July 25, 2019

Harris Statement on Trump Administration Resuming Capital Punishment

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) on Thursday released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Justice’s announcement that the Federal Bureau of Prisons will resume federal capital punishment after nearly two decades. Harris has opposed the death penalty throughout her career:

“Today is a sad day for the United States. The administration’s decision to resume the death penalty is both misguided and immoral. As a career law enforcement official, I have long opposed the death penalty because it is discriminatory, irreversible, ineffective, and a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars.

“Our justice system is supposed to treat all equally, but the death penalty has been proven to be unequally applied. Black and Latino defendants are far more likely to be executed than their white counterparts. And poor defendants are far more likely to enter death row than those who can afford strong representation. Your race or your bank account should not determine your sentence.

“The death penalty is also a waste of taxpayer money – money that could be invested in schools, health care, and restorative justice programs.

“And in America, the death penalty has been imposed as a final punishment on many who were later found to be innocent. Between 1973 and 2016, for every ten people executed, more than one person has been exonerated. Killing even one innocent person is too many.

“There must be swift and serious consequences for those who murder another human being, but the death penalty will not make our country safer. The administration must reverse course immediately.”