An important bipartisan federal criminal justice reform legislation, called the First Step Act (S.3649) currently awaits a vote in the U.S.
September 2018 Update:
As the only remaining state in New England with capital punishment still on the books, 2018's efforts to repeal New Hampshire's death penalty were stronger than ever. Earlier this summer, after the state House and Senate both passed death penalty repeal bill SB 593 with strong bipartisan support, Governor Sununu vetoed the bill and sent it back to the Senate where it was just two votes shy of reaching the necessary supermajority to override the governor's veto. Robust support from both sides of the aisle, and the fact that New Hampshire only has one person on death row and hasn't carried out an execution since 1939 are encouraging signs it is only a matter of time before the Granite State takes the final step and officially repeals the death penalty.
New Hampshire is the only New England state to still have the death penalty. Since 1734, 24 persons have been executed in New Hampshire. Hanging has historically been the execution method of choice, and still today remains an option aside lethal injection. There is only one person currently on New Hampshire’s death row, and there have been no executions since 1976.
New Hampshire’s death penalty (reinstated in 1991 after the 1972 Supreme Court Furman decision) was widely known for many years as the most restrictive death penalty law in the nation among the states which still practice it, applying only in cases of homicide or treason. Today, it is still very restrictive although it applies in a few more circumstances.
In 2004, as part of a national campaign to end the death penalty for juvenile offenders, a bill banning the execution of those convicted of killing while under the age of 18 passed the House and Senate but was vetoed Governor Craig Benson. The bill was reintroduced the next year and passed again. It was signed by Governor John Lynch.
In 2018, a full death penalty repeal bill passed in both legislative chambers. Despite heavy bi-partisan support and urging from countless voices--including law enforcement officers and family members of murder victims--Governor Chris Sununu vetoed the repeal bill.
For more information and ways to get involved, contact your state's organizations:
The New Hampshire Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty is made up of a numerous organizations and individuals who are committed to ending the death penalty in the state of New Hampshire.
The Bishop of Manchester is responsible as pastor of the Church in New Hampshire to raise the consciousness of the Roman Catholic community to its social and political responsibilities as faithful citizens. The Bishop of Manchester, and those who assist him in the public policy work of the Diocese seek to provide education and information to those involved in the public policy process in New Hampshire, including voters and decision makers.