Death Penalty Abolition: Five States That Could Be Next

December 9, 2011

witness viewing room death penalty
Witness viewing room © Scott Langley

Three states have abolished the death penalty legislatively in recent years: New Jersey in 2007, New Mexico in 2009, and Illinois in 2011.  Inevitably, more states will follow; but can a state or states abolish the death penalty in an even-numbered (read: election) year?  We will find out in 2012.

As Politico reported on Friday, states that are poised to end their experiment with capital punishment next year include Connecticut, Kansas, Maryland, and Ohio, as well as California (through a ballot initiative).  This is quite a diverse collection of states, ranging from small to large and from conservative to liberal, which goes to show how mainstream an issue death penalty abolition has become.

And this year, the success in Illinois (where capital punishment used to be entrenched), and outrage at the unjust execution of Troy Davis combined to bring added momentum to the death penalty abolition movement.

But winning campaigns still need people.  Almost every state has an abolition effort underway that readers of this blog can join. Sixteen states now live without the death penalty.  How many more will there be by this time next year?

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