Editorial: Virginia does the right thing in abolishing the death penalty

Staff Editorial

Virginia became the 23rd state to abolish the death penalty on Monday.

We at The Daily Eastern News think that this is a great step for Virginia to take, and hope that more states do the same in the near future.

In banning the death penalty, Virginia has started to put its history behind it. Virginia has executed nearly 1,400 people since its time as a colony.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn and Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw released a joint statement after the vote to abolish the death penalty, which said the following:

“It is vital that our criminal justice system operates fairly and punishes people equitably. We all know the death penalty doesn’t do that. It is inequitable, ineffective, and inhumane.”

We agree with this assessment.

Although the death penalty can seem like a simple way to seek justice for a heinous crime, it should not be an option.

It simply does not make sense to take a human’s life to punish them for taking another’s life.

There is also the possibility that the person being executed is actually innocent of the crime, making their execution even more unjust.

The death penalty also disproportionately affects people of color and low-income people, making it unfair as well as unethical.

It is long overdue for the death penalty to be abolished in 27 states that allow it and at the federal level.