What If We Made the Death Penalty a Bigger Problem?

He’s represented hundreds of people facing the death penalty; he knows the complications and the pressures of capital defense. But in this concise and riveting TEDxAustin presentation, David Dow proposes that we make the problem bigger.

Set aside a few minutes and watch this 18-minute talk. Dow tells us how society is “paying later” instead of devoting easily identifiable resources that could prevent three out of four murders. He proposes approaching our death penalty problem with something more than legal teams that deal with the aftermath of a crime.

Dow’s suggestions are especially relevant to Shelby County, Tennessee, and its juvenile court system, which is on the cusp of major reforms in the face of a recent Department of Justice investigation. According to Dow, reducing the number of murders and the number of people on death row means dealing with high-risk children very differently.