Families find closure in many different ways, and many families never find closure at all. In any case, surviving family members deserve more closure than the criminal justice system has the power to provide.
What most people really mean when they say "families deserve closure" is that families deserve vengeance . Many families do want vengeance, and this is certainly understandable, but we need -- as a culture -- to stop referring to vengeance as "closure."
If we were really worried about closure, we wouldn't just appropriate the grief of strangers to serve a policy objective -- we would actively provide free long-term mental health care and other services to the families of murder victims. If we spent as much money helping survivors as we spend killing offenders, their material needs would be met for the rest of their lives. You can tell what our public officials really care about -- and what they really don't care about -- by looking at what they're willing to spend money on.
 Death Penalty Information Center, The Death Penalty in 2012: Year End Report, p. 6, Dec. 18, 2012. National Research Council, Deterrence and the Death Penalty, http:///?record_id=13363, 2012.
 American Samoa Government, Gov. Togiola wants to repeal the death penalty; law has no method of execution and not the right thing to do, http:////news-bottom/163-gov-togiola-wants-to-repeal-the-death-penalty-law-has-no-method-of-execution-and-not-the-right-thing-to-do, Jul. 10, 2012.