Rabb reintroduces legislation that would repeal the death penalty in Pa.

HARRISBURG, April 6 – Noting that capital punishment is not only an ineffective way to deter crime, but is also very costly to taxpayers and deeply flawed because people sentenced to death have later been exonerated, state Rep. Chris Rabb has reintroduced legislation that would repeal the death penalty in Pennsylvania.  

“The current system doesn’t serve anyone in terms of preventing crime in our commonwealth and leaves the door wide open for innocent people to be put to death for crimes they did not commit,” said Rabb, D-Phila. “This is a cruel, unjust, costly and ineffectual practice for which our government has no moral authority to impose and is a sentence that sustains the legacy of lynching.” 

Rabb first introduced legislation to repeal the death penalty in Pennsylvania in 2017. 

Rabb authored the legislation he’s reintroducing this session (H.B. 999) along with Republican state Rep. Frank Ryan, R-Lebanon. Since circulating this bill, it has already secured more bipartisan support than in prior legislative terms. 

“I am so thankful to co-prime sponsor a death penalty repeal bill,” Ryan said. “Nothing can soothe the pain of those who’ve lost a loved one to crime and my heart goes out to the victims and their families. However, there have been so many cases where someone was wrongfully convicted, and I pray that our conversation leads to a better way for our society to heal.”  

In March, Virginia abolished the death penalty, becoming the first among southern states and the state that had executed more people than any other state to do so.  

Sen. Katie Muth, D-Berks/Chester/Montgomery, and Sen. Sharif Street, D-Phila., have introduced companion legislation to repeal the death penalty in Pennsylvania in the Senate. 

"As a member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, I acknowledge this commonwealth exists on the tribal lands of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Lenape, Munsee, Shawnee and Susquehannock."