Rep. Ayanna Pressley is finishing the year out with a push to end the death penalty. In a letter sent to the incoming Biden-Harris administration, Pressley accused President Donald Trump and his administration of weaponizing the punishment and asked the President-Elect to look toward more effective uses of the justice system.
"The current administration has weaponized capital punishment with callous disregard for human life. In the middle of our current public health crisis, the Department of Justice resumed federal executions and executed more people in six months than the total number executed over the previous six decades," Pressley wrote.
"With a stroke of your pen, you can stop all federal executions, prohibit United States Attorneys from seeking the death penalty, dismantle death row at FCC Terre Haute, and call for the resentencing of people who are currently sentenced to death. Each of these elements is critical to help prevent greater harm and further loss of life.”
Pressley's letter was also co-signed by several congresswomen including Alexandria Ocaso-Cortez, Barbara Lee and Ilhan Omar. Her efforts to end capital punishment date back to her initial congressional campaign. As recently as July 2019, she introduced legislation to end the death penalty after the United States Department of Justice reinstated the measure.
"The death penalty has no place in a just society," she said.
However, the Trump administration has gravitated toward the death penalty within recent months. Under the President's leadership, nine federally incarcerated Americans have been executed. Four more are expected to be executed before he leaves office next month.
As Joe Biden enters office, Pressley will keep the push to end the death penalty alive. During his campaign, the President-Elect noted that he is opposed to the death penalty and will introduce incentives to encourage states to stop using the death penalty as a form of punishment. With that said, Biden can effectively eradicate the death penalty with an executive order on his first day in office.
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