Governor Kate Brown has commuted the death sentences handed to 17 inmates who are now going to be serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Brown noted that this will take effect on Wednesday, December 14, after saying that the death sentence is immoral and dysfunctional. She added that there will no longer be anyone in Oregon “serving a sentence of death and facing execution in this state.”
She also added that this was something many in Oregon would support and that the state was not in the business of executing people, despite the “terrible crime” that might have led to that conviction.
Brown added that previously she had commuted prisoners’ sentences when they had exhibited “extraordinary growth and rehabilitation.” However, that was not the case regarding these 17 prisoners.
Instead, her decision has entirely to do with the fact that the “death penalty is immoral” and that it is a punishment that does not allow for any corrections.
While Oregon’s death penalty continues to be in place, the legislature passed Senate Bill 1013 in 2019 almost completely abolishing this practice.
Brown has been consistently against the death penalty and has noted that she was fully planning on maintaining a moratorium on the death penalty in Oregon.
Oregon has not had a prisoner executed since 1997, however, there were 17 people on death row.