Ohio Catholic Bishops Urge Support for SB 40 & HB 81:
Prohibiting the Execution of Individuals with Severe Mental Illness
The Catholic Church has released many statements against the use of the death penalty. At this particular time, there may not be sufficient legislative support to achieve this important goal. In the meantime, the bishops support recommendations from the Ohio Supreme Court’s death penalty task force that call for limitations on the use of the death penalty. One recommendation would prohibit the use of the death penalty for persons with severe mental illness.
Companion bills, SB 40 & HB 81, prohibit the death penalty if there has been documentation that the offender had a serious mental illness at the time of the offense. The types of mental illness that would be deemed "serious mental illness" applicable in cases of aggravated murder are limited to:
- schizoaffective disorder;
- bipolar disorder;
- major depressive disorder;
- delusional disorder (SMI condition)
The death penalty is not the answer to the problem of violence committed by persons with severe mental illnesses. The better policy is access to appropriate mental health care.
The SB 40 is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. HB 81 is pending in the House Criminal Justice.
Please support S.B. 40 & HB 81. Ohio should not execute persons with severe mental illness.
Link to Action Alert (PDF)