Ohio moves to ban execution of people with serious mental illnesses

Ohio lawmakers gave final approval to a measure that will prohibit execution of inmates who suffered from certain serious mental illnesses at the time of the crime.

The House voted in favor of Senate changes to House Bill 136 on Thursday. That is the last legislative hurdle. The bill now heads to Gov. Mike DeWine, who may sign it into law, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature.

The change is one of more than 50 reforms recommended by a task force in 2014 that examined Ohio’s capital punishment system.

Ohio adopted its current death penalty statute in 1981. Ohio has 137 men and one woman on death row.

Gallup Poll shows 55% of Americans favor capital punishment while 43% oppose it. In the mid-90s, the same poll showed 80% supported and 16% opposed.

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