Maryland Death Penalty Repeal Legislation to use Funds from Savings to the New Maryland Victims Fund
Washington DC (2/14/13)—The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty applauds Governor O’Malley and the Maryland General Assembly for introducing and considering Senate Bill 276 and House Bill 295: Death Penalty Repeal and Appropriation from Savings to Aid Survivors of Homicide Victims and urges its passage.
The legislation appropriates $500,000 annually to the Maryland Victims of Crime Fund specifically to aid murder victims’ families. The money in the appropriations comes from the savings garnered from dismantling the capital punishment system in Maryland.
The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty jointly sponsored a Victims’ Town Hall Forum in Maryland with Maryland CASE, Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation, the Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center, Community Advocates for Family and Youth, and Still I Rise Inc. What came out of that forum was a clear picture of the need for the state to provide more financial resources to address the myriad of harms that crime victims and homicide survivors suffer.
Senate Bill 276 and House Bill 295 are an important concrete step in the right direction.
The testimony submitted by the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty endorsed the approach taken in the proposed legislation of devoting additional resources to crime victims by ending a capital punishment system that demonstrably is not working.
Among the problems cited with the current death penalty system in Maryland and across the nation were:
- The high risk of executing an innocent person;
- Pernicious racial bias in the administration of the death penalty; and
- The absence of any evidence that the death penalty increases public safety.
Sound public policy requires lawmakers to subject all public programs to the simple test of efficacy and accuracy. That is a test that capital punishment in Maryland has failed—as it has everywhere else in the nation.
Death is not available as a punishment in 17 states and the District of Columbia. Five states have abandoned the death penalty in the last five years. Maryland would be the 18th state without the death penalty and the sixth to abandon capital punishment in the last five years.
Read the National Coalition’s testimony here.
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.