Currently, 36 Oregon inmates sit on death row. One prisoner, Gary Haugen, had been set to die in two weeks.
Speaking at a Salem press conference, Kitzhaber explained his decision to place a moratorium on capital punishment, calling the practice “a perversion” that “fails to meet the basic standards of justice. The Oregonian has more:
Gov. John Kitzhaber announced today he will not allow the execution of Gary Haugen — or any death row inmate — to take place while he is in office.
The death penalty is morally wrong and unjustly administered, Kitzhaber said. [...]
“Both because of my own deep personal convictions about capital punishment and also because in practice, Oregon has an expensive and unworkable system that fails to meet basic standards of justice.”
Oregon’s move follows a recent trend among states away from capital punishment. Since 2007, three more states – Illinois, New Jersey, and New Mexico – have abolished the death penalty, bringing the total number of states that shun the practice to 15. The District of Columbia has also abolished the death penalty.