a hard time proving there was a difference between either climate or economic level. You have environmental differences. You have social differences. You have the accidents of history. All of these would play a role. I think we have to agree that that is true.
Even if you examine those figures on a regional basis, where you do adjust to the climate and the economy and the history and the tradition, when you take it on a regional basis those figures do not support the argument that the death penalty is efficacious in the reduction of crime. Mr. DISALLE. That is true, Senator, and I think that Dr. Thorsten Sellin of the University of Pennsylvania will go into detail on that particular element.
Senator HART. But you and I, nonscientists in the field of statistics, can agree that as between Michigan and Ohio
Mr. DISALLE. I wish I could say that Michigan was more crimeridden, but I can't.
Senator HART. We agree. Michigan on the basis of statistics has less crimes of violence, fewer crimes, but for more than 100 years we have not used capital punishment.
Mr. DISALLE. That is right.
Senator HART. And I vaguely remember that period of prohibition warfare, and you are right, I had forgotten the fact that nobody drove from Toledo up to Rome-neither to execute nor dump the body. Mr. DISALLE. They drove up for liquor but that was all.
Senator HART. I want so much to hold you, and yet I know it would be unfair.
Counsel, would you like to develop some aspects of this for the record?
Mr. PAISLEY. Thank you, Senator.
Governor, I must say that ever since I was a young man I have been opposed to capital punishment.
Mr. DISALLE. I wish you were a member of the committee.
Mr. PAISLEY. I never thought it was a deterrent. I couldn't see the State taking a human life in cold blood unless it was a deterrent. Those who will argue against this bill, however, will say what protection can society have against a vicious killer. Can it be assured that a life imprisonment sentence will be enforced. That is what the opponents of this bill will argue. Do you feel that any safeguards should be written into the bill?
Mr. DISALLE. I think that an adequate pardon and parole system and correctional system are safeguards in and of themselves. Too often we find in States that the parole officers are terribly overworked, large caseloads, the investigation is inadequate, and consequently might lead to improper releases. But you know we also hear the constant charge that these people are out in the streets by buying their way out. But in Ohio since the passage of the lifer law in about 1945, the average term of the lifer was 23 years. In 150 cases that I referred to, reviewing, for example, one man whose sentence was commuted, was commuted after service of 35 years. He was sentenced at the age
of 16. He was 51 at the time he was released. You can't compare the man at the age of 51 with the harum-scarum boy of 16.
In Ohio the mansion is staffed by lifers. We had 12 all the time, five who stayed on the premises, seven who were brought in each day and taken back to the penitentiary at night. Of the 14, 12 had been sentenced to life, and they were immediately placed in the Ohio penitentiary together with 4,000 rather seasoned criminals. You take a boy of 14 when he came in, in all cases it was a first offense, of course, and he served 20 years, he is now a man of 34. He certainly isn't the same man that faced the court, and if we had had a reasonable program of rehabilitation and training, he would have had some skills with which to go out into the world and make a place in society.
Fortunately the experience that we had in Ohio was that the lifer was the best risk. The man who had served that many years, the average 23 years, when he returned to society was hardly a recidivist. He had had a long time to think about what he had done and what it required to live in society. We had out of possibly 20, nine that were returned as technical parole violators, and this was the situation in other large States like California and New York, and I am sure that one of the witnesses will give the actual detail on what happened in each of these cases, so that society is amply protected. Lifers are not repeaters as a general rule.
Mr. PAISLEY. Are there any statistics available that you know of, Governor, as to how long lifers do actually serve in the various States? Mr. DISALLE. Yes.
Mr. PAISLEY. I don't know.
Mr. DISALLE. Those statistics are available, and as I said, I think Dr. Sellin in his testimony will cover the major States.
Mr. PAISLEY. Knowing Florida, where I practiced for many years, they used to say that a life sentence meant about 5 years.
Mr. DISALLE. I know a lot of lifers who wish that was true, but I do believe that release ought to be based on recommendations made by a professional board as to the likelihood of these people being restored to society, and becoming good citizens. Too often the recommendations are made by people who are not professionals in the field, and too often where there are influential people involved, the recommendation is made on the basis of influence, but usually the people I have had experience with are people who do not have influence and did not have money to retain counsel, and who served out their full minimum sentence of 20 years, and oftentimes over and beyond that.
Many, many times after a man has served 20 years, he becomes institutionalized, or his health is such, or he has lost contact with family or whatever friends he might have had, and there is no adequate parole plan. Sometimes someone like the Goodwill Society will make a place for him and find a job, but, you know, often these people have just lost all contact with the outside world. We had one man in Ohio at the London Prison Farm, who had been in 40 years, and he was commuted. He went back to Cincinnati where he had come from, and after being there about 5 days he came back to the institution voluntarily and asked to be readmitted, because he wanted to be protected from society; by that time, he didn't understand it any more.
