Outgoing Oregon Gov. Kate Brown commuted the sentences of the 17 individuals on death row in the state.
They will now serve life in prison without the possibility of parole.
“I have long believed that justice is not advanced by taking a life, and the state should not be in the business of executing people—even if a terrible crime placed them in prison," Brown said.
Brown added that her decision was not based on rehabilitation efforts by the individual. Instead, she said she believes the death penalty is immoral.
"It is an irreversible punishment that does not allow for correction; is wasteful of taxpayer dollars; does not make communities safer; and cannot be and never has been administered fairly and equitably," Brown stated.
According to the Oregon Department of Corrections, the death penalty has become law in the state four times. It was reportedly voted out twice and struck down by the state Supreme Court once.
There is currently a moratorium on the death penalty in Oregon. Brown said she hopes the resolution of the cases brings closure to the families of victims.
"My hope is that this commutation will bring us a significant step closer to finality in these cases," she said.