The Importance of Virginia abolishing the death penalty


Christian Melendez

Known as one of the most, if not the very most, cruel forms of punishment, the death penalty has existed in the United States for over four hundred years. Now, Virginia, one of the states most infamous for using it, has finally made the move to abolish it once and for all. Virginia will no longer consider the death penalty as a form of punishment, and the effects of Virginia abolishing it could have major ripple effects throughout the rest of the United States. 


In colonial times, Virginia had a famous settlement named Jamestown. Jamestown was the place of origin for the death penalty in the United States, and it was first used in the year 1608. Since then, Virginia continued to use the death penalty infamously for centuries, until it became the second highest state for total executions between the years of 1976 and 2020


The weight of  this decision also comes from how the death penalty was used over the years. The death penalty has been a tool for racial oppression, as a large disparity of those involved in murder cases and sentenced to death have been black compared to white. Over the years, opponents have protested against it for other reasons, including its cruel nature, the unconstitutionality of it, and the execution of wrongfully convicted people.


This abolishment brings hope along with it, as people predict that other states will follow. The only state that has more executions than Virginia is Texas, who’s executions are five times the number of Virginia’s. There is hope that if the second highest state can finally abolish this cruel, abused punishment, that other states, and even Texas, can follow suit in the near future.