Californian bishops have hailed the imposition of a state moratorium on the use of the death penalty as a positive step, but they cautioned that California’s criminal justice system was still in need of reform. Source: Catholic Herald.
California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Tuesday that he would issue an executive order to remove the state’s lethal injection protocol and close the execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison. The moratorium will not result in anyone being released from prison on pardoned.
“This is a good day for California and a good day for our country,” said Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez in a statement. He said the death penalty does not deter crime, nor does it provide “true justice” to those who were victims of crime.
Archbishop Gomez, along with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has long called for an end to capital punishment throughout the US.
In his statement, Archbishop Gomez said that he believed the moral arguments for ending the death penalty were clear.
“Every human life is precious and sacred in the eyes of God and every person has a dignity that comes from God. This is true for the innocent and it is true for the guilty. It is true even for those who commit grave evil and are convicted of the most cruel and violent crimes,” Archbishop Gomez said.
In the executive order, issued Wednesday, Governor Newsom said that the death penalty was costly, ineffective, and racially biased in its application.
Archbishop Gomez agreed with these claims, and said that he hopes action will be taken to “address the inequities in our criminal justice system, to improve conditions in our prisons, and to provide alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent crimes,” as well as to properly rehabilitate prisoners.
“Much more needs to be done in California to address social conditions that give rise to crime and violence in our communities,” he said.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco issued a statement on Wednesday on behalf the California Catholic Conference, which represents the state’s 26 bishops. He welcomed an end to the death penalty in the state, and expressed hope that the moratorium could be soon codified into law.
California bishops praise death penalty moratorium (Catholic Herald)