(Hartford, Conn.) — After years of failed attempts to repeal the death penalty, Connecticut lawmakers in both the House and the Senate have passed legislation that abolishes the punishment for all future cases.
As expected, members of the House voted 86-62 in favor of the bill after a floor debate that lasted nearly 10 hours on Wednesday.
The legislation, which would make Connecticut the 17th state to abolish the death penalty, awaits a signature from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who has said he would sign the bill into law. “Going forward, we will have a system that allows us to put these people away for life, in living conditions none of us would want to experience,” the Democratic governor said in a statement following the vote. “Let’s throw away the key and have them spend the rest of their natural lives in jail.”
The bill would abolish the death penalty and replace it with a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of release.
Lawmakers were able to garner support by making the legislation affect only future crimes and not the 11 men currently on death row.
Four other states have abolished the death penalty in the past five years: Illinois, New Jersey, New York and New Mexico.
CONNECTICUT, RACE & THE DEATH PENALTY
Facts worth noting: In Connecticut, seven out of 10, or 70 percent, of death row inmates are African-American or Latino, whereas only 9 percent of Connecticut’s population is African-American and 10 percent is Latino, according to theAmerican Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut.
Studies have shown the most important factor in levying the death penalty is race. Those who kill a white person are shown to be more likely to receive the death penalty than those who kill a Black or Latino person.