Washington governor Jay Inslee announced Tuesday that while he's in office, he will be suspending the use of the death penalty.
"There have been too many doubts raised about capital punishment," Inslee said during a press conference. "There are too many flaws in this system." Inslee hopes that his bringing capital punishment to a halt will allow the state to join the national conversation on whether or not to allow executions to continue in the United States.
The Washington governor's declaration isn't too startling considering the fact that no one has been put to death in the state in over three years. Compare this to Texas which recently executed a woman and continues to have the highest level of executions in the country.
It's safe to say that the philosophy regarding capital punishment is something that is locally in tune with what Inslee believes.
Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center Richard Dieter certainly thinks this is the case, not just in Washington but throughout the United States. He says that, "the death penalty is being used less" and that support for capital punishment is waning.
Washington state’s suspension of death penalty welcome, but int’l community must keep up human rights pressure on US http://t.co/EswGe8d7Sv
— Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) February 12, 2014
— Stephen S. Davis (@StephenSDavis) February 12, 2014
Inslee has said that he would support an outright ban on the death penalty. He feels that capital punishment does not deter crime and wastes millions of dollars.
"There is too much at stake to accept an imperfect system."
Currently there are 18 states where the death penalty is unavailable. Washington could move itself into that tally during Inslee's time in office.
It is important to note that even though the death penalty is unavailable for now does not mean that an execution may not occur at some point as a future governor may feel differently than Inslee. For now, those sentenced to death will be given a reprieve which will keep them in jail.
Says Inslee, "During my term, we will not be executing people, [but] nobody is getting out of prison, period."
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