Meet the Press

Jeb Bush ‘Conflicted’ on Death Penalty

Jeb Bush on Death Penalty: 'I’m Conflicted' 1:44

Tensions between his religious beliefs and wanting closure for families of victims has former Gov. Jeb Bush conflicted over the death penalty, he revealed Sunday.

"It's hard for me, as a human being, to sign the death warrant, to be honest with you," he said. “I'm informed by my faith in many things, and this is one of them."

Despite the value his faith places on life, the Republican presidential candidate said in the rare cases when the death penalty is handed down the punishment can be persuasive in healing.

“You meet family members that have lost a loved one and it's still in their heart. It's etched in their soul. And this is the way that they get closure? I get more comfortable with it, to be honest with you," he said.

During his time as governor of Florida, the death penalty was used 21 times in the state. But Bush told "Meet the Press" that it’s time for the process to be reformed. He specifically said something needs to be done to shorten the time inmates spend on death row and condense a burdensome judicial process.

"It is not a deterrent anymore because it's seldom used,” he said. “It clogs up the courts, it costs a ton of money."

The governor said this issue is indicative of a situation where both sides have convincing arguments and it can’t be reduced to an “either/or” consideration.

“People that commit these crimes, justice can't be denied – and it shouldn't be delayed,” Bush said. “And maybe there's a better way to do this where victims feel as though they're being served, because that should be front and center, the first obligation of the state.”