The Connecticut Senate voted Thursday to repeal the death penalty and replace it with a sentence of life without parole.
In the last five years, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Illinois have abolished the death penalty. California will vote on the issue in November.
Advocates of the death penalty say that it deters people from crime and that it's the ultimate punishment. Opponents say capital punishment is not an effective deterrent, is applied inconsistently and is discriminatory.
The legislation would not affect the 11 inmates currently on death row, but would spare future defendants convicted of murder. The bill now heads to Connecticut's House of Representatives where it's expected to pass.
"The punishment of life in prison without the possibility of release makes more sense," said Connecticut Senate President Donald E. Williams, Jr., D-Brooklyn. "These inmates will face conditions that are similar to and in some cases more severe than conditions on death row. It is a punishment and sentence that is certain and final."
A similar bill was sent through Connecticut's Congress in 2009, but the legislation was vetoed by former Republican Gov. Jodi Rell.
In Connecticut, the death penalty has existed since the establishment of the U.S. In 1972, the state reviewed its capital punishment laws after a Supreme Court decision required greater consistency in its applications.
Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976, Connecticut has handed down 15 death orders but has executed only one person, according to Death Penalty Information. In 2005, convicted serial killer Michael Ross was put to death by lethal injection.
by RTT Staff Writer
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