On February 16, 2023, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro announced that he will continue his predecessor’s moratorium on executions and called upon the Pennsylvania General Assembly to repeal the death penalty.

At a press conference in Philadelphia, the newly-elected Shapiro explained how his position on capital punishment has evolved and how his experience as the state’s Attorney General revealed two truths about the death penalty in the Commonwealth: “The system is fallible, and the outcome is irreversible,” he said.

Shapiro promised to continue former Governor Tom Wolf’s halt on executions, stating: “When an execution warrant comes to my desk, I will sign a reprieve each and every time.” However, the governor went beyond stopping executions and pledged to work with the General Assembly to take further action: “The Commonwealth shouldn’t be in the business of putting people to death. Period. I believe that in my heart. This is a fundamental statement of morality. Of what’s right and wrong. And I believe Pennsylvania must be on the right side of this issue.”

Since 1973, there have been 11 exonerations from Pennsylvania’s death row – 5 of which occurred since 2019. During that same time, the state carried out three executions, all involving prisoners who waived their appeals, the last one occurring in 1999.