Virginia executed more people than any other state. It is time to put an end to this “machinery of death”, it said in a statement. All that is missing to abolish the death penalty is a signature.
The US state of Virginia will abolish the death penalty. Both houses of the state parliament voted for the abolition, leaving only the signature of Governor Ralph Northam missing. His approval is considered certain. “This is an important step forward to ensure that our criminal justice system is fair and equitable,” said Northam on Monday in a joint statement with House Chairperson Eileen Filler-Corn and Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw. In the US, 22 of the 50 states have so far abolished the death penalty.
“In Virginia’s long history, this state has executed more people than any other state,” the statement said. “It is time we put an end to this machinery of death.” The death penalty is not a fair and effective instrument of criminal justice, it said. Since 1976, there have been 113 executions in the state, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
US President Joe Biden rejects the death penalty
Overall, the death penalty is on the decline in the United States. In many places this has to do with changing public opinion, but also with increasing difficulties in obtaining the necessary substances for lethal injection. In addition, the death penalty tends to lead to lengthy – and costly – legal disputes.
In 2020, a total of 17 people were executed in the United States by five states and the federal government, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. The federal government had not carried out the death penalty for almost two decades. However, the administration of ex-President Donald Trump pushed through its reintroduction. New President Joe Biden opposes the death penalty.