Maryland Becomes 18th State without the Death Penalty!
Washington DC (5/2/13)—Today Governor O’Malley signed Senate Bill 276 which makes Maryland the 18th state without the death penalty. “The signing of the death penalty repeal bill is a significant step toward ending the death penalty in our nation,” stated National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Executive Director, Diann Rust-Tierney. “Policymakers and the public are turning away from capital punishment. In state houses across the country there is new political space to have frank discussions about the costs, flaws and failures of the death penalty.”
A cursory review of the nation’s death penalty system uncovers too many problems. Chief among these problems is the risk of executing an innocent person. As a result, in the last five years, 40 out of 50 states have executed two or fewer people. Twenty-nine of those forty either do not have the death penalty or have not executed anyone in the past five years.
With Maryland abandoning the practice of capital punishment, the death penalty is further isolated to only a handful of jurisdictions across the country. The momentum that we have seen in recent years, in Maryland and beyond, is a clear indicator that public sentiment about the death penalty, and more broadly about what makes effective policy on public safety, is shifting. Laws, such as the abolition bill in Maryland, reflect these changing priorities and the underlying community values.
The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty has worked hand-in-hand with Maryland Citizens Against State Executions and the other campaign partners to help channel the broad-based concern about the death penalty into concrete policy change.
“A growing chorus of mothers, ministers, neighbors, police officers, retail workers and teachers are making it possible for us have a different conversation about how we respond to violence and support those who are harmed by it. These people are like you and me, going about their daily lives and believing that a world without the death penalty is not only possible but desirable,” stated Rust-Tierney.
The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty is the nation's oldest organization dedicated to the abolition of the death penalty. We are comprised of an extensive network representing more than 100 state and national affiliate organizations and thousands of advocates and volunteers. Our members include families of murder victims, people across the political and religious spectrum, past and present law enforcement officials and prominent civil and racial justice organizations working to end the death penalty forever.
In January 2014, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty launched the 90 Million Strong Campaign to partner with and mobilize a growing number of national organizations and individuals who believe that it is time for the death penalty to end.