Thursday, March 19, 2009

Death Penalty Abolished in New Mexico!

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has signed the bill that abolishes the state's death penalty! At MVFHR we extend our hearty congratulations to all who have worked so hard for this, particularly the New Mexico Coalition to Repeal the Death Penalty and the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, which provided a great deal of support to its New Mexico affiliate.

From the beginning of this effort, the New Mexico Coalition has put victims' families front and center in the debate about the death penalty, and there are now two additional measures making their way through the state legislature that, if passed, will enable New Mexico to use the savings gained from ending the death penalty to provide a reparation award to children of murder victims, provide services and programs to murder victims’ families, and create a murder victims' family services fund. There's also another measure that would require employers to provide leave to crime victims to attend judicial proceedings.

When we argue that the death penalty is a distraction from the real needs of victims, it is then so important to pair abolition of the death penalty with efforts to enact policies that will in fact aim to meet the real needs of victims. We look forward to seeing these additional measures pass in New Mexico and hope similar legislation in other states will follow.

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