The death penalty

I’ve long been opposed to the death penalty. It is deeply immoral, irreversible, and ineffective. And if we are going to transform our country’s broken criminal justice system, we must be fearless — unafraid to speak hard truths.

Last week, my home state of California issued a moratorium on the death penalty — a system that has proven time and again to be an abject failure. It has wasted taxpayer money, has not kept our communities safe, and has discriminated against those with mental illness and people of color.

This is an important step forward. But I believe we must take it one step further and abolish the federal death penalty. This failed system is immoral, and as President I would lead the fight to end it. It’s simply the right thing to do.

Let’s be clear: as a former prosecutor, I absolutely and strongly believe there should be serious and swift consequences when one person kills another. I am unequivocal in that belief. We can — and we should — always pursue justice in the name of victims and give dignity to the families that grieve.

But in our democracy, a death sentence carried out by the government does not constitute justice for those who have been put to death and proven innocent after the fact.

It is up to us to speak some hard truths about this immoral practice. The data tells us that as many 1 in 10 people prosecuted with a death penalty conviction has been exonerated.

The data also shows us that the death penalty is far more likely to be carried out against people of color, people with mental illness, and people who could not afford to pay for legal counsel at trial.

In addition to the moral arguments against the death penalty, abolishing it just makes financial sense. Our government would save billions in taxpayer dollars if each death sentence in America were replaced by a life sentence without parole. Those taxpayer dollars could be invested in our schools, in our health care, and in lifting up our communities.

We have a lot of work to do to pass meaningful criminal justice reform in our country. I am running for President to lead that charge — and that includes ending the federal death penalty.

I’m proud to have you alongside me in this fight.

For the People,

— Kamala Harris