Monday 31 January 2011

Illinois one signature away from abolition

Illinois is just one signature away from becoming the 16th state without the death penalty.  On January 11, 2011, the General Assembly passed legislation repealing the state's death penalty.  The bill now awaits the signature of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.
Because it is clear that the death penalty cannot be administered fairly and accurately, it should be abolished.
Race continues to play a significant and inappropriate role in the administration of capital punishment.  Across the country, people of color are sentenced to death at disproportionate rates.  Eighty percent of those who have been executed since 1976 were convicted of killing a white person, even though African Americans represent over half of homicide victims.  And people of color are all but wholly excluded from the decision about whether or not to seek the death penalty, as 98% of the chief district attorneys in death penalty cases are white.
Illinois' death penalty is no different.  On January 31st, 2000, then governor George Ryan relied upon a high number of death row exonerations to justify his decision to impose a moratorium on the use of the death penalty and to commute the sentences of everyone on death row to life imprisonment. 
Eleven years later, it is time for us to do our part to help finish the job and make Illinois the 16th state without the death penalty.
Please call Governor Quinn to tell him you hope he'll sign the death penalty repeal bill.
You can say, "I want Gov. Quinn to sign the legislation to end the death penalty."

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