Virginia Abolishes the Death Penalty

Virginia becomes the 23rd state to abolish the death penalty and the first Southern state to do so.

By , Attorney

On March 23, 2021, Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation that repeals the death penalty in Virginia, making it the 23rd state to ban the death penalty and the first of the Southern states to do so. (S.B. 1165 (2021).) The repeal applies immediately and provides that no person may be sentenced to death for any crime as of March 23, 2021. For the two inmates who remain on death row, the legislation will convert their death sentences to life sentences.

Virginia ranks number one in the nation for the number of executions conducted, putting more than 1,300 people to death during its 400-year history. The Commonwealth conducted its last execution in 2017.

Effective: March 23, 2021