Mr. PAISLEY. You feel that Congress would be better advised to leave that to the parole boards?
Mr. DISALLE. Yes. I think actually the Federal pardon and parole system is much better than the system in most States, and I think if that is strengthened and adequately provided for, that this mechanism will take care of this problem.
Mr. PAISLEY. Thank you.
Senator HART. Thank you, Mr. Paisley.
Counsel is right. That is one of the most frequently voiced objections to the elimination of capital punishment. Yet I think that your answer, Governor, is the correct response. As Mr. Paisley says, many of us find it impossible to accept the sight of the State killing a man you can't establish that it will deter others and thereby protect the innocent. Even if the statistics show that lifers actually serve only 10 years on the average, it still does not argue against the elimination of capital punishment if also it can be established, one, that it does not provide less deterrence to the initial offense, and, two, if through decent rehabilitation programs the readmission to society after 10 years makes good sense anyway.
Mr. DISALLE. Senator, I don't want to interfere with the testimony that I know you will get from Warden Duffy and James Bennett of the Federal Prison System, but so many people feel that life should mean really life in perpetuity. We just don't know how long people are going to live. In some cases life may be 6 months and in other cases it could be 50 years of incarceration. But if you take hope away from a man who has been sentenced to life, then you make a very difficult problem for the prison authorities. You create a class of desperate people within the prison who are immediately trying to seek a way out, rather than through the orderly process of rehabilitation and training. A very important part of the correctional system is to make sure that people have some hope that somehow they will be restored and given an opportunity to reclaim themselves.
Senator HART. All right. We won't anticipate other testimony, Governor. As I thank you for your testimony, let me for a lot of people, and as you have suggested, perhaps the poorest among them, thank you for taking the time to give leadership to the National Committee to Abolish the Federal Death Penalty.
Mr. DISALLE. Thank you very much.
Senator HART. You have a record to show that you don't do things entirely for what is in it, anyway, and this is just another example of your giving something for a cause that if you succeed you will probably get no medals for it, but the effort I hope is worth itself.
Mr. DISALLE. The late President Kennedy visited the Mansion one time and I told him there were 12 people there that he ought to meet that might be prospective voters, and after I introduced him to all 12 of them I then told him that they had lost their citizenship as a result of committing a felony and they were not voters. But this is the unfortunate part about it. These people are not organized. They are not citizens. They have no lobby, and someone has to speak for them.
Senator HART. They are lucky to have you.
Mr. DISALLE. Thank you very much.
Senator HART. I next introduce a man I have heard about, it seems to me, all my life, but it can't be. But I have heard about Warden Duffy for a long time.
I call to the stand Clinton T. Duffy, the former Warden of San Quentin.
Warden, let me summarize briefly for the record, because there will be many readers younger than I who don't have that memory. Our witness has spent 33 years in correction work.
Warden Duffy was born in the town of San Quentin and he began his career there in 1929. He is the author of several books on capital punishment, and was a delegate to the Third United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, in Stockholm two summers ago.
We welcome you, sir. We are very grateful that you would take the time to come.
STATEMENT OF CLINTON DUFFY, FORMER WARDEN OF
Mr. DUFFY. Thank you very much, Senator Hart, and members of your committee.
As you said, Senator, I was born and raised in the prison town of San Quentin and I spent all but a very few of my adult years in working in prison work and my presentation therefore is going to be on my practical experiences that I have had for over 32 years in handling adult offenders, both male and female, those who have been condemned to death.
I have personally witnessed over 150 executions and have legally officiated at the execution of 88 men and two women. Prior to my appointment as warden of San Quentin, I participated in 60 legal hangings. The two women were the first women executed in the history of the State of California.
May I preface my presentation with a brief account of methods of executions in the United States. I would like to just say a word here about how executions became a part of the prison system in California. Prior to that time the sheriff of the county was required. to perform the execution in his county, in his courtyard or in his court buildings. Some sheriffs did not like that idea, and so one of them recommended and suggested to his legislator that they change it from the county to the State prison, then only San Quentin in California. This was done, passed by legislation, and San Quentin became the place for legal executions. That sheriff was against it, as you can understand.
When it became a law, the same sheriff was appointed warden of San Quentin, and had to execute anyhow, and was still against legal executions, he, a peace officer.
Hangings were the No. 1 in our State in California, and I think they were prevalent throughout the United States. Hanging, whether the prisoner is dropped through a trap, after climbing a traditional 13 steps, or whether he is jerked from the floor after having been strapped, black-capped and noosed, is a very gruesome method of execution which has been used for many years, and is still used in several States.
When, on a nod from the warden, the executioner signals the three men in the small enclosure on the gallows, and the officials cut taut strings, one of these strings springs the trap while the other two are