New Jersey has a lousy reputation in the US. Especially in the Philadelphia and New York metropolitan areas, Jersey is often derided as a second-class state, filled with the northeast corridor’s version of hillbillies and hicks. A state filled with urban pollution, but without the vaunted urban cosmopolitanism. A state with the backwoods ideals, personalities, and mullets of the Deep South, but without any of the beauty.
Of course, given the sympathies and general contrarianism of the Curious Mechanism, this site wholly endorses New Jersey as one of the very best states in the US. It has gambling in Atlantic City, for those who like to gamble. It has easy access to two major cities, Philly and NYC. It has a passable shore. And somewhere it’s got the best corn east of the Mississippi. Oh, and it has a few thousand 24 hour diners, and really, the value of being able to get decent eggs and toast, and a bottomless cup of strong coffee at 3AM cannot be undervalued.
Well, New Jersey has just raised the bar for a lot of other states. It’s officially abolishing its death penalty.
Now, this isn’t a hugely significant in terms of prison sentences, as Jersey’s death row only has eight inmates presently, and NJ hasn’t executed anyone since the 1960s. While all eight inmates will now have life sentences instead of death sentences, the biggest impact will come as, perhaps, New Jersey’s actions could lead other states to their own abolishments of the death penalty. By the time I’m an old, old man, the federal government might be seriously talking about abolishing the death penalty.
It’s a good step in the right direction.