Death to the Death Penalty in Virginia! R.I.P. March 24, 2021

History was made today because Virginia ended the death penalty. It’s not the first state – in fact, it is the 23rd state – in the country to do so, but it is the first of the southern states.

Did you know that Virginia has executed over 1,300 people since 1608? Of those, 113 executions took place since 1976, when the United States Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in the U.S., which makes us second only to Texas, where 538 people have been executed since 1976.

So what gives? Why is Virginia runner up in the highest number of executions? Why is Virginia the 23rd state and the first of all southern states to abolish the death penalty?

I intend for my posts to be short so instead of a thorough analysis. So, here are the reasons as I understand it below:

  1. We have a democratic governor.
  2. There is a lot of social injustice and ending the death penalty is one of the biggest “to do items” by the criminal justice reform movement.
  3. Virginia has a lot of “progressive” feelings.
  4. Virginia has a lot of “conservative” feelings.
  5. Virginia is moving more towards those progressive feelings.
  6. A dichotomy has long existed between democrats who push for eliminating racial disparities, while republicans push for justice for the families of the victims.

This list isn’t all there is. It’s just my interpretation in a nutshell.