Georgia conservatives want to ‘re-think’ death penalty

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Georgia conservatives want to ‘re-think’ death penalty

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Ben Gray
GENERIC CUTLINE: A death penalty opponent holds a sign outside the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison in Butts County during a protest in March 2016. The state's execution chamber is located at the prison. (credit: Ben Gray/ AJC 2016 file photo)ORIGINAL CUTLINE: March 31, 2016 Jackson: A death penalty opponent picks up her sign while protesting outside of the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison in advance of the scheduled execution of Joshua Bishop on Thursday evening March 31, 2016. Ben Gray / bgray@ajc.com

A group of Georgia conservatives on Thursday will call for the state to re-examine the death penalty but thus far will stop short of calling for a end to state-sanctioned executions. 

The group, calling itself Georgia Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. Thursday. The organization includes Rep. Brett Harrell, R-Snellville

“I am skeptical of our government’s ability to implement efficient and effective programs, and so a healthy skepticism of our state’s death penalty is warranted,” Harrell said in a statement. “Many individuals have been wrongly convicted and sentenced to die. Meanwhile, taxpayers are forced to pay for this risky government program, even though it costs far more than life without parole.”

Group spokesman Jon Crane said Thursday’s event “is the state of the process of educating people about the problems with the death penalty and to have a candid discussion from a conservative perspective.”

There is not yet, he said, a call for repeal. 

Georgia executed more prisoners in 2016 than any other state in the nation, although it’s been nearly three years since a Georgia defendant was sentenced to death. 

Other members of the group meeting Thursday include David Burge, former 5th District Republican Party chair, Richard Lorenc, chief operating officer of Foundation for Economic Education, Austin Paul, co-chair of the Mercer University College Republicans, Jennifer Maffessanti, chair of the Atlanta chapter of America’s Future Foundation and Marc Hyden, national coordinator of Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty. 

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