Oregon's death penalty is broken. Although capital punishment is still a lawful sentence, our state has not executed anyone since 1997 and with good reason. The death penalty is a deeply flawed punishment that isn't doing anything to make us safer.
On taking office in 2015, Governor Kate Brown continued the moratorium on the use of capital punishment. Still, 35 people remain on Oregon's death row.
Despite not carrying out executions, the death penalty is still costing taxpayers a fortune. There's also a high price to pay for victims' families who must relive their ordeal over and over again through many years of appeals.
We know that in other states people have been wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death, spending many years on death row before their innocence was discovered.
Repealing the death penalty and replacing it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is the best approach for our state — removing the possibility that an innocent person will be executed, saving limited tax dollars, protecting public safety and providing certainty and justice to the families of victims. Oregon needs to join the national movement to end the use of a punishment that has had its day.