Death Corridor Guard

2001
oil on canvas
20" x 10"
Unsold
525 (unframed)
Death Corridor Guard

DEATH PENALTY: The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights, widely considered cruel and inhuman punishment by a growing percentage of the world's nations. At present, 109 countries are abolitionist in law or practice, with over 40 of these halting the use of the death penalty in the last decade alone. Several nations have found this practice to be contrary to rights guaranteed by their constitutions, including the freedom from cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment in South Africa, and the right to life and human dignity in Hungary. Even the Statue of the International Criminal Court, which has jurisdiction over offenses such as genocide and crimes against humanity, excludes the use of this punishment. Of the approximately 86 nations that still utilize the death penalty, four countries--China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United States--have typically accounted for about 85% of all known executions. The United States remains conspicuously absent from the international abolitionist treaties adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989 and the General Assembly of the Organization of American States in 1990. In addition, it is one of only seven countries that have been known to execute child offenders since 1990, leading the world with 15 such cases in that time span. No studies have ever shown the death penalty to be a deterrent to crime, or have documented an increase in criminal activity following abolition. It is the irreversible, premeditated killing of an individual by a state, and its abolition is the most basic step a nation can take in asserting its commitment to human rights.