Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Abolition in Illinois!

Congratulations to our members and colleagues in Illinois, where today Governor Quinn signed legislation that abolishes the state's death penalty. In the Governor's statement, he spoke about victims and victims' families with these words:

I have found no credible evidence that the death penalty has a deterrent effect on the crime of murder and that the enormous sums expended by the state in maintaining a death penalty system would be better spent on preventing crime and assisting victims' families in overcoming their pain and grief.

To those who say that we must maintain a death penalty for the sake of the victims' families, I say that it is impossible not to feel the pain of loss that all these families share or to understand the desire for retribution that many may hold. But, as I heard from family members who lost loved ones to murder, maintaining a flawed death penalty system will not bring back their loved ones, will not help them to heal and will not bring closure to their pain. Nothing can do that. We must instead devote our resources toward the prevention of crime and the needs of victims' families, rather than spending more money to preserve a flawed system.

Here is MVFHR's statement:

Statement of Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights

Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights congratulates Illinois Governor Quinn on signing into law the recently passed legislation abolishing the state's death penalty. We applaud the state's decision to redirect funds formerly spent on the death penalty to services for families of homicide victims and training of law enforcement personnel. As family members of murder victims, we know that each homicide is a theft of a unique, irreplaceable, deeply loved human life, representing a world of devastation for the victim’s surviving families. A commitment to helping these victims' families and law enforcement personnel who work to protect us is a positive step forward for Illinois.

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