Congresswomen Cori Bush and Ayanna Pressley lead 35 Democrats who are urging President Joe Biden to commute all 49 Federal death sentences. The Trump administration ended a 17-year suspension of the federal death penalty. On Martin Luther King J.r’s birthday, the U.S performed the 13th execution. Dustin Higgs‘s death broke a U.S record for the most prisoners in over 100 years.
Forty-nine prisoners currently remain on death row. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, 55% are minorities within the African American and Latino communities. 37 Democratic House members sent a letter to President Biden the day after his inauguration.
“We appreciate your vocal opposition to the death penalty and urge you to take swift, decisive action. Reticence to commute more death sentences has allowed the Trump administration to reverse course and pursue a horrifying killing spree. Commuting the death sentences of those on death row and ensuring that each person is provided with a good and unique re-sentencing process is a crucial first step in remedying this grave injustice.” the letter reads.
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain stated in a memo that “actions to begin fulfilling campaign promises related to reforming our criminal justice system.” are included in Biden’s executive orders.