About 300 leaders in the faith community on Friday called on Gov. Roy Cooper (D) to commute the death sentences of all prisoners awaiting execution in North Carolina.
In a letter, the group cited concerns about racial bias and the potential for someone to be sentenced to death who is later found to have been innocent.
“My faith teaches that we should work for rehabilitation rather than punishment. We should seek restitution rather than retribution,” said Rev. Dr. Jennifer Copeland, executive director of the North Carolina Council of Churches.
There are 137 people on death row in North Carolina, two of whom are women, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.
The state has not carried out an execution since 2006 amid legal challenges to the process and drugs involved.
In an email, Sam Chan, a spokesperson for Gov. Cooper wrote, “The Governor, the Office of Executive Clemency and the Office of the General Counsel carefully review all applications for clemency. The Governor appreciates input from these people of faith and others about important issues like this facing our state.”
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