Opponents of the death penalty in Kansas are hoping to replace the option with life in prison without the possibility of parole. Kansas reinstated the death penalty in 1994, but has not yet executed anyone in last 20 years. Anti-death penalty advocates are renewing their push to change the law.
During a Statehouse visit, opponents of the death penalty handed out letters showing that hundreds of faith leaders in the state are opposed to capital punishment. Donna Schneweis, with the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty, hopes the sheer number of faith leaders on the letter can sway lawmakers.
“The reality is, there are many Kansans, including many Kansas faith leaders, who are profoundly disturbed that the state still continues this practice,” says Schneweis.
But recent attempts to end the death penalty in Kansas haven’t convinced enough lawmakers. Some Republicans have been frustrated that court rulings and proceedings have delayed death penalty sentences. Lawmakers last year considered legislation that would speed up the appeals process, but that bill stalled.