FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Wednesday, March 24, 2021 CONTACT: Mark Elliott, FADP Director, (727) 215-9646, [email protected]RICHMOND, VA – Today, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a bipartisan bill to end the death penalty in the Commonwealth. This makes Virginia, once the leading execution state in the country, the 23rd state to end capital punishment.
Responding to the bill signing, Mark Elliott,director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, said Virginia is “one more example of how the nation is moving quickly away from a universally harmful policy that fails by every measure of justice.”
Elliott continued, “Pervasive problems in the death penalty system are driving support for ending the death penalty in blue states and red states alike. Virginia concluded, as Floridians are concluding, that the death penalty is not an effective response to violence, nor does it prevent future violence.”
A 2016 Public Policy Polling survey of 879 registered Florida voters found that a strong majority (62 percent to 35 percent) of Florida respondents prefer some form of life imprisonment to the death penalty for people convicted of murder. The overall preference was expressed across racial groups, genders, educational levels and religious affiliation.1
Elliott described the Virginia repeal as energizing for his group, “Virginia has written a new chapter in the state’s history. By closing the door on a misguided policy with a shameful history of injustice, including pervasive racial bias, the Commonwealth has embraced justice and life over death. Florida is ready to do the same.”
Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (FADP) is a statewide grassroots group working to end to the death penalty in Florida. Our network includes dozens of state and local groups and thousands of individual Floridians, including murder victims’ family members and other survivors of violent crime, law enforcement professionals, families of the incarcerated, and death row exonorees.