On January 6, 2011, the Illinois House of Representatives passed a bill that abolished the death penalty by a vote of 60-54. The Illinois Senate approved the same bill in March 2011, and Governor Pat Quinn signed the ban during the same month. Illinois was the sixteenth state to ban the death penalty. Prior to the adoption of the ban, then Governor George Ryan imposed a moratorium on the death penalty because of concerns over the system's imperfection in 2000. When the bill passed, the 15 Illinois prisoners on death row had their sentences commuted to life in prison.
Learn more about the laws governing the death penalty from the JURIST news archive and read commentary on the Illinois ban by JURIST Guest Columnist Courtney Minick in Hotline