What People Are Saying

“As advocates photo-mira-signerfor people with severe mental illness, this is an issue of basic humanity. Defendants with severe mental illness are not the “worst of the worst” for who the death penalty is intended to target, and we want Virginia’s code to recognize this. We oppose the death penalty for persons with severe mental illness because it would be cruel, inhuman, and barbaric to sentence them to death. Instead sentence the person to a lifetime of treatment in a secure, locked facility where he can perpetrate no further harms.”

– Mira Signer, Executive Director of NAMI Virginia


“Our current system of criminal justice inadequately addresses the complexity of cases involving criminal defendants with mental health conditions. No legitimate government purpose is served by the execution of someone who at the time of their offense had a severe mental illness.”

– Bruce Cruser, Executive Director of Mental Health America of Virginia

“It is appalling thaphoto-kathy-harkeyt people with severe mental illness can be sentenced to the death penalty. Persons with severe mental health disorders exhibit impaired judgment, thoughts, and behaviors. Severe mental illness hampers one’s view of reality and self-preservation. Capital punishment for persons with serious mental illness is wrong. Capital punishment for one with serious mental illness further punishes the sick for being sick!”

– Kathy Harkey, Director of NAMI Central Virginia