A former death row warden will give the keynote address at the 2012 Abolition Conference in Olathe this weekend.
Allen Ault oversaw executions as a death row warden in Georgia. His speech will discuss the traumatic effects of capital punishment on the corrections officials responsible for carrying out executions.
“We were giving psychological help to all the staff that participated (in executions),” Ault said. “Then I realized I was suffering pretty badly about it. Because you have to understand that it is the most premeditated murder.”
Ault’s story highlights a concern sometimes forgotten in debates on capital punishment, said Mary Sloan. Sloan is the executive director of the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty, the organization hosting this weekend’s conference in Olathe.
“When we look at the death penalty, it is important to examine its full range of consequences,” Sloan said. “Our broken system of capital punishment is a source of pain at every stage of the process – from the lengthy trials and appeals that can inflict additional harm on murder victims’ families, to the execution itself, which can have a traumatic effect on the corrections officials.”
Ault’s address is part of the 2012 Abolition Conference. Free educational workshops focusing on different aspects of the death penalty will follow Ault’s speech.
The conference begins at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 10 at Center of Grace, 520 S. Harrison Street in Olathe. The event is free and open to the public.