Governor Northam Signs Bill to Abolish Death Penalty

JARRATT, Va.: Today, Governor Ralph Northam signed Sen. Scott Surovell’s bill, SB 1165, abolishing the death penalty in Virginia at the Greensville Correctional Center, where Virginia has been conducting executions since 1994.

Majority Leader Dick Saslaw and Caucus Chair Mamie Locke said: “Virginia now leads Southern states in abolishing the death penalty—a distinguishment we have been working toward for many years. Capital punishment has been used disproportionately in cases against people of color; its end in the Commonwealth not only is one more step toward racial justice but also means progress to a more equitable and fair Virginia.”

Sen. Scott Surovell said: “With the abolition of the death penalty, Virginia is emerging from the dark ages of criminal justice. The end of the inhumane, outdated practice is one part of many steps we have taken to promote equity and rebuild faith in our systems. Along with my colleagues in the General Assembly, I am looking forward to building on this legislation to lead Virginia and the nation into the future where people, especially people of color, can trust law enforcement and justice systems to treat them equitably instead of being stacked against them.”

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