Statement of The Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark and President of the New Jersey Catholic Conference, on the passage of the Death Penalty Moratorium Act

The Catholic bishops of New Jersey applaud the New Jersey Legislature for taking quick and positive action to establish a death penalty moratorium. Today the state of New Jersey took a giant step in affirming what the bishops have long stated: that a developed and civil society should examine alternative processes for protecting its citizens and punishing effectively those who have committed grave wrongs.

The focus of our criminal justice system should not be revenge or retribution, but rather protection of its people, healing the physical and mental wounds of crime victims and their families, and repentance and rehabilitation for those who have committed crime.

We urge Gov. Codey to sign this legislation quickly so that the soon-to-be-named members of the moratorium commission can begin this most important and serious work of studying how to administer justice in cases of murder without resorting to additional needless killing. Our prayers will be with them as they undertake this vital effort in the months ahead.