Saturday, January 16, 2021

Virginia prosecutors call for abolition of death penalty

Virginia prosecutors and advocates recently came together to call on legislators to abolish the death penalty in Virginia, according to a press release from the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy

Three former Attorneys General and eleven Commonwealth’s Attorneys as well as other former prosecutors recently signed a letter to the General Assembly expressing their support for the abolition of the death penalty in the Commonwealth. 

Their message: The death penalty is a failed government program. When the modern-day death penalty era began in 1976, lawmakers and prosecutors envisioned a severe and consistent punishment that would keep the public safe. That has not happened. During this press conference, prosecutors will express their concerns that justify repeal, including biased application, cost and ineffectiveness, and limited proof that the death penalty deters criminal behavior. 

“The number of elected prosecutors supporting repeal of the death penalty is surging across the country. While the reasons cited by prosecutors are many, there is an acknowledgement that ending the death penalty is imperative in a country grappling with racism in the legal system,” said Sarah Craft, Death Penalty Program Director at Equal Justice USA

Prosecutors will also address a more cost-effective, constitutional way to respond to the most heinous crimes: a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Life without parole sentences help preserve limited resources, give more closure to victims' families, and leave the opportunity to free the wrongfully convicted.

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